Classie Parker, New York City’s Canning Queen

August 30, 2011(updated on October 3, 2018)

The Canning Queen of the Desert from Etsy on Vimeo.

The first time I watched this video, I wanted to leap through my computer screen and give Classie Parker a giant hug. She’s a New Yorker who is teaching people to can and she does it with joy, humor and enthusiasm. What’s more, she’s been doing it since before it was cool and I hazard a guess that she’ll keep on doing it well after the current canning trend passes. She is someone I most definitely want to meet someday.

Big thanks to Etsy for producing this video and for to Jeremiah for bringing it to my attention!

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24 thoughts on "Classie Parker, New York City’s Canning Queen"

    1. Well, these things to have a tendency to ebb and flow. I can’t say for certain that canning is always going to be as hot in the future as it is now. It’s not something I plan on stopping doing, but knowing how the world works, I imagine there might come a time when it’s not as hot. Who knows, though. I’d be delighted to be wrong.

  • Fantastic! Sassy Miss Classie… put a smile on my face. What a great inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

    Also, do you mind sharing (others included) what type of jelly thermometer you use? Mine broke today (grrr…) in the middle of making Plum Preserves and I need to shop for a new one that’s not the same kind as I had.

  • It hasn’t passed in all these years, we just hear about it more because of all the social networks. Thousands of us have and always will can and preserve the goodness of the earth.

  • I honestly don’t think it will pass, nor do I think it’s a lost art. It was merely put aside for one generation. Most people I know in their 30s had grandparents that canned or pickled. I grew up with massive amounts of produce from our summer home being canned all summer long. My grandma was a catalyst for growing it and preserving it. My mom doesn’t can, but her brother still does (always did) because he has land and land produces food. Basically I think it’s mostly a function of having access to land or farmer’s markets where you can by “real” food. You are not going to can Mexico grown tomato that was ripened in a shipping crate… That’s just silly… Canning is a lot of work, so you need to have something that’s worth canning.

  • I had been thinking about starting a garden and looking and reading about all of this makes me want to even more. I friend of mine started gardening a few years ago and she loves it she says it is so gratifying and relaxing. I remember watching my grandmother can fruits. I remember going with her to buy her Mason Jars. I’m marking this site to always read and come back to.

    Thank you!

  • She’s so likeable! Her attitude is wonderful, and I’d love to take one of her classes. Thanks for sharing the video. 🙂

  • What a great video!!
    I’m not sure this canning “trend” is a trend? Perhaps a lost “art?” My grandma canned but no one in the next generation really did. When I finally started about 15 yrs. ago, I had no one to talk to about canning. Now at least I have people to talk to about canning 🙂

  • I agree with Olga – the connection between growing your own food, whether it be a small backyard garden or something bigger, and canning/preserving is a strong one. Especially since the downturn in the economy, I have seen more backyard (and front yard) gardens then ever. Once you take the time to plant and care for your garden it is only natural to want to enjoy the “bounty” for as long as possible. The internet and all the wonderful people who fill it with content about canning/preserving are fuel for our fires. I don’t personally know a single person who gardens or cans but when I turn on my computer I am not so alone. I use to think that I was some weird kind of throwback – for once I think I might be a throw-forward 🙂

  • My Grandmother used to make her own sausage and can fruit and vegetables. My mother always canned and passed that love on to me. I am so excited that my new daughter-in-law wants me to teach her how to can. I can jams, chutneys, preserves, jellies and pickled veggies, but my favorite thing to make is vegetarian mincemeat. Classie Parker is a treasure!! Next time I visit NY, maybe I will be fortunate enough to run into one of her classes. I can only dream.

  • lovely! I love her outlook “I don’t can stuff from the grocery store, I pick what I can”. On our farm some folks can/freeze/dry what we grow because they don’t have space fir gardens..and we get peaches and can them for wintertime eating..but the rest we grow! And then can, now that’s good eats!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this video! I am a new city gardener and canner for our family of seven… This is a big encouragement!

  • My grandma canned, and taught my mom to can. And then my mom taught me to can. My sister dabbles in it a bit, but nothing like the grocery store I currently have going on in my basement. I can everything I grow (with the exception what we eat fresh) and supplement from a farmers market during the summer. My expense goes up in the summer, but it settles come fall and winter when the only things I am buying is butter, flour, milk and juice.

    There is something to be said about growing your own or buying local!

  • I absolutely LOVE that people are getting back to the basics and doing things like our parents and grandparents did. There is nothing like growing and preserving your own food. I started canning a few things from the farmers market last summer and have since started a garden and have been canning like crazy the past few months. I couldn’t imaging going back now. It has become a way of life.

  • I love this video! Thanks for sharing. There is nothing better in the middle of winter than opening up a jar of homemade summer!

  • My mother remembers how hard my grandmother worked at putting up food, standing over a hot stove on an already hot day, and to her it’s a womens’ lib thing. We don’t *have* to work so hard any more, so why would we? I tell her that it’s a question of balance — that we can choose to do as much as we want to, when we want to, which helps keep it fun. As long as canning is worth the effort to those of us who do it, the trend will continue. If it becomes an expected chore again, maybe not.

  • I was so happy to see your face again. My jars are clinking as we speak. I just jarred Maranara sauce. I took your class at the bklyn botanical gardens about 3 years ago. I told you I was moving upstate NY, You said You couldnt wait to see my root celler. I didnt know what a root celler was lol. Anyway I make applesauce every fall, and I am always keeping up on my maranara. I remember You hugging me during the class, you are the best. My girlfriend (who I took the class with) brags she (meaning me)took the course and ran with it. I love what you taught me, and how you made me un afraid to CAN! I thank you once again, you made life up here a lot less boring. lol My husband loves you too.