Many gardeners enjoy the supply of vegetables and fruit during the harvest season. Some people do the canning in their own kitchen. Unfortunately, it can be boring at times. This is especially true when it becomes a routine. It is a smart idea to have a canning party instead. This will allow gardeners to share the bounteous harvest with friends and neighbors.
A canning or preservation party can be even better when it is well-organized and planned. Home canners who wish to host one of these parties should keep some things in mind.
They should be able to pick out the right recipes. The canning process can take a long time. They may need an hour or so for every recipe. This is why it is best to choose only about three recipes. It is important to prepare the ingredients exactly as stated in the recipe. This is mainly because altering the ingredient’s proportions and quantities may alter the taste of the end product.
The next thing to do is to gather the tools. The host may prepare the tools needed if he or she has all of them. Otherwise, they may assign guests to bring some. Doing so will make guests feel that their presence is essential. The host should make sure that all the basic tools are present. This includes lids, rings, jars, a stockpot for a water-bath canner, heavy-bottomed cooking pots, a grater, knives, spoons, measuring cups, funnels, jar grabbers, hot pads and clean towels. The host may not have any trouble preparing these supplies as many of them are common kitchen items.
It is also important that the canning party host gives out formal invitation cards or letters. The host should send these invitations to guests about three weeks prior to the day of the party. It is equally important to include the budget and type of food to be produced. Hosts may also include the ingredients and the supplies needed to be brought by each attendee. Including the three preferred recipes is also a great idea. Doing so will get guests more interested and eager to come. The recipes serve as a party preview or teaser.
The host will also be responsible for the snacks. They should provide something that guests can nibble on and sip while working. Fruit beverages always work well. They can be paired with meat, cheese and bread cut in bite-sized morsels. Snacks are important as guests need to feel revitalized when the canning process starts.
Hosts may use their own kitchens as the venue. They should be able to set it up so that all guests will have enough space for their work stations. There should be space for sanitizing the tools, preparing the ingredients, filling jars, sealing, boiling and cooling the food for canning. This place should be well-cleaned. Each guest should be assigned to one particular station with one recipe to work with at a time.
Hosts who do not have enough space in the kitchen may set up stations outdoors. Many canning party hosts find it more enjoyable to host the party outside. With this, they do not have to worry about the mess. Canning outdoors during the summer can be very comfortable. However, all attendees should make sure that they follow the same sanitation techniques when canning outside. Hosts should make sure that a garden hose and basin are ready for washing. They may use a propane burner as it is good enough to last for the entire canning process. However, it is always best to have some extra tanks available. Tables should be covered with plastic as they may need to be washed frequently.
Hosts should also prepare art materials for the labeling. They should have printed labels, decorative ribbons, pens and fabrics available. Guests can use them in making personalized labels when the jars cool down. Doing so makes labeling more fun and exciting as guests can create different designs for their own labels.