What are you canning this season?

Don’t miss our canning demo here in the store next Saturday, October 17th from 11am-2pm in the Housewares department, where Green Vests Sara and Barb will be demonstrating canning techniques for beginners and veterans alike.

As we enter into full-fledged fall time, canning season has reached its peak. Growers of every level and ability are picking the last harvests from their garden plots and containers before the impending first frost. In Colorado, you never know when that’s going to be exactly, but judging by the cooling air, it’s not too far away.

Sometimes at the end of the season, we find that we’ve got too much of a harvest to eat in a reasonable amount of time before it goes bad. We end up giving it away to friends, neighbors and coworkers, or (as a last resort) throwing it away. That’s where canning hits home, literally. “Putting up” your fruits and veggies means preserving them in jars for later use, and that can make even an upcoming El Niño winter seem just a little bit warmer. So, what are you canning this season?

Never canned before? No problem! It’s easy to get started.

First, figure out what your excesses may be, and which plants outside are still producing. Refer to the guide below to figure out what sizes of jars to procure. You’ll also need a big pot (preferably a canning pot), canning rack, lids, a jar lifter, and necessary additives like vinegar, pectin, and and salt (all, some, or none of these, depending on what your recipe tells you).

When we asked our Housewares specialists to shed some light on the process last fall, they had more than a few time-saving tips to lend. Even more amazing, the Green Vest love of canning was not limited to Housewares, and soon we learned from expert canners spread through the other departments in our store as well (they like to trade). We were delighted to gather enough collective experience to publish a complete, easy-to-follow guide on canning for beginners, entitled “Canning 101.CanningJars

So, what are you waiting for!? Canning is a great way to eat local, eat healthy and save some bucks this winter.  The beauty of saving your own harvest (besides that fresh, small-batch taste) is that you know exactly how your food was grown, even if you don’t know exactly how your going to use it yet (there are an abundance of great recipes out there!)

Canning is planning.

Next season, plant your garden according to what you like to enjoy in both the growing season and the off season. If you make salsa, pizzas and pastas, it might be a good idea to go heavier on the tomatoes. Fan of pickles? Call in the Cukes. Like a side of peppers with your winter sandwich? Plant a variety, from hot to not. You get the idea.

For questions, tips and tricks on canning your resource is no farther than your favorite local hardware store! Just ask a Green Vest.