Late summer is the season of canning, especially in the Pacific Northwest! Wild blackberry bushes overflow with juicy fruit, and the pick-your-own farms are a great place to social distance and gather delicious blueberries, marionberries, cherries, etc.
Where to find fruits and veggies to can
Chances are, you are in search of canning help due to an overabundance of a fruit or vegetable! However, if you are still hoping to find fruit to can, we recommend turning to your community and neighbors!
The Portland Fruit Free Project is a gleaning organization that Kitchen Commons has partnered with in the past. They believe that “by empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care of urban fruit trees, we are preventing waste, building community knowledge and resources, and creating sustainable ways to obtain healthy, locally-grown food.” They host harvest parties and organize community gleaning to share with food insecure folks and neighbors in need.
This website, Falling Fruit, has a nationwide map with icons marking where free fruit (and nuts and herbs, etc!) is around your city. Many folks with access to fruit trees in their yards find themselves with more fruit than they can possibly use. Or some of these spots are in public spaces like community centers and welcome public use of their goods. The site also indicates what time of year the fruit is ready to be harvested and sometimes additional notes as to where on the property it is.
Tools, equipment needed
Many folks are dissuaded from canning because they feel it’s too complicated of a process that requires many tools and gadgets they don’t have at home. Instead of purchasing a whole set of equipment for one annual use every summer, Kitchen Commons offers access to two ‘Kitchen Share’ locations of tools and equipment!! We have a large inventory that you can look through here, including canning kettles and kits for your big project.
Here’s what you will need:
This brief recipe is adopted from Taste of Home and can be applied to many different types of jams. Feel free to peruse the many, many canning recipes online or in cookbooks! We’ve included two here as well.
From Kitchen Commons Recipe Catalog
Jennifer Elting’s Roasted Tomato Sauce
Canning is always more fun (and easier!) when we do it with others. The tedious work of pitting cherries always benefits from a friend or two to join you! Kids can help with different steps of the process too, and it’s great to teach them how that delicious strawberry jam got to the fridge - even in December! Gather up the people in your quarantine bubble and make an afternoon out of it, or better yet, start a virtual canning party with friends and family you may be missing. Head over to our page on virtual cooking classes if you want tips on hosting! Finally, be sure to share all your canning projects with Kitchen Commons-- we love to support groups cooking at home together!