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Put ‘Em Up at Whallonsburg Grange Harvest Parties

A few years ago, flush with the success of my first vegetable garden, I tried pickling for the first time. It was a disaster: it took ages to get the giant pot of water to heat up on my 1962 electric stove. What should have taken a few hours took an entire day. And when I finally popped open the jars a few months later, everything I had made was disappointingly—and inedibly—mushy.

Determined to try again, last weekend I took a canning and pickling workshop at the Whallonsburg Grange led by Jori Wekin, who uses the certified commercial kitchen there to create her Dak & Dill line of foods. I haven’t tasted the results yet, but it was a whole lot easier, and more fun, to work in a well-equipped kitchen with some guidance and in the company of other local gardeners.

The workshop was part of an ongoing series of events this summer and fall highlighting the community kitchen, which is available to rent for small-scale food processors or other members of the community. The series is supported by a grant from the Essex Community Fund; each session is $5 per person.

On August 8, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., local beekeeper and gardener Tim McGarry will lead a seed-saving roundtable for all ages and skill levels.

Then, on August 22, September 5 and September 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the kitchen will be open to the community for harvest parties. Bring your own garden or CSA bounty to be canned, pickled, fermented or flash-frozen. Then be sure to come back on October 3, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, for a free recipe swap party that will include tastings of the best jams, pickles and salsas of the season.

If you’d rather go it alone, check out veteran pickler Elizabeth Folwell’s “Self Preservation,” from our 2011 At Home in the Adirondacks issue.

 

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