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Anna Kovalcik prepares locally grown blueberries for water bath canning her own blueberry jam. Courtesy photo.




Water bath canning workshop

When: Saturday, Aug. 6, from 1 to 4 p.m.; registration required by Friday, Aug. 5, at 1 p.m.
Where: Anna Kovalcik’s residence in Barrington (address will be shared upon registering)
Cost: $25 to $40, sliding scale, with a nonrefundable $10 deposit to be paid online with registration, and the remaining amount due at the class.
Registration: Log in or create an account on meetup.com, then go to meetup.com/seacoast-nh-permaculture and join the group. Click on the water bath canning workshop in the upcoming events. Follow the instructions on the event page to register.
Visit: seacoasteatlocal.org/nheatlocal




In the can
Enjoy local produce all year long with canning

08/04/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 With bustling farmers markets, colorful farm stands and CSA programs in full swing, there are plenty of opportunities to eat local this time of year. But during the colder months, it can be a challenge to find fresh local produce.

That’s why Anna Kovalcik of the Seacoast Permaculture Group is teaching a water bath canning workshop as part of New Hampshire Eat Local Month, a statewide series of programs held throughout August to celebrate local food and farming. The workshop will take place on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 1 to 4 p.m., at her home in Barrington.
“A big part of [canning] is about supporting local farms, because the only way to keep those resources around is to buy the things they have,” she said. “If you only buy what you’re going to use in a week, that’s still nice, but canning is a way to take advantage of what we have around us right now so that you can eat local throughout more of the year.”
Kovalcik learned the art of canning at a young age from her mother and grandmother. She said she cans as much as time and produce availability allow, with some help from two of her daughters who share her passion. They will be assisting in teaching the upcoming workshop as well.
“I don’t know if we’ll be teaching people anything they can’t learn from reading online or watching a video, but for a lot of people, it’s important to have a hands-on experience,” Kovalcik said. “I think it will give them confidence to come do it themselves and see that if my 15-year-old daughter can do it, they can do it, too.”
There are various kinds of canning methods, but water bath canning is considered the easiest and the best introductory method for beginners. It’s ideal for preserving high-acid foods like fruits, pickles, jellies and jams, sauces and salsas. 
At the workshop, Kovalcik will walk participants step by step through the canning process, which entails sterilizing the glass canning jars, filling them with the prepared foods, sealing and processing them. 
With the water bath method, processing means submerging the jars in a large pot of boiling water. The suggested “enjoy by” date for water bath canned goods is one to two years after canning, but this can vary depending on the type of produce and the consumer’s personal preference.
Participants do not need to have any previous experience with canning to attend the workshop, but they should bring their own paring knife and wear an apron or clothes they don’t mind getting dirty. All materials, including the produce, jars, jar lids and rings and canning equipment, will be provided at the workshop. 
Participants will take home two completed jars of canned produce. The featured produce is dependent on availability and yet to be finalized, but Kovalcik said she’s aiming for one can of a fruit or jam and the other of a tomato sauce or salsa.
“It’s all about what we can get from the farms at that time, so it’s hard to plan ahead,” she said. “But that’s part of the whole thing, especially if you want to use a local source. You have to go with the flow.”
Kovalcik will also talk briefly about pressure canning, which is “the next step up” from water bath canning, she said, and if there is enough interest, she may host a follow-up workshop on pressure canning in the future.
“There are crops of all sorts of wonderful things in August and into September, and canning lets you capture that.” she said. “Then, when winter comes, you can have a little taste of summer, and there’s nothing like the taste of something that came from the field or off the trees.” 





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