Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Home Canning with a Side of Humour.

A recipe that calls for "6 cups of crushed strawberries" is telling you to crush the strawberries FIRST, then measure out six cups. The reverse order of operations leads to widespread puzzlement in the kitchen, and the odd sense that your recipe book has lied to you. Lessons learned.

You can wash, sort, and prepare (e.g. hulling or peeling if needed) fruit at its peak freshness and freeze it in sturdy containers or freezer bags. If you plan on making jam with your fruit, you can thaw it out in the refrigerator, or use a homemade bain-marie. Here, we placed a metal bowl over a large pot of simmering water to defrost the berries with gentle steam.

Or you could make your friends and family smash the frozen berries, which is apparently much more fun.

Headspace: It's important to leave a small amount of empty space at the top of the jar. The space will be specified in your recipe, and a canning ruler (like the one in the picture) is a helpful visual aid.

Upcoming Gardening Workshops with Grant Watson.

Until recently, Grant Watson was a resident of Renfrew-Collingwood, and has been helping out with the new Horley St. Orchard and Cheyenne Avenue Garden. He will be leading two gardening workshops at School of Chalk in Strathcona on July 25. For more details on workshop contents, see

Winter Gardening

Location: 593 E Georgia St, Vancouver
Date/Time: 25-July, 10am - noon

Learn how to start a winter vegetable garden, when, and what to grow. We will cover the options for extending the season of various food plants, and what varieties have been bred specifically for frost tolerance and longer storage life.

Soil Fertility and Plant Health
Location: 593 E Georgia St, Vancouver
Date/Time: 25-July, 1 - 4 pm

An extremely important topic in organic gardening is soil health and fertility. Healthy soil is a vibrant community. Learn how to be an ally, not an enemy of your soil. We'll also cover some key techniques for promoting and protecting your annual and perennial food plants, as well as the ones that just look pretty, from disease and pests.


Grant Watson
Grant's Gourmet Gardens
778 869 4060