“Squawk! We have classes on the schedule! Make us some jelly! Squawk! Make us some jelly!”
That’s what the chickens said this morning when I told them I’ve scheduled some water bath canning classes. It’s not that they are so fond of jelly, but they love the scraps. Last year, we had little purple chicken footprints all over the place after a class where we made beet pickles and fruit is even better!
I have three classes on the schedule. The first, on June 5th, will be a jelly class. We’ll talk about pectin and how it makes juice jell. We’ll also talk about the role of sugar, how to make no-sugar jelly with another kind of pectin and how to use other sweeteners.
The class on July 17th will be sponsored by Grant Farms. I asked for the best date to get rhubarb and Megan suggested the third week in July, but cautioned that it’s impossible to know for sure when it will be ready. She’ll bring fresh fruit. It may be rhubarb, but it may be something else, like apricots. We’ll talk about different ways to can fruit, including different concentrations of sugar syrup and, my favorite, canning in fruit juice.
Venetucci Farm will host the third class, in August. We haven’t settled on a date yet, but it will be a Saturday morning. Last year, we were just in time for the beet harvest. We’ll pickle a vegetable harvested from the farm and talk about the role of pickling in food preservation. This class is held outdoors on the farm at the same time as the farmstand. You can learn to can the produce and then get more to try it at home!
Each class has 12 spaces and costs $30. Sign up by emailing me at bonnie@HungryChickenHomestead.com or go to the Class Schedule page and click on the Buy Now button for the class you’re interested in.
Canning gives you the power to preserve the local harvest and continue to eat locally through the winter. I know this for a fact! I bought a preserving share from Grant Farms last year and as soon as I finish this essay, I’m going to eat a breakfast of peaches canned in cherry juice with a little cherry-almond preserves.
I’ll add a strawberry or two, as well, and I’ll save the tops. The chickens need their scraps!