I recently watched an old episode of “Andy Griffith” where Aunt Bee and neighbor Clara were in determined competition regarding their home canned pickles. If you think of home canning as an old fashioned process of the 50’s and 60’s, think again! With the skyrocketing emergence of home, school and community gardens, the trend in personalization of recipes, and the need to do something with your ripened garden bounty, canning is the perfect solution.
For novice and experienced canners, the Ball company, which began making glass home canning jars in 1884, has developed a canning website that is consumer friendly, informational and provides all the equipment and recipes you need to begin canning.
There are monthly featured recipes. This month they feature Roasted Red Pepper Spread, Fiesta Salsa and Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Jam. There’s a recipe box where you can use highlight the ingredients you want to preserve, the canning method and the level of difficulty in order to find your perfect recipe. There’s an opportunity for beginning canners to learn the basics which would be a great preview for your students. If you want more training before you attempt canning, there is also a list of “Canning Classes Near You” and a video on “Making Fresh Jam.”
There’s a pectin calculator which would be a great a math activity for your students. In addition, as a consumer, I really liked the opportunity to select and purchase equipment and ingredients right from the website. I think the 4 oz. jars would be perfect for your students to be able to bring home some of the preserves they have made in class. For life-long learners there is a newsletter you can also select to have e-mailed to you.
If you have a garden started at your school that you will be harvesting right away when the school year begins, be sure to check out this website soon. There is so much to explore and savor!