On September 19th, 2021, Young Agrarians hosted a virtual “can-a-long” all about food processing, preserving and value-add led by three enthusiastic teachers from the Central Kootenay region of B.C.
The goal of the workshops was to provide hands-on skills to turn farm/garden produce into value-added products, learning three different ways to preserve the harvest, with tips for both the home kitchen and creating value-added products. The afternoon online event featured three back-to-back sessions on Zoom where we learned, watched, engaged, asked questions and made our own canned spiced pears and apples, canned pickled beets and sauerkraut from the comfort of our own kitchens!
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the afternoon, to our wonderful teachers and to the West Kootenay EcoSociety for helping promote this event!
Follow along with the recipes at the bottom of this page to accompany each video and learn three fundamental food preservation techniques in one afternoon (and you can pause whenever you need)!
Fruit Canning Workshop – Spiced Pears and Apples
This one hour session shows us the basics of canning fruit and offers an opportunity to see what canning is all about. Michaela Woeller walks us through how to make spiced pears and apples and answers some important questions about how to preserve food safely and hygienically.
Michaela is a cook from the Kootenays who focuses on seasonal and healthy food. She has worked as a caterer, bush cook and for the last two years as the Food Skills Coordinator at the Nelson Community Food Centre (NCFC). She has led the canning operations at the NCFC to aid in food preservation from the Harvest Rescue program.
Pickling Workshop – Canned Beets
In this hour-long session on pickling, Becky Miller guides us through her favourite recipe for canned pickled beets, working with the smaller beets she had left after harvest from her own garden.
Becky is a passionate permaculture gardener, beekeeper & herbalist. She hosts an annual preservapalooza with her friends and family every fall to process the bounty of their harvest.
Fermentation Workshop – Sauerkraut
This 1.5 hour session is led by Jessica Bowman, who leads us through the fundamentals of fermentation, while making sauerkraut made from locally-sourced cabbage.
Jess began her career working in the craft beer industry fermenting alcohol in Victoria, BC after taking an interest in her hometown’s booming craft beer culture. Her passion brought her an apprenticeship with Townsite Brewing in Powell River, BC. She now lives in Nelson, where she’s expanded her experience with fermentation by working with foods.
Don’t miss an update by subscribing to our Columbia Basin/Kootenay newsletter!
- Join our Young Agrarians Columbia Basin Facebook Group to stay up-to-date with all events.
If you have any questions please contact Hailey@youngagrarians.org.
GOT LAND? WANT LAND?
Through the B.C. Land Matching Program, Young Agrarians is offering support to farmers looking for land for their farm business and landowners looking for farmers to farm their land. The Columbia Basin Land Matcher will be attending the event to answer any questions about accessing land through this program. For those unable to join us, you can send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Columbia Basin event series is made possible with funding from Columbia Basin Trust.
Canned pears or apples in spiced syrup
Materials we will be using:
- Canning pot and lid
- Canning basket (insert into pot)
- Canning tongs (with rubber grip)
- Small pot
- Medium pot
- 4 sterilized quart jars and lids
Ingredients for spiced pears:
Makes 4 quarts
- Approximately 12 pounds of peeled halved, and cored pears or apples (about 3 to 4 pears per quart jar)
- 5 and 3/4 cups water
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- Two 4 inch cinnamon sticks per quart jar optional
- 8 cloves (optional)
- 4 star anise (optional)
Pickled Canned Beets
Yield: 3 pints (1pint=500ml jar)
20 small beets (whole, unpeeled)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 tsp whole cloves
1⁄2 tsp all spice
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp salt
- Prior to starting, make sure all jars are sterilized by bringing a large pot of water to boil and dipping in all jars, rings and lids. Only use new snap lids that have not been
previously used (you can reuse rings and jars, make sure to wash with hot soapy water first).
- Bring a large pot of water to boiling and cook beats until tender (do not overcook).
Remove and peel beets. Cut them into quarters and stuff jars.
- In a medium saucepan, combine all bring ingredients (water, sugar, vinegar, cloves, allspice, cinnamon & salt). Cover & bring to a boil over medium heat, then immediately reduce and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Pour brine over beets making sure the beets are all covered but leaving 1⁄2” space
between liquid and top of jar.
- Use a clean cloth and boiled water to wipe the rims of the jars and make sure they clean before putting lids and rings on. Do not over tighten
- Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes, remove and let cool. Can be stored up to 6 months. If lids don’t snap, those jars should go in the fridge and be eaten first.
- 3 lbs of cabbage
- Non-iodized salt
- Caraway (optional)
- Glass or ceramic jar for fermenting
- Cheese cloth/rubber band
Cutting board, bowl, knife and one litre jar (a wide mouth jar makes packing in the cabbage easier but isn’t essential!)
How to care for your Kraut!
It’s really simple! Leave the jar in an area which won’t fluctuate in temperate (ie: a pantry or garage) and allow to ferment for 3-10 days. You are the one in control! Taste periodically and when you find the flavour is where you want it (there is a nice, vinegar-like tang and the salt isn’t overpowering) transfer into the fridge and keep covered with the mason jar lid. The kraut will still ferment slowly, releasing more brine over time, getting even tastier as it ages in the fridge. Don’t ignore the brine- it is delicious in sauces, dressings or as a shot to help your digestive system.
If mould appears on your kraut, remove all signs of it immediately and make sure the cabbage is fully immersed under the brine. Your kraut is still fine to eat! There are all sorts of ways to enjoy your kraut- on crackers with hummus, in salad, on tacos, in sandwiches, baked potatoes and with grilled meats.
When you are ready to make your next batch, simply follow the ratio of 1.5 tablespoons of salt to 3 pounds of veg. That’s to say, if you want to scale up, 6 pounds of cabbage will take 5 tablespoons of salt, etc. Use pure sea salt- NOT iodized kitchen salt as it will inhibit fermentation. Experiment with different seasonings, like ginger, spicy peppers (fresh- not pickled as vinegar will inhibit fermentation) or herbs (remember dried herbs are much stronger than fresh – you can always add more, but can’t take out!) You can also try adding other vegetables to the cabbage such as garlic, carrots or onions- yum!
You want to give the lactic bacteria the best chance it has, so make sure your vessel is freshly washed and so are your hands and produce. It’s not necessary to use bleach.
Glass and ceramic jars, pots or crocks are best to ferment in. If using stainless steel, be aware of what grade it is- look for 316-grade if you want to use this method. Do not use anything with aluminum, copper or brass in it. These metals will corrode and leach into your ferments, yuck! Plastic is the least preferred material to ferment in as even something deemed “food safe” has still been known to leach toxins. Plastic also absorbs smells and stains.
Enjoy this fun way of bringing science, tradition and cuisine together in your kitchen! A great reference is Sandor Katz’s book “Wild Fermentation” for more information on other ferments you can make at home. Remember… when in doubt, Google will know!