We have a few annual traditions built around home canning and preserving in groups – making chili with my mom, making tomato sauce and canning tomatoes with our friends Valon and Lydia, and the two of us working through strawberry jam together.
It’s a lot of fun, and we thought we’d share a few useful tips we’ve learned over the years on how to can as a group.
Our number one suggestion is to plan ahead – make sure you have all of the supplies, ingredients, and equipment you need. Also, if you’re planning on divvying up the bounty, make clear how costs will be paid for and what you preserve will be shared – up front, so there are no awkward moments after working hard in the kitchen all afternoon.
Your first step should be to see what’s in season, and pick a few recipes to work from. We like doing more than one recipe at a time, because once you’re busy in the kitchen, there’s lots of waiting, and you can use that time to complete steps from another recipe.
You can see what’s in season in our Annual Preserving Schedule and plan accordingly. Almost any supply you’ll need can be purchased from In Season – for home canning, Canadian Tire is another good option, generally more affordable than we can be if you have a car to pick it up yourself (they buy in much larger volumes, so can pass on the savings).