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Can-a-rama

Repinning Can-a-rama 2012 : A Cantastic Giveaway

We’re trying something a little different but true to our social media roots.

A couple months back we started bookmarking articles, photos, and graphics related to canning and preserving on Pinterest – the virtual pinboard that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things on the web – and, well, we’re hooked.

If you are looking for inspiration, be sure to check out some of our favorite preservers pins: Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars, Cathy Barrow of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen, Punk Domestics, Put ’em Up author Sherri Brooks Vinton (be sure to check out her “I Can!” project), and Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It author Karen Solomon.

Instead of entry form or essay, we are asking our fellow Canvolutionaries to utilize the site’s ‘re-pin’ feature to create your very own Can-a-Rama 2012 board between July 20th and July 23rd. Please visit our giveaway page for details on how and what to pin to enter.

In honor of our fourth annual Can-a-rama, the nice folks at Jarden Home Brands (the owner of Ball and Kerr) have given us a couple of very special items to give away to our readers: an enamel waterbath canner and 6 coupons for one free case of jars. Thank you Jarden!

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Twitter Chat: Tonight

Join our hour-long live chat on Twitter hosted by CAA founder Kim O’Donnel. All skill levels welcome; topics will cover recipe ideas for Can-a-rama this weekend and the 411 on safe food preservation.

Tuesday, July 17th
6-7pm PST/9-10pm EST
Our twitter handle: @canvolution
Hashtag: #canningchat
Recommended: Visit Tweetchat.com to navigate relevant tweets

Please join us!

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Strawberries + Vinegar = Shrub, A Beverage Revelation

Pickled strawberries.

As I type this post, I’m sipping on a shrub. (Don’t worry; no backyard foliage is involved.) A shrub is a colonial-era sweet and sour syrup made from fruit, sugar, and vinegar believed to have been brought to the U.S by British settlers.

19th century writer Oliver Wendell Holmes references the shrub in his 1861 novel Elsie Venner: A Romance of Destiny:

“…but I do feel thirsty’ said the poor lady, ‘and I do think a glass of srub would do my my throat good: it’s dreadful dry. Mr.Peckham, would you be so polite as to pass me a glass of srub?”

The poor lady in question had the right idea; the shrub is a genuine thirst quencher and whets that whistle like nothing else. I had my first taste at a recent CAA meeting when fellow canner Kimberly McKittrick shared a jar of pickled strawberries that she had put up the previous summer. One sip and we were all hooked: Slightly sweet but really more spice-forward and a tad tangy, the syrup and its pickled fruit are a revelation.

Carbonated strawberry shrub.

We’ve seen historical references to the shrub as a mixer for alcohol, lemonade and water of the tonic-ed, carbonated, and still varieties. No doubt it is a pre-cursor to soda pop, which unfortunately has taken over the world and made the shrub obsolete. In fact, the shrub is part of Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, a list of food and drink items that have faded into obscurity in the light of industrial agriculture.

The recipe below comes from Wright Eats, written by Seattle-based food bloggers Dawn and Eric Wright. What follows are details for how to make your own shrub.
P.S. I am considering trying this with raspberries and blackberries, what with brambles on the horizon here in the Pacific Northwest.

Spiced Pickled Strawberries

Adapted from The Complete Book of Pickling, by Jennifer MacKenzie
Ingredients
6 pints strawberries, hulled (preferably on the smaller side and just a touch under-ripe)
3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups cider vinegar

Puncture strawberries with fork tines and cut any large ones in half.

Combine remaining ingredients together in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Pour over prepared berries.

Cover the berries and let stand at a cool room temperature for at least six hours or overnight.
Prepare water bath canner, jars and lids.

Re-heat berries, gently stirring occasionally until strawberries are heated through but still hold their shape.

Gently spoon strawberries and hot pickling liquid into hot jars, leaving ½ inch head space.  Remove air bubbles and adjust head space as necessary.  Wipe rim and place hot lid on jar, screwing band down until fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner and return to a boil.  Process for 10 minutes.

Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let jars stand in hot water for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface or a cooling rack and let stand undisturbed until completely cool, about 24 hours.  Check lids and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.

Makes approximately 6 pints.

Use Up What You Put Up: Strawberry Shrub
2-3 tablespoons pickled strawberry syrup (and whole fruit if you like)
12 ounces sparkling water or club soda

Stir together in a tall glass, with or without ice, and enjoy. Add more syrup to taste.

Cheers!

P.S. I’m fairly certain that a vodka and soda would love to meet pickled strawberries…

One last thing: In the event that my shrub supply runs short, I am heartened to know of Tait Farm Foods, a family farm in Centre Hall, Pa., also the home to CAA friend Erin Hare.  I have had the pleasure of trying their raspberry shrub and it is an excellent stand-in for the homespun stuff.

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Seasonal Canning Giveaway

Editor’s Note: A couple weeks back, members from Canning Across America had the opportunity to chat with Marisa McClellan of Food In Jars while we noshed on an assortment of pickled vegetables and savored a batch of last years strawberry schrub. We were so inspired by her new book Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round (Running Press, July 2012), that together we wanted to share the joys of seasonal canning with our readers prior to our fourth annual Can-a-rama. Enjoy!

The first time I really clued into the concept of seasonality was when I was a sophomore in college. In those days, I lived in Walla Walla, WA, home of vineyards, wheat fields and a fast and furious asparagus season. For the two or so weeks of harvest, asparagus was everywhere and typically sold for as little as three pounds for $1.

I had grown up thinking of asparagus as a special-occasion vegetable, too pricy for anything other than birthday suppers and holiday meals. Seeing it for so little at every independent grocery store in town made me realize that it wasn’t an inherently expensive vegetable when grown locally. It was the travel and scarcity that made it so. I’ve carried around that lesson every since.

Once you clue into the seasonality of food, there’s really no going back. Not only are things more affordable when they’re abundant, they also taste far better. The one question that comes up is what do you do when you have a hankering for asparagus in November or peaches in January? You can either squelch the urge or you can do a little work during their respective seasons.

I choose to do the work every time. I make asparagus pickles each spring, make vast vats of apricot jam in July and preserve about 100 pounds of tomatoes each September. As I eat through my stores, I think about the time I spent preserving and appreciate the seasonality of food, even from half a year away.

To enter to win a copy of my new book, featuring 100+ seasonal recipes for everything from jams and pickles to chutneys and flavored salts, visit the Canning Across America giveaway page.

CAA Contributor Marisa McClellan grew up in Oregon, where she learned to can local blueberries, blackberries and apples from her mother. A move across the country came between her and her canning pot, but a fortuitous blueberry picking expedition with a friend in 2006 reawakened her passion, and she has been canning and preserving ever since, blogging about it on Food in Jars, one of the Internet’s most popular and enduring canning blogs, which was selected as one of Saveur magazine’s “Sites We Love” in 2011. 

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Save the date: Can-a-rama

For the fourth year in row, we’re putting on a party — of can-tastic proportions!

We’re thrilled to announce Can-a-Rama 2012, a weekend of putting up, preserving, pickling and canning, coast to coast, from sea to shining sea.  When a merry group of us in Seattle formed Canning Across America, we envisioned a day or series of days when home food preservationists of all levels would belly up to the canning kettle and preserve summer in a jar.  As far as we’re concerned, the more the merrier, so we’ll hope you’ll join us July 20-23, and put together your own canning party in your town.

From recipes to giveaways, we’ll be giving you all kinds of resources and tips on joining the Canvolution.

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Can-It-Forward Recap

Canning Across America crew on Can-It-Forward day

We are catching up on sleep, but still basking in the glow of Can-It-Forward weekend.  Over two days, we presented a total of seven canning demos and three chef “use up what you put up” demos. If you  aren’t inspired by now to “put up,”  we don’t know what will!  We had so much fun, and we hope you either stopped by Seattle’s Pike Place Market to say hi or checked out the live Web cast on freshpreserving.com.   For those who couldn’t participate over the weekend, the archived videos will be available in coming days, so stay tuned for those details.  For now, we’ll give you some eye candy, a photographic journey of some of the weekend’s most delicious moments.

And since this week is our third annual Can-a-Rama, tell us what you’re canning this week.

Me? Inspired by Lucy Norris’s pickled jalapeno demo on Sunday, I’ll be pickling some chile peppers.

{Photo credits: Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Jarden Home Brands, Len Davis/Pangeality, Shannon Kelly/In Your Head, Lindsay Durr/360 Public Relations}

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It’s a Can-A-Rama!

Our preserving celebration launches today with our third annual Can-a-rama, a week of home canning parties and seasonal preserving nationwide. From August 14th to August 20th, we encourage you all to gather with your friends and family around the canning kettle.

Today in Seattle, we have more free and open-to-the-public demos at Pike Place Market. At Noon, join us for an Apricot-Raspberry Jam Demonstration by Rebecca Staffel, of Deluxe Foods, a Seattle artisanal preserves company, or at 2:00pm to learn how to can Pickled Jalapeno Peppers by renowned pickle expert Lucy Norris.

If you can not join us in Seattle to kick off our Can-A-Rama, Rebecca and Lucy have graciously shared their recipes.

DELUXE APRICOT RASPBERRY JAM

PICKLED JALAPENO PEPPERS

Enjoy!

 

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Cherries Three Ways

Thanks to our friends at the Washington State Fruit Commission, we’ve got cherries on the brain — and on the stove, and in jars.  For the second year in a row, we’ve been gifted with bing cherries like nobody’s business.  In celebration, we’ll be dishing up the myriad ways you can preserve cherries all week long.  Washington state is cherry country, and this year’s crop of Bings is bodacious, as CAA member Brook Hurst Stephens described them.  Our first cherry dispatch comes from CAA social media maven Shannon Kelly.

Past and present, I’ve got cherries on the brain, in the oven and on the stove.

 

From the cupboard

Last month, I found two half-pint wide mouth jars of preserved cherries dated July 2010 tucked away in the depths of my pantry and immediately thought of all of my Canvolutionary friends and our ever evolving mission to “use up what we put up”. For me, canned goodness is only as good as the moment you pop that top and dig into the delicious out-of-season pickle or preserve. It is a delightful precursor to summer in a rain-soaked spring.

Over the past 11 months, I had used my cherries packed in syrup for desserts and as a sauce over ice cream. It was time to do something different. The remaining two cans were transformed in less than an hour from sweet to savory.

Here’s how I did it: In a pot, combine two half-pint cans of cherries in sugar syrup with two garlic cloves (halved with the green part removed), one bay leaf, about a teaspoon of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Reduces slowly on extra low while stirring to avoid burning. Once the mixture is reduced by half, add up to ½ cup of chicken stock (you can substitute vegetable stock too).  Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf. Salt to taste.  Serve with your favorite grilled meat (we did chicken on the Green Egg).

From the farm

Just as I’d cleaned out my pantry, the Washington State Fruit Commission gifted Canning Across America with another round of cherries and I was back at the canning kettle. In honor of Cherry-palooza 2011, I transformed my three bags into Brandied Cherries while placing the remaining pound of the fruit in the oven on low heat (140 degrees for 3-4 hours or until dry).

I’ll use the dried cherries in salads or as an accompaniment on a cheese plate until I can’t resist the urge to dip back into my cupboard. That’s the problem with putting up canned foods —  it’s hard to wait to share the bounty (but so worth it to enjoy a taste of summer in February).

CAA Contributor Shannon Kelly is a trend illustrator, cultural anthropologist, brand strategist, gastronomic devotee and social media enthusiast. She founded In Your Head consultancy to transform her knowledge of marketing, innovation and merchandising into strategies for retail, food & lifestyle industries. Her love of pickling and new media has earned her the title of marketing/tech guru for Canning Across America. Shannon tweets about the intersection of food, fashion and culture @trendscaping and always cans wearing stylish shoes.

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Save the date: National Can-It-Forward Day

On August 13th, join Canning Across America, Jarden Home Brands and millions of food lovers to learn the ease of preserving fresh food as part of National Can-It-Forward Day.

Who: Anyone can join. Whether you are new to canning or a seasoned pro, canning is always more fun when shared with friends.

What: Get a group together and host your very own Can-It-Forward Home Canning Party on August 13th.  Click here to get started.

Where: Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball® Home Canning Products, will be hosting members of Canning Across America for live canning demonstrations at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. We will announce the full schedule of events in coming weeks  so get ready to join the Can-A-Rama:

  • Online: From 11 AM – 7 PM EST/8 AM – 4 PM PST, view demonstrations from the comfort of your own home or during a Can-It-Forward Day Home Canning Party!  Ask our experts and chefs questions in our live Q&A.
  • In Seattle: If you live in or are in the Seattle area, stop by Pike Place Market and participate in person!  We’ll be celebrating with live canning demonstrations throughout the day, give-a-ways and sampling and more!

Why: Celebrate the bounty of summer through with home canning with friends and family.

Between now and August 13th, be sure to join the canning conversation on twitter or facebook. We’d love to hear your stories, view your photos and share out love of canning as we approach this momentous day!

Facebook

 

 

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Let’s Get Canning, America! Join us for National Can-It-Forward Day on August 13!

Jarden Home Brands, makers of iconic Ball® brand home canning products, has teamed up with Canning Across America to create the first annual National Can-It-Forward Day. Gather your family and friends to celebrate the bounty of summer through home canning. Learn the ease of preserving fresh food through a day of home canning parties, online instructional canning videos and cooking demos, local events at Seattle’s Pike Place Market and more.

Visit FreshPreserving.com to learn more.

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