Mother Earth News has a big cover story on canning in their most recent issue. The crux of the article is that canning, like vegetable gardening, is rapidly gaining in popularity. If one has a vegetable garden then doing something with that excess food is something we all need to do. We are very happy that we learned to “put food by (the old expression for canning, freezing, drying and fermenting food). There are lots of helpful books out there which one can find by using Google or Bing. Some methods of putting food by are more complicated than others. Freezing, for example, is quite simple. Blanch it, dry it and bag it.
Although I am convinced that anyone can teach themselves how to master any food saving technique, as with any new skill it is always helpful to have someone show you the ropes and lead you through the process.
As part of the Grange Country Living Series we want to teach people how to put food by. You don’t need a garden to do this. Already you could have been drying nettles for winter tea or making pickles from fiddlehead ferns. Later in the summer there’s wild berries for jam and jelly (we haven’t bought a jar of jelly in a year). In fact, we are still opening the last few jars of pickles and finishing off green beans, beet greens, squash and pesto from the freezer.
It’s difficult to schedule canning sessions far in advance. Normally, a canner decides only a couple days ahead of time that they are going to make some cans (jars) of food. What we would like to do is poll the island and find out who would like to learn to put food by and also get an inventory of people who are willing to share their knowledge. Then, we can match up those who want to learn with those who want to teach. The teachers can let their “apprentices” know when they are going to go to work and invite them to come help.
We will also try to organize a couple of general introductory classes.
But, for now, I invite those who are interested in canning, freezing, pickling, etc. to contact me as well as those who are willing to mentor one or two people in the processes with which they are familiar. You can contact me via the comments section or by calling the number in the island phone book.