Summer Canning Classes + More!

March 14, 2010(updated on October 3, 2018)


Though it’s still only March, the summer canning season is just proverbial moments away. And since it’s going to be here before we know it, I thought it was time to tell you about the classes I’ll be teaching at Foster’s Homewares (in Philadelphia) in May, June, July and August. We’ll be offering six classes in all, three focusing on jams and chutneys and three on the pickle-y pucker-y side of things. Classes run from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., cost $39 a pop and all students leave each class with a small jar of whatever we made that day.

Pickled Asparagus
Saturday, May 1

Apple-Rhubarb Chutney
Saturday, May 15

Strawberry Jam
Saturday, June 12

Peach Jam
Saturday, July 10

Dilly Beans
Saturday, July 24

Cucumber Dills
Saturday, August 7

I am also currently working on getting a couple of more hands-on canning workshops scheduled for the summer and I will let you all know when I have more details. Those workshops require slightly longer time commitments and more student involvement than the Foster’s classes, but have a much higher pay-off in terms of the amount of foods in jars that you end up with at the end of the day (depending on what we make, you’ll leave with three or four jars of food you helped preserve).

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I recently started writing for Grid Philly, a local magazine devoted to helping foster a more sustainable Philadelphia. My first article is in the April issue, which hit the streets in the last couple of days. If you live around these parts, you’ll find Grid at a variety of independent restaurants and retailers. If you don’t live here, you can check out my article, extolling the virtues of rhubarb, here. To see the actual layout, flip to pages 22 and 23 of the digital edition.

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As you regular readers know, I really love to talk about seasonal food and the many ways to preserve it. So, when reporters reach out to me, needing some canning information, I’m always delighted to talk to them, because I’m crazy for this stuff. However, rarely do these conversations turn into much. However, a recent chat I had with food writer Jeff Houck turned into a nice, juicy article in the Tampa Tribune that hit the internet earlier this week and will appear in the Sunday edition of that Trib. So fun!

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21 thoughts on "Summer Canning Classes + More!"

  • i realize that this question falls outside the parameters of your blog’s stated mission, but I’m gonna throw it out there anyway. Is there any way to “can” foods in a less breakable packaging that jars? my brother lives a long way away and loves a care package occasionally. I’d love to be able to send him some home made preserves, but am concerned that a glass jar isn’t a good way to send it… any thoughts? Thanks.

  • I wish you lived here! I’m taking classes through the local cooperative extension but yours sound so good.

  • I just picked up an issue of Grid and read your rhubarb piece! It was so great to see two of my favorite local blogs in there (Jenn Love of Straight from the Farm being the other). I follow your blog, I love jars (and putting everything into jars) and would really like to start canning this year. Hopefully see you at one of your workshops!
    Keep up the great work

  • Gosh, thanks guys!

    Christine, unfortunately, there’s no way that I know of to “can” in non-glass containers. However, I do frequently mail jars of jam to people, so it’s not impossible. It does, however, require quite a bit of bubble wrap and a commitment to careful packing.

  • Read the Tampa Trib article and here I am! I,too,wish I lived closer. Have to settle for following the blog!

  • Christine,
    It is possible to can in actual metal cans at home. However, it requires significantly more specialized equipment to do so, including a can sealer and a pressure canner. There are a number of drawbacks, including the fact that the metal cans are much more expensive in small quantities, are difficult to find and can only be used once. There are also some issues with making sure you have the right can lining for the food you are preserving, as different foods may react differently with different can linings.

    I would recommend just using large quantities of bubble wrap and packing styrofoam, if you are concerned with breakage.

  • Huzzah for more classes!

    For the shipping glass jar question – I once purchased a styrofoam box insert for shipping wine from a winery while in CA. If you’re nearby a winery, you might want to try that. The insert has circular areas to slide a wine bottle into, so I think you could get one or two jars into each of those.

  • Marisa, I am holding “BlogAid: Recipes for Haiti” in my hand just now and I must say I love your contributions. Carrot Peanut Butter Soup…golden in a plain little Corel cup! Perfection. We so often forget that food need not be fancy, just good sustenance, made with imagination and taste in mind. Your Yogurt Millet Bread looks intriguing in the way it has risen in the pan. Thank you so much for being part of this project…everyone involved, I think, sent their very best recipes. I’ve been made aware of so many wonderful new foodblogs!! Your dedication is appreciated.

  • Ernest, thanks so much for giving Christine the run-down on canning in metal cans. I vaguely knew such things were possible, but I’ve never done it and had no details.

    Vivian, gosh, thank you so much! I’m delighted to hear you like the recipes I contributed to the BlogAid cookbook. That Carrot Peanut Butter Soup is really quite lovely.

  • What do we need to do to get you to DC? My fiance says my refrigerator pickles “aren’t quite there yet” and I suspect his real issue is that they are refrigerator pickles and not properly pickled pickles…

  • Gayle, I’d love to come down to DC sometime. If you can think of a spot for a class, let me know and we’ll try to get something set up.

  • Going to one of your classes seems like a good idea! It would totally be worth the $40 plus train fare (I refuse to drive the 45 minutes to philly).

  • Marisa and Ernest- Thanks for the info. I don’t think I’ll try the cans. I think I was hoping there was a way to “cryo-vac”it or something. My bro lives overseas, so both fragility and weight are factors. Maybe some day…thanks again.

  • Thanks again, Marisa. Can’t wait to make some strawberry jam with the recipe you gave me for the Tribune’s readers. Cheers!

  • Hill’s Kitchen (next to Eastern Market metro) used to have canning classes in DC, but their cook moved to Tailand so they don’t have anyone to teach this summer. It would be great if you could have classes there.