Canning Produce to Save the Season

Can summer’s sun-ripened peaches and tomatoes today, and you’ll eat well—and local—year-round

From now until mid-September, two of the season’s most-awaited fruits, locally grown peaches and tomatoes, will be at their peak. Can a few jars over the next few weeks, and you’ll be able to enjoy their sweet summer taste and nutritional benefits long after the first school bus hits the streets. “Canning has become increasingly popular in the Philadelphia area over the past few years, because people want to know what they’re putting in their bodies,” says Marisa McClellan, local canning-ista and author of the award-winning blog “You have total control over what goes into that jar, so you can keep the amount of sugar and salt firmly in check.”

What’s more, canning local produce in reusable glass jars minimizes your carbon footprint and reduces your exposure to cancer-causing BPA, which often lines store-bought cans. The best part: Fruits and vegetables captured at the peak of their season taste so much better than anything you’ll find on a shelf. “They taste like sunshine,” says McClellan, who plans to preserve 25 pounds of peaches and 100 pounds of tomatoes this season, which she’ll pick up from South Street’s Pumpkin Market and Rittenhouse Square’s Farmers’ Market. Come winter, the tomatoes will find their way into soups, sauces and salsas, and the peaches will grace cakes, cobblers and sides of cottage cheese. “There’s a deep satisfaction that comes from taking raw ingredients and turning them into something that lasts,” says McClellan. “I always look forward to seeing a new row of jars on my countertop.”

Where to Can
These local classes teach everything you need to know about canning at home.

Food in Jars: Marisa McClellan
When: Saturdays from August 13th through September 10th from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where: Indy Hall, 20 N. 3rd Street, 2nd floor, Philadelphia, PA.
Cost: $45 (cash or check collected at time of class). You’ll receive a print-out of the recipe and a small jar of what will be made: cucumber-dill pickles (August 13th) or spicy-tomato chutney (September 10th)
Contact: Email to sign up.
*McClellan will also offer free, open-to-the-public classes at Linvilla Orchirds on August 6th for the Peach Festival and September 24th and 25th for the Apple Festival.

Sur La Table, Marlton
When: Saturday, August 27th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: The Promenade, 500 Route 73 South, Marlton, NJ.
Cost: $69. You’ll make four recipes: spicy-tomato ketchup, blackberry jam, watermelon-rind pickles, and pickled roasted peppers.
Contact: Call 856-797-6572 or email to register.

Sur La Table, King of Prussia
When: Saturday, August 27th and Tuesday, August 30th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 690 West DeKalb Pike, King Of Prussia.
Cost: $69. You’ll make four recipes: dill-and-garlic pickles, ginger-blueberry jam, preserved lemons with red chile, and apricot-amaretto jam.
Contact: Call 484-612-0046 or email to register.