October 31, 2011



Last weekend I had my friends Jenifer & Leslie over for a Canning Party! It was a LOT of fun and a LOT of work. Oof! I hadn’t felt that exhausted since the weekend at the HomefriesU retreat.  I took some pictures on my cellphone throughout the day so you could see what we were up to…

Where do we begin? Flowers!

Having company over is the PERFECT excuse to buy flowers. It always adds a nice little element to the day.

Leslie also brought me a bunch of the most amazing tulips. Thank you, Les!

I took inventory of my jars to be sterilized… Pears for Pear Butter? Check!

I prepared some nibbles for the occasion.  Food is a highly important element to canning.

I made mixed nuts the night before and tried the new fig jam from Trader Joe’s (excellent!).

I also put out some arugula and a sourdough baguette. Scrumptious.

This was our TO DO LIST.

First step. Sterilizing. There’s something so therapeutic about boiling jars & lids. I like doing this, but I’m not good at lifting them out of the boiling water. Boiling water & Tracy don’t mix. Maybe I’ll master it one day…

Before Leslie & Jenifer got to my house I whipped up a batch of Cardamom Pear Butter.


When they arrived, Leslie got cracking on the sterilization process. There were a ton of jars to process.

Here’s my friend Jenifer! She’s hard at work. She’s also super vigilant about keeping things clean. Love that!

Jenifer had tomato duty! Get a load of those tomatoes. Insane, right??

After all the tomatoes were washed, Jen scored the bottom of each one.

The tomatoes went into boiling water, an ice bath, and then we peeled off the skins.

Jen whipped up some lemon juice for the tomatoes. They need acid! The dill was for the beans.

We’ll get to that soon!

Tada! Tomatoes are ready to get processed.

Jenifer brought her pressure canner.  It felt like Breaking Bad up in my kitchen!

Here’s a little action shot. Consultation in progress! Leslie & Jen discuss sterilization.

And then onto the dilly beans…

Leslie made up her own concoction.

Fresh dill, hot pepper, juniper berries, lemon slices, garlic, mustard seeds, peppercorns with a salt & vinegar brine.

We added a pinch of sugar into the pickling liquid just for balance.

Pickling in process. Tada! Dilly Beans. Then they went into boiling water for processing.

I made a jar of my own but they were refrigerator dilly beans. They’re SUPER good.

In a little corner of my kitchen I made a batch of vanilla extract… It’s living in my pantry right now.

I can’t wait to crack into it!

After over 5 hours of work, this is what I came away with. You should see the Jen & Leslie’s loot. Goodness!

I can‘t wait to do it again!

  • Katrina

    Soooo fun! You came up with some crazy-fun things!!

  • loulou @ loulou downtown

    Nice that you made a party of it! Those Dilly Beans sound amazing.

  • cindy

    that pressure canner is crazy, serious! being the crazy person I am, I canned jam as favors for my wedding and still haven’t recovered, next time I get the nerve to do it again…I’ll have a party. canning with friends is a good idea. smart cookie!

  • Tori

    The pear cardamom butter sounds delicious! Are you putting up a recipe?

  • jenifer

    yay! it’s such exhausting work, it should always be done with delicious snacks & good friends 🙂 xxxooo

  • Nicole

    AH! This look so fun! Love your pictures, girly!

  • Kelsey

    Fun! Do you have a canning recipe/how-to book that you use?

  • Amanda

    fun! loved the pictures of the whole process… I have never canned but all of the women in my family were canning goddesses when I was little… home canned peaches in the middle of winter up in Canada. I die. Also, my Mom cans (and loves) canned watermelon… ever had? Im not a big fan but my family is nutty over the stuff. I went to this french restaurant in Vancouver this summer called The Twisted Fork and they can all of their own stuff and incorporate canned foods into all o their meals- it was truly incredible… all of their stuff was displayed in the restaurant on big shelves- gorgeous.

  • Nats

    Awesome! I want to get into canning so bad! I had your recommended nacho party a few weeks ago, such a success due to the AMAZING nachos! Thanks!!!

  • leslie

    An awesome day, with awesome girls and oh my goodness the beans are so damn good!!! Thanks for having us lovely 🙂

  • Lifestyle Bandit

    Canning and preserving is hard work! I would do 5 hr marathons with Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders. Lovely book, y’all should check it out. Can’t bet flavor pairings like bourbon meyer lemon marmalade!

  • Amanda

    I have that book on my nightstand 🙂 I dream of her jams… mmmmmm.

  • Kate M.

    ooooh man!!! I miss canning so much! Can’t wait to have my own canning parties after moving back from Japan. Your photos are great. 🙂

  • Kasey

    Looks so fun! I want to have a canning party! Or just go to one…

  • Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

    Wow – what a fun idea for a get-together! The green beans look fabulous. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere you can sterilize jars by putting them in the oven, but you’d have to google the details… if so, it might be easier than the simmering pot business.

  • marci

    looks like such a blast! I did my one and only canning experiment last Thanksgiving with some cranberry relish. I borrowed a friend’s canning pot – the boil ‘n’ seal kind. Your contraption looks more professional and easier (?) to use. That pear butter looks out of this world. I definitely felt “connected” to my late grandmother when I canned. She used to can all sorts of stuff from her garden. I loved being reminded of her. 🙂 thanks, as always, for your lovely posts!!! xoxo

    • Tracy

      that pressure canner scared the beejezus out of me! I liked doing the water canning- but next time I’m going to try the oven method. It totally does make you feel connected to your ancestry!

  • laura k

    I made dilly beans last summer and I looooved them. Are beans still available around these parts? I’m still not sure what the seasonal produce availability is like around the Bay Area. I think I have to buy another canning pot, too, because I gave mine away when I moved. Canning can be super exhausting, but there is almost nothing better than cracking into a jar of something you put away yourself. It makes me feel so self-sufficient or something!

  • Dottie

    Holy crap! That is a genius idea! Get friends together to help can! And you can do bigger and more batches. They all look sooo tasty too!

    Thanks for the inspiration (again)…

  • Courtney

    Aw, this post brings back such a great memory of making canned peaches with my Grandma during a hot, Virginian summer in the country. I want to can again! Pear butter sounds fabulous

  • Shana

    A canning swap party is a nice way to try other people’s preserves and get a selection – we’ve had a few here in Toronto and it was also a nice way to meet people offline: http://wellpreserved.ca/2011/02/17/more-info-on-the-preserve-swap-at-the-avro-leslieville-toronto/

    Will you be posting the recipe for dilly beans soon? My mom bought a jar when we last visited and I ate almost the whole thing – I need to make some clearly.

    I fell in love with Trader Joe’s when I was in California last year – I DREAM of us getting a Canadian location but until we do I have been making fig preserves. It’s super easy and a nice gift to give people at the holidays – this year I made 24 small 125ml (not sure what that is in imperial?! But they are tiny – perfect size to put out on a cheese plate). I also use the fig jam to make a pizza with prosciutto and arugula that I saw on Pioneer Woman – it’s amazing! http://www.folksgottaeat.com/2011/09/fig-preserves-redux.shtml

  • Lisa

    Hi! I just found your website today . . . yum! I’ve been coming back to it all day to read more and more, and I found this post which brought back lots of memories. The pear butter doesn’t appeal to me at all, but THOSE TOMATOES!!! One of my top five favorite foods is home-canned tomatoes! I remember pooring boiling water over sinks full of tomatoes, skinning them, and putting up dozens of jars of tomatoes and tomato juice on the pantry shelves during my childhood, and always worrying if they would last until the next summer when we could have fresh tomatoes again (we didn’t eat “winter tomatoes” from stores back then). I’m curious, though, why did you add the lemon juice? Thanks for a reminder of these good memories.

  • Elina (Healthy and Sane)

    So cool! I’ve had canning on my to-do list forever. Have all the “equipment” and all but I’m still scared. I need someone to come over my place and show me the ropes 🙂

    • Tracy

      Safety in numbers! I had all the equipment lying around for like 9 months and FINALLY got around to doing it. I invited people over and it was sealed! DO IT!!!

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    […] 303/365 Pickled green beans from the Canning Party! […]

  • Cardamom Pear Butter › shutterbean

    […] refer to me as Tracy Shutterbean I'd be like, "Whaaat?" If you told me I'd learn how to can, have a canning party and make Cardamom Pear Butter I would have responded, "Schyeah […]

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