Think you’re just too busy to preserve any of the summer’s fresh foods yourself? Or concerned that it’s too complicated? Casey Littell says if you can boil water, use a timer and follow basic directions, you’re ready to start canning.
|Slow Food volunteer Casey Littell demonstrates how to make black raspberry preserves|
This Wednesday, Littell was heating black raspberries, adding ingredients and showing onlookers how to safely prepare jars. She stressed cleanliness and safety, but encouraged anyone to try canning at home. “Anybody can boil water, watch your time, it’s the same as anything else. You don’t have to be intimidated, you just do it, as long as you make sure you’re getting your sealed lids, it’s safe and it’ll keep for years.” She showed how just four cups of fresh berries could stretch into several pints of preserves.
|Littell fills jars with black raspberry before completing the preserving process|
For this demonstration, Littell used berries from a local source. “I don’t have any berries this year, but I grow my own tomatoes.” The Slow Food leadership board member says much of her inspiration comes from what her grandmother taught her as a child. “I used to sit and break beans, do the pressure cooking, make jam, with my grandmother, I’ve done this my entire life.” Littell admits that canning with the pressure cooker, which low-acid foods like beans require, can add an extra level of difficulty. So, she recommends that beginning canners start with high-acid foods like berries that can be heated using the waterbath canning method.
|Market Square Farmers’ Market’s Kimberly Pettigrew and Market Director Charlotte Tolley|
Following canning directions closely is important, not only for taste, but especially for food safety. You can learn more about Ball’s recipes and tips at FreshPreserving.com. See what SlowFoodKnoxville is doing via this link. Learn more about community efforts and try recipes at the MarketSquareFarmersMarket.org. . You can check for a free or low-cost class on food preservation with your local university extension office.