I found the first tender green beans of the season, and some beautiful cauliflower. And then on the table from one of my favorite orchards – peaches! A lucky find.
We were five around the table, chopping, slicing, measuring, and – of course – talking. Many hands do make light work, and in just four hours, we had prepared and sealed all these (click on the names for detailed recipes):
- Small-Batch Peach Jam
- Sugar-free Microwave Peach Butter
- Peach Oolong Jelly
- Dill Beans
- Lemony Pickled Cauliflower
We all agreed the afternoon went well. For those considering a canning party, here’s what I suggest you have on hand:
- ingredients: have them already washed where washing is needed
- jars, lids, and bands: have the first set already sterilized and ready for use when the work party starts
- work space: make sure you have enough cutting boards, knives, platters and trays. It’s not just you working!
- refreshments: be sure to have something to eat and drink handy. We had cold water and iced tea, some small things to nibble, and – best of all – a sample of last year’s Dill Beans to inspire us. They’re a perfect snack!
- towels and such: have a big pile ready. You’ll go through a bunch of towels and small dishcloths in the afternoon. If you always have a clean one ready to grab, you’ll be happier.
- timers: if you have several pots going, you’ll need to keep track of different times. Make sure you know which ‘ding’ means what pot!
- recipes: have enough copies made so everybody can see what’s the next step. It’s so much easier that way.
- labels: have a way to label your jars, whether with paper stick-on labels or a simple Sharpie marker on the lid.
Once our last items were in the canner, we were able to clean off the table, and bring out more food. This year’s Peach Oolong Jelly is absolutely amazing with Brie cheese on a cracker or piece of bread. I expect it would also be a good glaze for a pork tenderloin.
At the end of the afternoon, we divided the jars and distributed copies of the recipes for everyone to take home. I do not believe I will wait for the Can-It-Forward day next year to do this again.
THANK YOU to Cathy, Elizabeth, Carol, and Geoff!