Seattle Canning Class + Giveaway

pickled cukes and jalapenos

Thanks to the combined power of good people and cross-country emails, I have a world of good news to share. The first tidbit is that I’m going to be teaching a jam-making class in Seattle on Sunday, August 30th. Here’s the official blurb:

Canning Basics with Marisa McClellan: Fruit Jam
Sunday, August 30, 2009
2:00 to 3:30 PM
Learn just how easy it is to make and can a batch of jam from scratch. If you’ve never done any canning because you think it’s too complicated, this class will change your mind and your pantry forever. Each student will head home with the knowledge they need to make their own jam (as well as a small jar of the jam made in class that day). To sign up, email me at

Cost: $45

The class will be held at Starry Nights Catering & Events, 11200 Kirkland Way, #220, Kirkland, WA.

I haven’t determined what kind of jam we’ll make in the class, I’m planning on waiting to see what looks good when I get into town the day before. I assure you though, whatever we make is certain to be delicious.

The other fun item is that I’ve got another giveaway for you guys, and we’re going to get it going before the current giveaway concludes (you have until the end of today to throw your hat in the ring to win a jar of homemade blueberry jam). You might have noticed that a number of food blogs are giving away a Fresh Preserving Kit from Jarden Home Brands, the folks who make the Ball Brand Fresh Preserving Products. Well, thanks to a partnership between the Canning Across America project and Jarden, I’ve got one to give away as well!

giveaway composite

This is a great item for people who are just getting started canning as well as those of you who can regularly, but could really use some new tools. Included in the kit is the pot you see pictured, along with a rack, wide-mouth funnel, jar lifter, head space/bubbling tool and lid wand. Also included with this giveaway is a copy of the Blue Ball Book of Preserving.

So how to you enter for a chance to win? Leave a comment and tell me why you want it. Do you want to make jam? Are you a fool for pickles? Do you have fond memories of canning with your grandmother? Is your spouse tired of you using your stock pot as a hot water bath? Whatever the reason, I want to hear it. The winner will be randomly selected at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 10th and will be notified soon after by email.

Good luck!

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105 responses to “Seattle Canning Class + Giveaway”

  1. oh my goodness, that kit would make things so much easier for me! since this is only my second season to preserve (as opposed to helping everyone else with theirs) i dont have many supplies of my own. in fact, i only have the funnel. sad, i know. i borrow the rest. but i would so work up all of my jams/butters/preserves in it!

  2. I so love that pot. I can only make stuff that will fit into half pint jars becuase the only stockpot I have is the shorter wider kind. Anything taller than half pint and the water doesn’t cover it.
    I have beeen craving mirliton pickles which really work best in quart jars.

  3. Ben goes through so much jam over the course of a year that it would be great to make my own. A great way to utilize our fabulous Willamette Valley fruit!

  4. I’ve gone canning crazy this summer–it’s addictive! And although I do have some supplies (obviously) I’d really like the Ball book and I really still *need* a lid wand…..Let me rephrase, my little burnt fingertips *need* a lid wand!

  5. A friend and I just finished canning 120 quarts of tomatoes and we really need some tools so we can stop borrowing them from my mom πŸ™‚

  6. Congrats on the Seattle class, you’ll be getting a little does of the Pacific Northwest after all. I would really love to win the kit because I think it would give me a great jump start to do some canning on my own. I would really love to can tomatoes.

  7. this would be just the thing to jumpstart my canning education. so far i’ve only done jam, but my tomatoes are about to ripen (i know, i planted them WAY late, but I’m in SoCal so it’s ok, right??) and I am going to need a way to preserve all of their deliciousness.

  8. oooh! i’m a fairly new reader, as a goal for summer 2009 is to improve my solo (read: without my mother) canning skills. so far, strawberry-balsamic jam and dilly beans have been made in my kitchen, and the kraut is fermenting in its crock. i would love to try your jam, and/or to win this canning set — i don’t have the ball book, and i could use more canning capacity!

  9. Part of the reason I have only been making refrigerator pickles is that I have been intimidated by the “tools” necessary to get setup for hot water bath preservation. I ended up freezing jars of tomato sauce from the tomatoes in the garden this year instead of jumping into canning. This would be the perfect impetus to jump into the deep end of canning and make sure I put up the rest of this summer’s bounty. Having just harvested about 20 lbs of tomatoes and 5 lbs. of peppers, I know I am only about a quarter of the way through the harvest season. I need to gear up. Thanks for always being such a great resource!

  10. I would love to earn this kit so that I might start canning again (I used to can with some of my mom’s old canning equipment, but she’s since gotten rid of it…).

  11. I’m relatively new to canning and it drives my fiance crazy that I use his soup pot for sterilizing and his BBQ tongs for pulling out my jars. This kit would make us both sooo happy!

  12. Wow! That’s an awesome giveaway. I love to make jams, salsa, pickles, and canned tomatoes. Right now I use a regular stockpot so I can only can in pints and half pints-would love to be able to can in quarts. πŸ™‚ (p.s. those pickles look fabulous! Is that mustard seeds in the jar?)

  13. My plum tree is exploding with fruit right now and my friends and I couldn’t eat much more than 1/4 of them last year before they went bad. I would love this canning set to help put up some of the plums for later.

  14. I just took your canning class and I work at farmers markets. i would love to put the two together. Your class definetly inspired me to start canning again.

  15. Oh man, I would love my first introduction to canning to be through my very own fresh preserving kit. Now that the blueberries are popping and blackberries are on their way I’m itching to try my hand at canning. My first experiment would be with freezer jams and then on to pickles.

  16. Yeah, I have just admitted that I need to buy a larger pot to can. I ended up borrowing a friend’s for the first batch of peach jam, but my regular big pot is just barely as tall as an 8oz jam jar.

  17. I am just getting started on canning… I’ve been afraid of anything but refrigerator pickles and frozen fruit, but am getting over it! I can’t wait to really get going, and this kit would be the perfect way to jumpstart my desires for brambleberry jam and canned tomatoes.

  18. I have an ancient canning pot (it was my great grandmother’s) It is rusty and huge. I have no tools to use with it and the rack inside doesn’t work. All in all it makes canning not very much fun. Luckily I love homemade jam enough to bear with it. A new set of canning helpers would make my life so much easier!

  19. I got an allotment garden for the first time this year, and I think I’ll have a bumper crop of tomatoes and (also for the first time) tomatillos. I’d hate to have them go to waste, and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at canning.

  20. I’m convinced the #1 reason why my jam didn’t harden is that I didn’t have the proper sized pot to cook/seal my jars in — it absolutely couldn’t have been my spaced out operator error technique. No way πŸ˜‰

  21. I could so use a new canning pot. I currently us a tall stock pot to do my Water Bath canning in. This would be a lovely addition.

  22. I have only tried freezer jam so far, but just bought the Blue Ball book of canning. I need everything. If I win, please feel free to pick another winner for the canning book!

  23. We moved to a house with lots of fruit trees so I have just started to learn how to make jam – but some tools would really help!

  24. I have a old canning pot that I got from my grandmother, but I’ve never had any of the tools that go with it. So, my burnt fingers and soggy potholders would love to see this in my kitchen.


  25. I just canned for the first time a couple weeks ago, but i’d love to learn more. I have an abundance of jalapenos from the garden, just begging to be pickled!

  26. I learned to can and pickle from my grandma. I would love to win this because an old friend and I have recently reconnected and he’s just starting to can. He’s using a giant stockpot and I would love to give him all the tools he really needs.

  27. I’d love this set because I currently borrow all my canning equipment and can only use it when my friend is not canning her stuff. The book especially would really help me increase my canning knowledge.

  28. Ack! I would LOVE to win the starter kit, because I currently only can refrigerator jam and pickles. My stock pot is sort of old and frail so I’m afraid to put jars in it… But I love love love the idea of home made jam all winter!

  29. When I was a child, my mother canned everything, BUT, she was deathly afraid of hot water burns and exploding jars so us kids only did prep work, we were not allowed to participate in the actual canning process, in fact, we were banned from the kitchen while she was working. Now, even though she still cans, I live too far from home to be able to learn from her. I am ready to jump in on my own, but since my hubby is now laid off purchasing canning gear will have to wait. This kit would give us a headstart on the process and give him something to do while hanging around the house too!

  30. This is the first year we really planned our garden (and expanded) so I ended up with a lot of tomatoes. We’ve been roasting them and making sauces (and eating them on salads), but I’d love to be able to can them to enjoy later!

  31. I would love to win and start canning. I have never done it before, but my mom and grandmother used to do it all of the time. They canned peaches, tomatoes, veggies, pickles. I would love some homemade bread & butter pickles. That would take me back in time.

  32. I’ve been meaning to start canning this summer. Admittedly, I’ve had a tough time getting started – I don’t have the equipment; it seems so overwhelming; what if I screw it up, etc. Last week, a friend who is making endless jars of jam as wedding favors gifted me a jar of marionberry jam that didn’t seal properly. Wow. Tell me again why I ever bother with store-bought jam. So in love and there’s no going back. I have to overcome the canning fear.

  33. As my family and I continue through changing our lifestyle (eliminating debt and eating healthier), I remain intrigued with preserving our own food for later use. We get jams and relish from my mom, but I’d love to be able to do things ourselves with fresh local apples, cherries, etc. The book looks like a great resource, and the canning pot kit would just be fabulous!

    @Noshzilla Kat – great idea about the library – I’ll have to go see what I can find!

  34. I want it because I am going to pickle the cucumbers growing slowly in my garden this year, I swear! I need the tools to do it. I need the book too, I look in every store I go into, so far no luck. I love your blog, you inspire us newbies to canning!

  35. I would love to win this!
    Because my mom would love to have all her canning stuff back. I stole her pressure canner, water bath canner, even her Blue Book! 2 years ago when I fell in love with canning.
    Or maybe I could give her the new stuff…….as an apology gift πŸ™‚

  36. OK
    So I already won the book (THANKS again , Marisa: am I qualified to enter again??) but would certainly be able to use the pot, etc.


  37. Okay, the real reason I’d love this? I’m terrified of canning on my own. It sounds hot, messy, dangerous, laborious…I don’t think I’d ever spring for a canner, so it would have to fall from the sky and then I’d be forced to confront my fears, one heat degree at a time. What a fun contest!

  38. I’m relatively new to the canning scene, I’ve really only done simple syrups and the like, but I’d love to learn more. Growing up my parents had a blackberry bush in our backyard and every year my father would collect the berries and make jam. Unfortunately, he never gave away his recipes. Maybe with some like this I could coerce that information out of him!

  39. i want to learn to can, so obv. i need a kit like this. i’m actually thinking of taking your class at foster’s in september!

  40. I have been gifted with some canning lids and a few jars. My mom taught me to can pears, and ever since then I have wanted to learn to can other things. I love the idea of having food ahead, and I also love the look of a cuboard full of canning!

  41. I use what ever works to get the job done here at home…makes it an adventure sometimes. The results are the reward!(those can be an adventure sometimes too!)
    This has been my summer of trying some new things in canning and preserving. Loved the blueberry jam recipe…shared with my kids and now I have to make more!

  42. It’s time to make a change and start being more conscious of what I am feeding myself and my family. I am buying local fruits and vegetables at our farmer’s markets and I want to start canning in order to save some wonderful Michigan produce for our winter. I want to start a new tradition in my family and something that I can pass on to my future children and other generations.

  43. I’ve recently become a convert to buying local foods. We joined a CSA this year plus my husband put in a small garden, and we are swimming in produce. Canning would be a great way to use up this excess. Now if I can just find the recipe my grandmother used for bread and butter pickles.

  44. I would love this! My current pot and rack have rust on them, so I’ve had to stop using them. I have put up 350 jars this summer, and I still have about 50 to go. I would LOVE this!

  45. Oh, I would love this! Currently, we’re using an asparagus steamer from my mother’s basement to can, one jar at at time. We’re poor college grad students, so we’re canning our garden to cut down on our winter groceries.

  46. All of my forays into canning have been frivolous. For fun. You see, until now I lived in the heart of abundance…California. There’s no real “need” to can in California, as there is no “off-season.” The earth bears fruits and vegetables year round.
    To be more specific, I lived in Berkeley, one of the seeds of the slow-food revolution, a place where the farmer’s market could make anyone a convert.
    So before moving to Connecticut two weeks ago, I hadn’t bought a fruit or a vegetable in a grocery store for six years. And one trip to my local chain store was enough to make me remember why. I want no part in that sterile, storyless, faceless tale. So I’ll shop at my farmer’s market here, but come November, I’ll have only my cans on my shelf to look to.
    You see, canning is now a necessity. I have a winter to endure. And though I’ve already canned some peaches, blueberry jam, and dried some of both, a canning set would surely help the situation, and help me transition into my new home.

  47. Wow! That lools like a great kit.
    I would love to win one…but if I am not the winner, where could I buy one?
    Seattle is a lucky city.

    My grandmother was a wiz at canning. She always cooked on a wood stove, made the best food ever, raised and butchered her own meat, had popsicles in the freezer and did the best canned cherries I have ever eaten.

    My grandma was a wonder woman. One day I hope to be just like her.

  48. I am so excited to be able to carry on my grandparents’ traditions in the form of canning! It is such a wonderful way to preserve the season’s bounty, and there is just nothing like homegrown produce in the dead of winter!

  49. Um. I burned our pot. Bad on me! So we are using the pressure canner pot for everything. I promise I’ll take better care of this one!

  50. I’m almost a compulsive jam-maker, but my canning pot is our spaghetti pot. I’d like to branch out into making things in quart jars, but my current pot won’t hold more than one at a time–tedious.

  51. I’m pretty much obsessed with anything in a jar at the moment and since I can’t really afford to keep myself in three market bought jars a week of jams and spicy pickles I figure it’s time to start making my own!

  52. My canning pot has a dent in the bottom, which makes it a bit wobbly on the stove, and the jars tend to tip over where it’s dented. It was gifted to me, so I’m happy to have it, but a new one would be wonderful to have. I think I may use both at once sometimes, so I could can extra large batches. Thanks for the chance to win this!

  53. Would love to win this…been making jam for the first
    time this year but using my stockpot as a canner. The
    book would be great too!

  54. I don’t have a water bath canner. Made do with a lot of different pans, but would love to have one with the lifter/rack and the 10th is my birthday!

  55. I’d like to win… I grew up in Homer, Alaska (before statehood, before Sara Palin!) — no running water til I was 11 yrs old (my four brothers hauled water), and MY MOTHER was an original pioneer. I mean to say, Mom could do everything from scratch, and do it well. As the only daughter, I am the fortunate inheritor of her legacy. I love to cook healthy food for real people (and have a rolls royce of immune systems to show for it), I sew lovely quilts & clothing, and I KNIT like a pirate! Now I just need to can all the produce I’ve got coming in.
    Anyway — lovely to discover your blog. Life is SO good!

  56. Even though I have really gotten into canning these past couple of years, I’ve never gone out and bought the real equipment (i.e., lid wand, jar racks, funnel, etc.)–it would be an amazing kit to have, and likely more efficient and less messy (and finger scorching) than how I get by now. I hope that your canning class out in Seattle goes well!

  57. I finally used my grape catsup with a stir fry. It was good, it was asian inspired. I used some sesame oil with my veggies and then added in some of the catsup. My boyfriend loved it. Thanks again.

  58. This would be great to win! My boyfriend kindly surprised me last night with a jar lifter. How romantic. πŸ™‚ Everything else we have is borrowed and improvised though! We’re just getting into it after accidentally planting 3 too many cucumber plants. I made peach-blackberry jam today and am trying to decide if the remaining 12 peaches are large enough to make the peach jam recipe you posted a bit ago.

    We’ve been using a vegetable steamer as a jar rack and a large lobster pot from his work for the water canner.

  59. my deep freeze is already full with fruit from the bounty this summer. i guess this could be the impetus needed to finally start canning things.

  60. I am working on cutting my costs to the bone and have plans to travel a little with my saved loot, so a canning spree would help me out
    thanks for the great info

  61. I have a friend who needs to start canning, and this would be a great way to help her out! I’ve been canning for about 5 years now, and really enjoy it. We have a third acre of raspberries — and that is what I am currently canning.

  62. I have been collecting berries this summer and adding them to my freezer and this weekend we are going to pick blackberries that I intend to turn into jam for wedding favors. I still need to purchase proper equipment to do the actually canning though so I would love to win!

  63. I want this because I am just getting started, and its rather hard to find things in my neck of the woods, and this would be perfect to make sure I have all the basics!

  64. I would love to win the canner. I make jams, jellies, and now really getting into pickles. I have a very small freezer, the reason for canning.

    My canner after moves (3 in 2 years) and after drops and so on. Has passed on. Sad, I know. It would be nice to replace it instead of using the stockpot.

  65. I would like to win this canning set because I would love to get started canning but don’t know how. I’d love to learn, both to have a great new way to preserve foods and also to carry on in the tradition of my Grandma. I’d like to learn this craft and be able to pass on both the knowledge and the products of my canning to family and friends.

  66. I would love the canning kit. My boys could have their own pots (ok, they would get my old stock pots) and we could make even MORE yummy stuff!!!! And since you are doing a class in Seattle, would you consider one in Texas??? How would the local market contact you to set something up? Did I mention that I’m willing to beg???

  67. I would love to be able to capture the bounty that my backyard blackberry bushes are providing and turn them into jam to eat this winter. I just can’t eat them fast enough right now!

  68. I would love to win this because I really want to explore making jam–especially because I have found a ton of public fruit trees in Austin! We also get more okra in our CSA than I can eat…but pickled okra is so delicious I’d love to can some for the winter time.

  69. I would love the kit because I’m currently using a pot lined with tin foil and tongs to try and grab the hot jars! Very difficult! I bought blueberries at the market today to make jam. While searching for a recipe I came across your site. Looks great so far, thanks for sharing!

  70. If you ever plan to teach a class in New York City, please let me know. I would love to take one fo your classes.

    I would love the win the kit. I recently bought a bunch of canning jars, but I am still scared to attempt my first canning project. I would love to make jams with the fruit I have been getting from my CSA. I have the jars, but don’t have the other equipment.

  71. I want it!!!!!! I SO want to get into canning. I’ve been reading, studying, researching…and now I’m waiting…waiting…waiting. Until I can buy the equipment.

    I’d be blessed and honored to win! I remember my grandmother’s jelly and my Mom’s dill pickles. The whole idea takes me back to great days!

  72. It would be great to have actual canning equipment. This weekend I made three pints of jam from raspberries picked from the wild bushes around my house. I put on dish washing gloves and pulled the jars out of the recently boiling water by hand — hopefully the random number generator will take pity on me!

  73. Oh, this would be so great for me. I am practically DROWNING in vegetables here! I have a farm share and no more freezer room. This would allow me to pickle, jam, and preserve all those veggies… green tomato jam? Yes I could! I have no canning experience except as a child but I would love to learn. This would be a great start.

  74. Oh my, how I would love to win this. I am new to canning and have almost no supplies. I am dying to make jam, applesauce, peaches, pears, cherries, and anything else I can manage to figure out.

  75. Thanks so much for Saturday’s pickling class – I had to leave promptly and didn’t get a chance to tell you this in person. I’d love to win this – if only so I can practice making pickles on my own!

  76. i’ve never canned anything before, but have been wanting to all summer. every time i go to the farmer’s market and see all that amazing produce that will be gone after the summer, i have this deep urge to can as much of it as i am able. also, i LOVE pickles and have been toying with the idea of making some and then canning them. this would be a truly glorious addition to my kitchen tools/gadgets, and one that would be used constantly until the end of the summer. oh the applesauce i will make!

  77. I have not yet begun to can, but I LOVE my aunt’s canned green beans and especially her pear preserves, on toast, with butter. I’ve been reading about canning a lot and one of these days will get down to my aunt’s for an “official” lesson. We have the best farmers markets here, and I would love to hang onto some of this great produce for the winter. Added benefit, I love jars!

  78. I am moving from New York City to the suburbs of North Carolina and will finally have a big enough kitchen to make more than freezer jam! Now I just need to stock my new kitchen with the proper utensils . . .

  79. My grandmother used to can lots of things when I was growing up (the ones I remember most vividly were the pickled peaches and the chow-chow), and unfortunately, I didn’t appreciate it then. I turned my nose up at several of her home-canned treats, and now that I can’t get them anymore, I’ve been wanting to learn how to do it myself.

  80. I love to can, and would love to give it to me friend Alisha who wants to can her millions of tomatoes when they are ready, but has never canned before. As she is expecting her second child soon, I’d love to be able to give her something she wants for herself, and not the baby!

  81. I would love to have this set! I can Salsa for my family and it is never enough, so this would be a HUGE help in getting more put away!

  82. OHHHH, I would LOVE to win. I am just beginning to can. I made Strawberry Freezer Jam earlier this summer. I lack freezer space so really need to can instead. I have NO specific canning tools!! I need this, I guess want this would be better. My best friend and I are planning to can applesauce next month and this would be a huge help! Thanks!

  83. I’d love to win so I can learn to be even thriftier and cut down on unnecessary food purchases at the grocery store. My grandma also made a plum jam without pectin using an old store-bought jam jar. This had me curious and I’m interested in learning more.

  84. Oh! I want to win this sooo bad I can hardly stand it! Earlier this year I stumbled upon “Made From Scratch” by Jenna Woginrich and this book has put me on the ol’ “homesteading” track here in the small town of Folsom, Ca. I haven’t canned anything yet because I need to get the right equipment/supplies. I do, however, have chickens now! lol I got my chicks in May and they are growing quite readily, can hardly wait to have our own eggs! My husband, while not so thrilled about the chickens, loves my homemade bread that I just made last week for the first time! I will be 49 yrs young this Wednesday the 12th! So you see, I’m finding a lovely lifestyle change in doing things the homemade way. : ))

  85. oh . . . how fun! I just moved to north carolina and my roommate got all our goodwill-sourced canning supplies (we learned to can together and I didn’t have any more room in the moving van). Now I’m starting from scratch again . . .

  86. […] Okay kids, we have a winner in the Fresh Preserving Kit giveaway! At 11:59 p.m. last night, the reached deep down into it’s bag of digits and came back with the number 5. That means that the lucky gal who will get her very own canning kit and Ball Blue Book of Preserving is Meryl. […]

  87. Ooh! Pick me, pick me! I recently moved to Seattle (4 days ago!!!) from Austin, TX. I learned my canning basics from a good friend of mine, Kate Payne, from Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. Given my love of jams, Kate taught me using one of your recipes and I immediately went out and bought both of your books. As I’m learning my way around my new city all I can think about is all the awesome berries and the never-ending list of jams I could make! This kit would definitely help me get started in this soon-to-be overwhelming passion of mine!

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