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I have scheduled the first meetings of the canning club I am starting. The first meetings will be be duplicates that allow everyone who is interested to make one or the other (one weekend morning and the other weekday evening). We will take a quick tour through my shop and chat about what everyone has, doesn't have, likes, doesn't like, is interested in and not interested in.... From there we will try to agree on a date for our first group canning event (tomatos in July). We'll do these group canning events in smaller groups of those interested and available for each event. We'll also try to determine the best time for quarterly meetings where we try to get all members to attend and bring their canned goods to show and trade. We will also build a networking circle where everyone is looking for oportunistic ways to aquire items to be canned. We've already had one member offer a u-pick oportunity for 50 cent a pound tomatos (July event). We also have the Superganic Farm guy who will sell us ceritfied/organic veggies to can (September event). We'll do meats, stews and soups in the colder months. I'll keep you appraised as to how the club works out as we proceed.

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Harriet: I bought that Squeezo when my baby boy was about four...so that's about 25 years ago...he wanted it!  We had a field of pumpkins and he wanted to make pumpkin leather...and yes, it's HUGE...he's the one that told me last year you can get a motor for them...    I think you can still find this model on ebay. 

Well, I don't need that big a model.  The size or two down suits me and my urban "farm" just fine.  But once again, I'm jealous.  Wish I could be in the kitchen with you when that hummers is churning.

 

Hail the great "Squeezo"  is right. No wonder yoiu were able to get that many tomatoes squooze! Debbie tells me there is no such word a squooze. I tell her she must be wrong. If you "Freeze something its "froze", if you choose something its chose so if you squeeze something it stands to reason that its squooze!
  I'll have lots of help for a short amount of time. I wonder if they make an industrial strength "Dice0" since I'm dicing insted of squeezing!
Harriet Fasenfest said:

Hail the great Squeezo.  But I do believe you have the industrial model.  Mine in not nearly so large.

 

The following is an email I sent to the club regarding the upcoming "Group Canning Events" on August 15th & 20th.

 

The link below describes the process of the canned tomatoes we will be doing at the group canning events. If you choose to do a different style (i.e. tomato paste, juice, whole....) you must provide all your own equipment. In order for us to do this as a group with this kind of volume we must keep things simple and easy. Once we've been together as a club for more time we might allow for more variety but right now we've just started the club and are feeling our way into how to do these events. We may be able to allow for diced or stewed chunks as opposed to the crushed style once we get started and see how things are working. Generally crushed or diced are nearly identical with regard to cooking ingredients and crushed is sure a lit easier than dicing 500 pounds!). You are certainly welcome to add jalapenos, okra, onions, green chilies (you must bring your own) to your jars along with the crushed tomatoes if you choose. I plan to add some green chilies to mine, like the Rotelle style you can buy at the grocery. Please bring small change for payment of the tomatoes & peaches as I may not have correct change and we woun't know exactly until I buy them and we see how much waste there is from preparing them. Based on the 25 cents per pound raw and the 1.5 pound of raw tomatoes for 1 pound of canned tomatoes ratio, it looks like somewhere shy of 50 cents per pound but be prepared for a little more just in case. We'll simply devide the total dollars spent for the bulk tomatoes and the total jars of finshed/canned product and determine the price from that (twice the cost for quarts as pints).

***For the most part plain tomatoes are the most versatile since you can always add the other stuff when after you open the jar if needed.

Please familiarize yourself with the "Crushed Tomato canning process before the event.
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_03/tomato_crushed.html

This link has some salsa recipes/ideas for those of you who plan to can salsa
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can3_tomato.html

We're up to nearly 500 pounds of tomatoes& 50 pounds of Peaches to be canned. You folks better show up or I'll be swimming in tomatoes & peaches!

Pat, this is so incredibly valuable. Thank you for sharing your system with us. We do hope - after this, the busiest time of the year - to harness the information and energy that you're providing.  You're amazing!!
Ditto
Amazing? Actually I'm feeling a little nervous. I keep getting more additions and am up to close to 600 pounds of tomatoes and 100 pounds of peaches. I sure hope everything goes smoothly and doesn't turn out to be a rainy weekend! I'm trying to refine the process for group canning events in the future. This one seems like it will work fine but I will be out on a limb for nearly $250 worth of raw ingredients. If it rains and folks don't show up I could be left holding the bag. Highly perishable ingredients always make me a little nervous. If it were meat I could always just freeze it if I had to. It's also a bit of a chore to buy and haul that much. Hmmmmm.....what to do next time?  I have some thought and will be making some modifications to future events and will post the changes once I finalize them.
Ah me but I wish I was there to help you on this.  Perhaps having folks pay a bit up front would be helpful.  Folks do not object to sharing the costs nor, I suspect, paying for your time.  In fact, they may be more likely to show up, rain or shine.  Got a tarp over it all?
I would gladdly accept the help. Upfront payment would be a good idea but I'm trying to not put any obsticles in the way of the canners. Having to pay up front would provide for a more invested attendee but logistically it would require a second event where money was exchanged (unless I was willing to sit around every day and piece-meal out the payment process. I may end up asking that they bring their own ingredients in the future but haven't made that decsion yet. I don't want payment for my time. I am giving back to the community and besides, once you accept payment (however small) you have responsibilities and they have expectations that don't always mathch and I don't want to deal with that. By doing it for free I am always in charge and in control of what I am willing or unwilling to do. A tarp would work but there are going to be 20+ people so it would have to be a big one to cover them and the hot equipment. I do have a small covered carport area that could be used and a 4 foot awning over the front of the shop. It might mean getting a little wet but it could be done assuming the canners aren't too wimpy (there's always the wimp factor to consider). Luckily I have shade and a breeze off the water at the shop that moderates the August heat somewhat. Hopefull there will be some potential group leaders emerge that could help take some of the load off me. I would simply form smaller groups with a more experienced canner in each to kind of divide up the larger group and make it more manageble.

For some reason I am having trouble uploading the picture to the Homegrown site but I'll try agin in a minute (it looks so good). Anyway this is the email I sent out with the picture to the members of the "Pensacola Can Can Club".

 

  • Next week's "Can-A-Rama"
  • Take a look at the attached picture of our "ready-to-can" produce that we'll be canning on Monday.
  • Shirley (Canning Club member) brought the pears from Brewton for anyone that wants them (free). They are not the eating variety but are good for making jam or pear-butter. I've already made some "Pear Butter" for us to taste on Monday (ummmm). I'll can a jar of it for you Shirley. I just peeled and cored the pears and put them in the Vita-Mix (Blender). Then I put them in the slow cooker without the lid on for about 18 hours to reduce the liquid in the mixture to a thick paste. I added about 1 pound of brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to the 1 gallon of pureed,peeled and cored pear mash. Hot packed it and water-bathed it for 10 minutes.
  • The Peach price was 90 cents a pound and the peaches are perfect. Not hard, not too ripe but just right. They are the large yellow peaches like you buy in the cans at the grocery (only better).
  • The market manager said the 50 cent per pound canning tomatoes didn't look so good so he made the decision to get number "1" tomatoes (The same best tomato quality that you buy at the grocery) for 65 cents per pound. As you can see there will be little or no waste when canning these tomatoes so we'll actually get more jars out of the poundage than I had anticipated and that means less money per jar. I had ordered 1.5 pound for each pound you committed to so the pints would have held 1 pound but needed 1.5pounds of raw product making the cost about 75 cents per pound. With these number 1 tomatoes we'll get the pints full and only need a little over a pound so the price per jar will still be about the same (maybe less). Since these tomatoes are so nice you may want to consider canning whole/half stewed tomatoes since the tomatoes won't need to be cut up to remove bad spots.
  • I think the value & quality of the produce far exceeded my expectations and I want everyone to know the Steve's market has top quality produce and great prices. He doesn't have any of that crappy semi-ripe or nasty stuff I see at ALL of the grocery stores. Bailey's Produce market is located in an outdoor tent market just west of US#29 on 9-Mile Road. If you go there tell him thanks from the canning club!
  • Currently we are up to 900 pound of Tomaotes, 200 pound of peaches and 100 pounds of pears for the combined Monday and Saturday group canning events next week.
That is awesome Pat wish i could come

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