Community Blog

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August 18, 2020
Adrienne Hohensee

Canning 101


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. 

  1. Gather ingredients; wash and dry jars, lids and bands.
  2. To prevent cracking when hot food is added, heat jars and lids in hot (not boiling) water. Bands should be kept at room temperature so they’re easier to handle.
  3. Simmer 2-3 inches of water in pressure canner or fill boiling water canner half-full of water and simmer while food is being prepared and placed in jars. If using a pressure canner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Prepare food.
  5. Remove jars from canner using tongs or similar kitchen utensil and fill with food, leaving appropriate headspace as called for in recipe. (Headspace is the space between the food and the lid.) If the recipe calls for it, remove air bubbles in food by running a spatula between the food and the inside of the jar.
  6. Clean rim of jar and place lid on top, making sure it’s centered so the seal makes contact with the rim. Tightly screw on band.
  7. Return filled jars to canner. If using a pressure canner, follow manufacturer’s directions. If using a boiling water canner, place lid on top and bring to a boil. Depending on the recipe and your altitude, processing times will differ.
  8. Remove jars from canner and let sit 12-24 hours. Don’t retighten or adjust the bands.
  9. To be sure the lid is sealed to the jar rim, remove the band and try to lift the lid off. If the lid stays put, the jar was sealed successfully.
  10. Label your jars and store in a dry, cool place.

Canning Recipes 

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! 

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