BC Produce: Perfect for Preserves

It’s an exciting time of the year for us—so much fresh, organic BC produce has ripened up and is rolling into our aisles. As our society learns to appreciate the value of local food more and more, we’re also gaining a greater awareness of seasonal growing cycles and more traditional patterns of eating. When we’re surrounded by so much abundance it seems almost counter-intuitive to think about winter, but it’s the best time to start! For example, when your fingers are all totally stained with fresh berries and you feel like you can’t eat another bite, you might want to consider saving some for later. Much later! The idea of canning and preserving conjures up images of great big wooden farm tables, dozens of hands chopping and peeling, and cool stony cellars to store all those jars in. But small-batch canning and preserving—the kind you can do in any kitchen with your own two hands—is growing increasingly popular, which means there’s an ever growing pool of resources available to help you get started and keep you inspired.

We found a couple of blogs and books to help kick things off, and with an afternoon or two of work you might just find yourself enjoying BC’s glorious summer produce on your mid-winter morning toast! Or maybe even with your New Year’s Day brunch Caesar in the form of a spicy pickled BC bean…

Amy Bronee is a BC local, residing in Victoria BC. She’s run the blog Family Feedbag since 2011 and just last year published her first book, The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes, which “blends the traditions of home preserving with the tastes of the modern home cook with 101 simple, small batch recipes and vivid photography.” She’s been featured on and recognised by CBC, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, and National Post among many others. Her Blueberry Lime Jam looks gorgeous!

Philadelphia-based Marisa McClellan started her blog, Food In Jars to “share her interest in canning and general obsession with canning jars of all shapes and sizes.” She now has three cookbooks: Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round, Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, and Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, which features recipes sweetened with honey, maple, agave, coconut sugar, dried fruits, and fruit juice concentrates. We think her Honey Sweetened Skillet Stone Fruit Jam sounds amazing!

We’d also love to give a mention to The Jar Girl, who’s been supplying reclaimed mason jars for our on-tap Hoochy Booch Kombucha. You can get great jars by the dozen, and if you wanted to kick it up a notch higher, even, wouldn’t your homemade bread and butter pickles look fabulous in a Vintage 1950's Kerr "Self Sealing" Special Patent Edition Wide Mouth Quart Mason Jar?!