Emily A. is a Studio Editorial Director by day and a local-food expert and advocate by night. Erin R. is a Creative Talent Development Specialist by day and an avid gardener and food-crafter by night. Today they team up to tell the story of how they brought together a few other like-minded foodie friends to realize a long-held dream of holding a canning party. They are also sharing a free downloadable to dress your jars up this canning season.
It started with a single image that Erin posted on Instagram: a vintage Atlas Mason jar packed to the brim with green beans, mid-day sunlight from the kitchen windows reflecting in the glass.
“There’s something about Mason jars that gets me feeling sentimental… bountiful harvest, nutrition, hard work, creativity, family heritage, and love sealed in every single jar.”
A few minutes later, a comment from Emily:
“I love this! This is what it’s all about. Let’s get together to chat!?”
In the exchange that followed, the idea of a canning swap was formed. We both have been canning long enough to know several other canning enthusiasts at Hallmark. We reached out to them with this idea: everyone bring jars of your own food, enough for each person to take home one jar from each participant… plus a few extra goodies for sampling! We picked a date and voila! Without much more planning than that, the canning party that we had been dreaming of came to life.
Our participants were as varied as the canned goods we brought:
Erin grows a ton of her own food in her suburban backyard farm and, along with her mom and siblings, carries on the canning heritage of previous generations in her family.
Emily is a farmers market connoisseur and learned to can in her condo downtown. (She wonders what her great grandmother, who gardened and canned during the Depression in rural Texas, would think of her modern setup.)
Jennifer D. once worked in a professional kitchen (“pickling in Poughkeepsie,” she says). With her big home garden, she is well acquainted with the joy that comes from growing your own food and preparing it to share with others (check out her Hallmark and Community video series, Simple Servings).
Teresa E.’s story goes back to when she was first married. For her first forays into homemaking, Teresa used canning as a way to give meaningful gifts when the couple couldn’t afford to buy a lot of presents.
Nicole H.’s husband is an avid gardener, and they bring it all together in the kitchen with canning (a new venture for them) as a way to preserve and share the harvests of their backyard farm.
Lizzie V., who is new to canning, started by re-creating a batch of her grandma’s pickles… from memory! She has since tweaked that recipe and tried several others, frequenting farmers markets to find the best possible produce.
We’re not the only ones who are part of this resurgence of home canners and DIYers. So many people are going back to the garden, looking to buy local, and wanting to craft things with their hands.
There’s great meaning in so many aspects of canning:
- knowing where your food comes from,
- reviving memories of family with each recipe, or
- creating new memories through a day in the kitchen with friends.
When you do this, you’re capturing in each jar stories, heritage, hard work, passion, and love.
For those of you wanting to give it a try, we offer you our favorite recipes and resources (see the list below). And for those of you ready to package up some of your home canned goods, please enjoy these beautiful downloadable labels by artist Livy L., which will make it easy for you to turn your jars into a gorgeous gift to share with someone you love.
https://www.freshpreserving.com/ – Canning 101, Recipes, Canning Equipment