The sales of mason jars have risen 31 percent over the past few years, and we like to think it’s because of our nation’s growing love for canning and preserving foods. As the summer winds down and many produce varieties are at their peak, now is a better time than ever to get into the canning spirit.
Helping to kick off the third annual National Can-It-Forward Day on Saturday, Aug. 17, Food Network host and James Beard Award-winning chef Ted Allen will be celebrating the day at New York City’s Union Square Greenmarket, where he’ll be joining other aficionados in the canning industry in highlighting the benefits of canning and preserving.
For Allen, the event is demonstrative of the "green thumb" trends that are becoming more apparent in our culture these days.
"Preserving real food, food that you grew yourself — there’s nothing better than that, so I’d jump at the chance [to be involved with something like this]," Allen told The Daily Meal.
Canning is just the frontier of homemade food trends, Allen tells us, as more and more people are growing their own food and making these beautiful and artisanal products with it. During the event, Allen will be demonstrating how to use an ordinary water bath to can tomatoes, and then he’ll fast-forward through time, say, to January, and show the crowd how to use those preserved tomatoes in a rustic tomato gravy sauce.
Why tomatoes? They’re the best example of why canning should become your new hobby, Allen told us, because they’re perfect when they’re homegrown and in season and the most essential to preserve.
"You can’t get a good tomato unless you grow it yourself," Allen says, and you better preserve them when you do.
Anne Dolce is the Cook editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce