I’m fascinated by folks who can can.
No, silly — not people who dance in spicy Parisian dance halls. I’m talking about folks who can can — jar, put up, preserve — fresh food for later.
I covet experienced food preservationists’ serious skills. They’re master planners with supreme attention to detail. They know what to preserve and which techniques to use. They know how to manage food safety, and they have confidence in their abilities to prevent food borne illness. They have to be smart.
And blissfully, I’ve been on the receiving end of the preserved harvest often. My grandmother spoiled us with pickled beets and okra from rations she put up in her cellar. Our friends, Deb and Festus, share their plenty every year. But I’m a bit fearful of preserving the fresh cucumbers that fill my own crisper drawer. Do I know enough about food safety? What if my pickled treasures contaminate loved ones? Yikes! I need a mentor.
Fortunately, help is around the corner with two upcoming “we can help you learn to preserve” events. Can you can?
Ball sponsors National Can-It-Forward Day
The Ball brothers started manufacturing glass jars in 1884. Today, their company is a go-to resource for home preservation wannabes. On Saturday, July 14, 2012, it aims to help as many of these wannabes as they can (both literally and figuratively) on National Can-It-Forward Day. Students can watch preservation demonstrations online, join or host a local canning party, or attend the day in person at Minnetrista, a Muncie, Indiana-based cultural center.
One day not enough? Check out a weekend Can-A-Rama
Canning Across America (CAA) is an ad hoc collective of passionate preservationists that hosts a web site filled with how-to resources and canning recipes. From Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23, 2012, CAA wants you to “Join The Canvolution!” during their three day Can-A-Rama. The event, in its fourth year, boosts education and community interaction by promoting local canning events. Although the group’s web site is out-of-date, its collection of hearts is in the right place.
Don’t have time to preserve? Don’t waste it! Share your wealth with neighbors, CSAs, local food banks, and soup kitchens. But if your curious nature compels you to tackle the challenge, go for it. Not only will you reduce waste — you’ll enjoy your summer bounty all year long.
I have a drawer of cucumbers ready to go. Who’s in? Let us know where you’ll be!