Thursday, December 2, 2010

Canning Journal and a Class - Canning for the Holidays! - Weekly Email


Happy holidays to all ... I hope that Thanksgiving was enjoyed by everyone. I had a very nice holiday with my family and I am looking forward to more celebration as the holiday season continues.

Of course, I've remain busy at the Farmer's Kitchen. We're now selling baked goods for holiday - if you are having an office party or family feast, what is better than some baked goods featuring local farmers' market produce?

And speaking of holidays, Happy Hanukkah! This Sunday we will be serving latkes with sour cream and applesauce we canned a couple of months ago.

Someday I'm going to have to do a newsletter devoted to that pantry must-have, applesauce. Seriously, applesauce is something everyone should keep in their pantry - it is extremely versatile - but enough about applesauce (for now).

I'll finally be getting around to making my turkey stock tonight from the two turkey carcasses taking up room in my refrigerator. I think that I'll be freezing the stock, rather than pressure can it, because I'll probably be using it sooner rather than later, and I won't have too much.

Of course, I've been doing a lot of canning at the Farmer's Kitchen (over 60 pints of lemon squash concentrate the last two weeks)! This has really re-emphasized to me the need to keep a journal of my canning. When your shelves start to fill up with canned goods, it is not only important to label the jars, but to keep a good record of what you did so you can repeat successes and avoid less-than-perfect results.

What information should you keep? Name, date and ingredients are the most important. I like to write where I got the key ingredients as well (i.e., Scattaglia Farms' Arkansas Black Apples for my apple butter). The recipe is crucial. I'll either write out the entire recipe or a reference to the recipe in a book with any modifications I've made. Processing method and time come in handy. Finally, notes are very important.

For example, last spring I made a raspberry-based jam. One batch I strained the seeds out, the other I left the seeds in. Needless to say, the seedless jam required more berries than the one with seeds. Because I kept notes, next year I'll know how many berries I need to make either version. When you do a lot of preserving, this is the sort of detail that you forget the next year.

A journal can save you from making the same mistakes and remind you of your past triumphs. Canning journals - start one if you haven't already.

As for me, I'm ready to make the leap from a simple spreadsheet to a database for my canning journal. Is there anyone on this list interested in helping me develop a canning journal/database? It would be an open source project we could share on the internet for all the canners out there. If you have some database experience and are interested in helping, email me.

It has been awhile, but I would also like to announce that I'll be holding two "Canning for the Holidays" classes at the Farmer's Kitchen. Both classes are the same, so you only need to go to one. They are both on Saturday, Dec. 4th (in 2 days!) and Dec. 11th, from 9am - 1pm (4 hours). Snacks and beverages will be available, and you'll take home some of the items we can. From the class description:

"Learn the basics of jam and jelly making just in time for you to create homemade gifts for the holidays. This small, hands-on class covers food safety, elementary canning techniques, and simple, but delicious recipes for preserves using fresh produce from the farmers market. Other gift ideas using canning jars and preserved foods will also be covered. Space is limited."

The cost is a bargain at $75, paid when you come, so please don't sign up unless you are certain to attend.

You can sign up here:

That's it for this week - I look forward to seeing some of you at my class.

As usual, if you have any questions about canning, pressure canning, fermentation, dehydration, freezing, pickling, curing, smoking or brewing, feel free to email me at: ernest.miller @

Be sure to check out the blog, which hasn't been updated in awhile, but I plan to do some updating (probably):

And/or join the Facebook group: