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Pensacola Can Can Club

The club will be canning 750lbs of tomaotoes and 200lbs of peaches this coming week.

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Comment by Pat Johnson on September 18, 2011 at 2:16pm

September 17th was another Group Canning event for the Pensacola Can Can Club. The Can-A-Rama Extravaganza started at 8:30am and continued through the day ending about 4:00pm. We canned 500lbs of Peaches in light syrup, 100lbs of Pickled Okra (hot & mild) and 100lbs of Green Peanuts (Boiled Peanuts). 

The membership is now up to 85 members. 20 of those members participated in yesterday's event (typical number for a group canning event so far). Many of the same members return for each event but there are always at least 5 new ones that show up and some that don't come to every event. 

For the most part, everyone has canners now (other than a couple newbies). The number of propane cookers stands at about 12 per event. The Propane bottles seem to be the biggest issue because each burner requires it's own source of propane (I do have a couple "Y" connectors that allow two burners to work off the same propane bottle). The pressure canning takes very little propane since the heat is turned almost off once the canner gets up to pressure and while it's processing. The Waterbath canners are a different story. Unless constantly watched they will burn on high all day and use a crap-load of propane. I think I will be assigning some members to be in charge of 3 cookers and canners each so that they can keep tabs on the processing times and turn the heat up and/or down so that the water is just boiling but not any more.

I think we have the two biggest volume & work items done for the year (Peaches & Tomatoes). Slipping skins and removing cores/stones takes a lot of labor and coupled with the fact that everyone wants a lot of jars means for a long day. Most of the waterbath canners hold 7 or 8 jars and we do mostly pints so the pounds generally translate almost 1 to 1 with the jars.  I am looking forward to canning something easy on the next event. Stuffing something in a jar and pressure canning it for an hour sounds easy compared to all that skinning and pitting involved yesterday.


Comment by Pat Johnson on August 30, 2011 at 4:08pm
We did a test batch of Boiled Peanuts today in anticipation of the Peanut-Can-A-Rama that will take place this coming Saturday. We wanted to verify how many pounds per jar and the processing time from start to finish. We did two seperate batches using the recipe on the Pick Your Own Website. We learned that 1 pound of medium sized green peanuts will fill 1.5 quart jars. We also learned that for each jar of peanuts you need 1/2 jar of brine. Consequently we will be able to can quarts for about $1.00 per jar (plus propane cost).
Comment by Pat Johnson on August 30, 2011 at 4:01pm
Comment by Christene on August 23, 2011 at 2:07pm

The great thing Pat that I think you are doing is teaching and also giving it a community.  I have been processing peaches for awhile and I am usually only here with my toddler.  I get lonely and wish for someone to share the work and conversation with.  I do have my husband when he comes home but he usually does child duty so I can work at the stove.


I want a canning community too!

Comment by Harriet Fasenfest on August 23, 2011 at 1:01pm

NEVER to be forgotten.  But I didn't mean to mention it.

Tell Deb I say hey.  

Comment by Pat Johnson on August 23, 2011 at 12:17pm
Well, now I feel like I better start dressing better, combing my hair and watching my Ps & Qs. I'm just doing something that sounded like fun with a sustainability twist in it. Harriet's right, it is a personality thing. I'm definately an extrovert and crave social contact. I was the contract negotiator  and sales guy in my previous life but don't miss the job in the least. However, I do miss all the personal interaction and the wheeling and dealing. So...I find myself the President of the local Escambia Bay Homebrew Club and coordiantor of its annual "Emerald Coast Beerfest" which I'm working on fevorishly (two weeks till showtime!), The President of the Pensacola Can Can Club which you know all about and the local coordiantor for the Florida 120 which is an annual small boat outing. I try to juggle all these and all my other interests and keep Debbie happy at the same time! Anyway, its not that I'm a Saint or anything. I just find it eaisier to have fun if I keep the money out of the equasion when it comes to being involved in the various activities I am involved it. When there is money involved there are expectations and responsibilies that often do not mirror each other and than always means less fun for somebody! It may be that I'm just a nut who takes on too many hobbies. Still, if the guy from the Times calls I'll try to represent the Homegrown cause without screwing it up to badly. And yes, you can count on me to keep the nitrates, kool-ade jelly and the "never to be forgotten or finished" deck out of the interview!
Comment by Christene on August 23, 2011 at 11:27am
I agree what a cool way to get the word out and maybe this can start everywhere
Comment by Lynda Reynolds on August 23, 2011 at 9:44am
Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!  You are doing such a great service to your community.  Keep it up, Pat.  I'm hoping others read about your Can-Cans and follow your example...you are an inspiration.
Comment by Harriet Fasenfest on August 23, 2011 at 9:40am

Buddy, I contacted the fellow from the N.Y. Times about you and copied you on the message.  Should he be interested you can follow up on your own.  I'm out of it but I am so impressed with this model that I think it should be A) reproduced and B) give credit were credit is due.  It takes a special person to organize this particularly with the spirit of generosity you have shown.  Which is why I always yammer on about you.  I'm a much more private person.  I occasionally invite folks into my home and garden kitchen, teach my neighbors or give away excess produce but I am so deep into producing and provisioning for my family (and writing, always writing) that I don't rise to the opportunities that you are showing us.  This is not a time thing alone, this is a personality thing, a heart thing a spirit thing.  And as much as I would like to be Just Like Pat, I know my cranky self - likely not going to happen.  


Which is my way of saying I hope they do contact you.  Not because you want the recognition (not like you either) but that we need these stories of hope, heart and hard work.  Just keep the story about the kool-aid jelly, nitrites and the unfinished deck out of it.  It might make you look less saint like.  Of course, if you ever get too big for your britches I'm hauling them out.  Oh you know I will.



Comment by Pat Johnson on August 23, 2011 at 9:32am

It's like a quilting bee or a barn raising...the idea is not to make a profit but to provide a social community event where folks get to socialize without spending money (other than the cost of what they take home). That kind of event results in a fun day out with a bunch of folks and something worthwhile to take home at the end of the day. Most folks pay good money to have a fun day out with a bunch of folks and go home with nothing more than an empty wallet. Its a Win Win for everyone who participates (including me). It does take a little coordination by me but eventually we may be able to share that work as well. So at the end of the day folks come to realize thay can't afford to not have fun at (miss) one of our events!


Between last Monday and Saturday we canned 1050lbs of tomaotes and 200lbs of peaches. On September 3rd we will can "Green Peanuts" (to make boiled peanuts in a jar). They are big here in the south and I already have enough commitments to do a couple 50lb bags and will likely end up with at least double that amount. Figuring out the cost of propane is the only wild card. We simple sell the excess (uncommited jars) at cost to anyone who wants them. If no one at the event wants them we sell them to the members who didn't can them (Who wouldn't want them at cost with no labor).



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