September 2009

tomato CanningSeptember saw two tomato canning workshops with Preserving Traditions: one at our original Ann Arbor / Pittsfield Grange location, and the first-ever event at our West Bloomfield / Westacres location! Here are the reports…

Sept. 13, at the Grange

Over a dozen canners turned out to learn the basics of water-bath canning, converting many pounds of tomatoes into sixteen quarts of canned chopped tomatoes. In a rarely-seen event, the tomatoes chopped exactly filled the jars available, which exactly filled the two canning kettles we had on the stove! Y’all have been warned, it never works out that perfectly at home. ūüôā

The next Ann Arbor event will be Apple Turnovers on October 11th.

Sept. 20, Westacres

cannersThe Preserving Traditions-West Bloomfield Tomato Canning event was a hoot!¬†¬†We ended up with 4 enthusiastic canners from 4 different experience levels.¬†¬†One participant was fairly proficient at canning, one was an “ex-canner”, another had only made jam and the last was completely new to the whole canning experience.¬†¬†The approach was very laid back with much support and input by all attendees,complete¬†¬†with active discussions!¬†¬†One conversation revolved around why our mothers learned to can from *their* mothers, but didn’t pass that knowledge to us.¬†¬†Why was that?¬†¬†Was it because of too many memories laboring over a hot stove in a summer kitchen that lacked air conditioning?¬†¬†Were our mothers the result of the convenience food era, that canning was considered “backward” or unsophisicated?¬†¬†Our “ex-canner” spoke on behalf of our mothers, and confirmed that these reasons could have very well lead to the broken link between generations.¬†¬†However, with use of the commercial kitchen at the Westacres clubhouse we had lots of room in which to work, a relativity cool kitchen that didn’t need the aid of air conditioning and best of all great company that made the task all the more enjoyable!

Our October 18th event will involve making no-knead bread and saurkraut.¬†¬†Won’t you join us?

pantry staplesI’m doing my first workshop on stocking a pantry to live out of! This workshop aims to appeal to a variety of folks: those who want to save money, those who want quick meal prep, and those who think the economy is going to collapse but aren’t quite ready to join a peak oil group or move to a commune. Here’s the announcement:

Oct 10: Stocking your Pantry

Join us at 10 AM on Saturday Oct 10 at St. Paul’s Church Elementary School (495 Earhart Rd., Ann Arbor) when Emily Springfield, a member and organizer of Ann Arbor’s Preserving Traditions club (, will present a workshop on Pantry Staples. Having easily-stored staples on hand will make meal preps easy, and Emily will even share some simple recipes to which you need only add vegetables or meat. In addition, Emily will share tips on basics to have on hand in case of emergency (think blizzard or tight funds), items you could buy in bulk or on sale to stockpile.

Cost is only $5 and includes the workshop and munchies. We promise to let you go by noon. Please RSVP to Ruth Zielke 994 3718 ( Bring your friends. Ask that nice woman who sits in front of you every Sunday if she will join you. There will be time for sharing tips and stories, too. It will be great to be together. There is no home game, so you won’t even have to worry about traffic! Treat yourself to great fellowship!

Hi, folks! Nice to have you here at the site. Canning is definitely making a comeback, as you can tell by all the buzz around Ann Arbor and across the US. Glad you’re a part of it!

cannersYou might be especially interested in the following:

  • Our calendar of events – through Google Calendar, so you can subscribe and have it display next to your own Google Calendar
  • Our “store” on Cafe Press, where you can buy “Yes. We Can.” logo items. You can also get aprons with the logo at Downtown Home and Garden – canning equipment headquarters of Ann Arbor

tomato CanningThis will be an introductory canning workshop, perfect for folks who’ve never canned before or who are looking for a refresher. We’ll discuss different canning methods, food safety, and equipment, then jump right in and can some fresh tomatoes.

Bring 2 dry quarts of tomatoes and either one quart or two pint-sized canning jars with lids and rings. (The rings can be used, so long as they aren’t rusty, but the lid must be brand-new.) You might also bring an extra jar or two, just in case we have extra tomatoes.

RSVP here!

Pittsfield Grange
3337 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., Ann Arbor
Sept. 13th, 2-5 pm
Suggested donation $5; free for members of the Grange.

Have you taken photos at a Preserving Traditions event? Care to share them with the group? Or would you just like to see some of the photos that have been taken at events? Take a look at our new photo group on Flickr!

Legions of jars

If you have a Flickr account (free or paid), you can search for the group “Preserving Traditions” and join it. Then go to the group pool page at and click “Add Photos or Video.” You’ll be able to pick up to six images at a time from your own photo stream to show up in the PT Group. (Feel free to add as many as you like.) You will be credited as the author and can keep whatever copyright you like to your own photos. PT won’t “own” your photos in any way; it’s just a way of tagging event photos to all show up in one place.

All together now...
“All Together Now…” – photo by Dan

The final tally on Sunday’s salsa canning extravaganza was 52 pints of salsa! We started with somewhere around 70 pounds of tomatoes (from our gardens and Tantre Farm), 5 pounds of onions, numerous peppers, a fat bunch of cilantro, and other miscellaneous ingredients and ended up with three different batches of salsa. It tasted fabulous on some Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory chips.

Even better was the conversation throughout the 5-hour session. Farm schools, the changing nature of fraternal organizations, the challenges of getting edible gardens into parks (the neighbors think vegetables look “weedy”), and more. And we even had an event photographer – see photos from this event and others (and add your own) on the new Preserving Traditions Flickr Group!

And did I mention the mid-session yoga break upstairs on the dance floor?

For those wanting to recreate this salsa – the recipe was:

  • 7 quarts of diced, seeded tomatoes (about 10 pounds)
  • 4.5 cups of diced, seeded peppers (a combination of sweet and hot to your taste; try 1/2 c. jalapenos to start)
  • 5 cups of diced onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups bottled lemon or lime juice
  • 2 Tbl salt
  • 2 Tbl ground cumin
  • 2 Tbl ground dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients except the cumin, oregano, and cilantro. Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add herbs and spices and simmer another 20 minutes or until it’s cooked down to your desired thickness. Ladle into jars and process 15 minutes in a water-bath canner.

Next event is Sept. 13th, when we’ll be doing another intro to canning workshop with tomatoes. Details coming soon!