Community Garden Canning Party

December 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm 1 comment

Two weeks ago, volunteers from all the Parks Department Community Gardens came together for a common cause: to get our can on. (Excellent question posed by Sophia: why is it called canning if everything goes into jars?)

We reserved the commercial kitchen at Miller Community Center on Sunday, December 11 and purchased 132 pounds of pears and apples from Oxbow farms. In all we had about 16 people come out to can, but it was hard to get an exact count since some people came and went and it was a fairly chaotic 7 hours.

Here’s what we made and divided among ourselves:

  • Vanilla brandied pears – 41 half-pint & pint jars, 7 quart jars
  • Apple butter – 25 half-pints
  • Applesauce – 18 pints and quarts
  • Black pepper & vanilla pears – 14 half-pints
  • Spiced pears (combo of vanilla/cardamom/szechuan pepper)- 22 half-pints and  pints
  • 8 tubs apple/pear sauce

Although we’d only reserved the kitchen until 3:00 we were lucky that no one had it after us since we were hurrying out the door at 5:00 when the Center closed – 132 pounds is a lot of fruit! The day was very upbeat, filled with community and teamwork, imagination and substitution, and several creative ways to cook box upon box of apples and pears (including convection). We had to make several runs to the store and our houses for more jars and in the end most of us ended up taking home a plastic tub of apple/pear sauce since there were no more jars to be had.

This was such a fun and successful event that we may try to make it a quarterly or half-yearly tradition. But next time, half as much food…

Here are a few shots capturing the event – thanks to Daniela and Sophia for the great photos, and for everyone who participated!

A fraction of the pears

Partial box of apples - I think there were 4 or 5 boxes total

Starting to prep the piles of fruit

Chopping mounds of apples and pears

It got really steamy over that stove

We were a very enthusiastic bunch

Because 6 burners and a convection oven weren't enough

The stove was occupied so we made rice-cooker Mexican food for lunch - a delicious and much needed energy boost!

In reaction to the amount of sugar in a recipe

Food mill and water bath - two very common jobs that day

The day's bounty

Those of us who were still standing at 4:59

 

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Becca  |  December 27, 2011 at 10:34 am

    It was an amazing day! I can’t wait for the next canning day! Thanks to everyone to came and made it happen. Massive props to Sophia and Elizabeth, for everything.

    Reply

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