Monday, October 24, 2011

Changing Hats

I'm so lucky that once a year the foods teacher at our school allows me to come in and teach the kids about home canning. I just love it. The foods teacher was kind enough to be the best sous chef there could possibly ever be and she had absolutely everything chopped, measured and ready to go the class before we needed it.
You can see on the counter I also brought a sweet potato, peppers and the dried (desicated - vocab word for this week) tomatoes and basil. Poor woman took several pictures throughout the day, but even said herself that she couldn't get one of me without my mouth running.

I always bring things for the kids to try. Usually, each class gets to try two different things from jams and jellies to pickles. They're always very appreciative and are surprised at how flavorful things are. One kid said he was never buying store grape jelly again and several each period asked if they could buy cans. When I told them I couldn't sell them, they asked for them as Christmas presents.

We try to stick to the crowd favorites as we can. We like to do grape jelly, banana jam, and apple conserve. Last year we also did pickles and salsa. Each year we try to do something new. Last year it was onion jelly. I thought it was gross; she loved it. This year we tried roasted garlic jelly. This is where she was a life saver. She started roasting the garlic, steeping it and draining it while I was doing the easier batches of grape jelly and banana jam in the morning. By the time we were ready to do the garlic jelly in the afternoon, everything was ready to go. She's amazing.

We tried some of the garlic jelly that we had left over and it was really rather good. I can picture it would be great on a bagel with swiss cheese. I pour the apple conserve over brie and serve it with graham crackers. Does anyone know a good soft cheese that would be good with the roast garlic jelly? I'm looking for something I can just pour it over and people can scoop out some for crackers.

Here are some of the cans when we were done. There's not a picture here of the garlic jelly since we did that last. It's a beautiful light amber color.

It's always fun to take a break from literature and put on a different hat. That.....and I got to add great things to my lecture about the Botulism Broad (had to make it alliterative somehow) from the festival a few weeks ago.

Still...talking about her makes me want pumpkin butter all the more. I may make some and freeze it. I hear it holds up pretty well. Any good recipies out there?

The morning comes early, and my cupboard is full. Sweet gardening dreams.


  1. How fun!
    And the sad part is I have never gotten around to learning how to can. I need a kick in the rear. Every year I SWEAR I will try it....and then I chicken out. Sigh.
    Is there ANY hope for me???

  2. It's so easy, Sue! Just jump in.

  3. I'm with Sue. I even went and bought some of the supplies this Spring and then.... did nothing with them. :-) But they sure are pretty! Pumpkin butter is RIGHT UP MY ALLEY - ALl I can think of right now too. *drool* :-P

  4. That is awesome that you got to teach that. I think some of these "old" basics have been lost and you are passing them on.

  5. I always put garlic jelly over plain old Philadelphia Cream Cheese. But if you want to get fancy use fresh Goat cheese (Chevre).