Picklers unite: Canning Across America this weekend
The Canning Across America event this weekend will save gardeners like me who have too many zucchinis, tomatoes and beans on their hands. Canning Across America is an ad hoc collective of cooks, gardeners and food lovers committed to the revival of the lost art of “putting up” food. The goal is to promote safe food preservation and the joys of community building through food.
The Canvolution Aug. 29 and 30 includes events across the country. I learned about the movement from Lorene Edwards Forkner, co-author of the just-published "Canning & Preserving Your Own Harvest, An Encyclopedia of Country Living Guide" (Sasquatch Books). Edwards Forkner’s recipe-filled reference is a modern-day sequel to the 1970s classic "Encyclopedia of Country Living" by the late Carla Emery.
Back in the ‘70s, Edwards Forkner says, people like Emery were “dropping out of society, moving to the country and trying to live a self-sustaining life by growing their own crops.” Today, a new generation of food growers has renewed interest and awareness of those old-time skills – canning, pickling, drying, salting and even freezing, she says. “Only this time, it’s for building community and bringing people together.”
No sane person needs to buy 23 heirloom tomato plants to grow in her backyard vegetable patch. But the delicious selection and great prices at Scott Daigre’s Tomatomania sale last spring seduced me, and yes, I came home with nearly two dozen 4-inch tomato starts. A chef friend and a foodie neighbor took several seedlings off my hands, but I still have 15 huge plants of my own -- and a whole lot of tomatoes to harvest, eat and figure out how to preserve.
In the same boat? Invite friends to your kitchen for a home canning party. You can turn an abundant tomato crop into oven-dried tomatoes packed in jars of olive oil. Or transform cucumbers into tangy pickles to eat this winter.
Need supplies? Sur la Table is supporting the Canning Across America program by offering $10 off a purchase of $50 or more. The promotion is valid through Aug. 31. In stores, use promotional code CAN09. Website shoppers should use promotional code 090807 at checkout.
Top photo credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times