Category Archives: Canning Workshops

Fruit Tree Canning Workshop

This past Saturday the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project in partnership with the Grandview Woodland Food Connection hosted a Canning 101 workshop at Britannia Community Centre which I taught. 9 participants joined us to can apricots.

The workshop went pretty well, though as usual I feel like I am still learning. And as usual there were a few jars that just did not behave properly, leaking upon removal from the boil. I still cannot figure out why this is as we were so careful to get the correct headspace and all. Maybe there were too many air bubbles that we missed getting out. Anyways, like gardening, canning is a continuous learning and experimenting experience.

I actually just returned the day before from a trip to the Rockies and back through the Kootenays and then Keremeos and Cawston where I stopped to load up on amazing fruit. There are three wonderful organic fruit stands that I know of – Blush Lane, Parsons Farm and the third I forget, but which also has organic wine to taste and buy.  Basically we stopped at each thinking we had already bought enough, but then laid down another $50 for more fruit. My favorite fruits are the small ping pong ball size (or smaller) apricots from Parsons Farm. I forget the name of the variety, but they are wonderful.

Ian Marcuse,  Coordinator, Grandview Woodland Food Connection

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Book Review: Independence Days

In the Bookshed: Independence Days | Sharon Astyk
Guest Post by Megan Adam

I should warn you upfront that no sooner was I done this book, that I started clearing a corner of my basement for long-term food storage. Not necessarily because Sharon Astyk makes a compelling case for the end of civilization as we know it, but because the notion of security – and in particular food security is so compelling to me. For more than a decade I have put some food by each year, canning mostly, occasionally drying foods, but after reading this book I’m committed to doing a lot more. Three months supply of food for each person in the house? I’m not sure about that yet, but I’ve got that corner cleaned out and I’m going to fill it.

Independence Days is an excellent introduction to the whys and hows of food storage covering everything from how to get your family to eat storage food (not a problem in our house because we already eat lots of beans and lentils and rice) to recipes to the principles behind lactofermentation. What I particularly appreciated were the acknowledgements throughout that moving oneself into a more secure food paradigm is a task often complicated by the hard realities of personal economics, and the people with whom we share space.

Astyk’s style is eminently readable – conversational and breezy throughout as she chides her own past mistakes in food preserving (really – she says – don’t let your fermenting kimchi explode in your kitchen), and imparts real-world wisdom in each step of the various processes – root cellaring, canning, drying, lactofermentation and season-extension in the garden. Additionally, an extensive home medical kit is also covered as part of your home preparations — just in case.

While not an alarmist, Astyk does ask us to consider the possibility that we encounter a disaster so great that we are not able to access grocery stores or municipal water supplies. That might be a quarantine, it might be an earthquake, or it might just be a job loss that leaves one with little means to pay the rent and eat. In any of these situations she suggests that putting food by while we have it available is not only a good strategy, but a responsibility to ourselves and our families.

I can’t say I disagree, and while greater food security for my family is something I’ve always meant to get around to, this book is written in such a way as to give you confidence in getting started without being overwhelmed. If food security at home is something you think about, this is a good first-reference and an enjoyable read.

– Megan Adam blogs at http://amongtheweeds.ca