I think I can can, I think I can can … but why bother?
The most popular reason for canning food at home, mentioned by half the people polled by Ball and Kerr, is that it simply tastes better than store-bought products.
Sheer enjoyment was the second most-cited motivation (37 percent), followed by cost-effectiveness (26 percent) and the ability to control sugar, salt and preservatives (22 percent).
New canners - those who’ve been at it less than five years - are more likely to can for the fun of it (44 percent). Must be a guy thing; 16 percent of new canners are men, compared to 9 percent of veterans.
What are people putting up? Vegetables lead the list (29 percent), along with jellies and jams (24 percent), fruits and tomato-based sauces (12 percent each) and pickles (11 percent).
And in the spirit of sharing, 20 percent of canned goods are given away as gifts.
Figure you’ve made enough jam and jelly over the years to feed an army of fruit fans?
Fifty of the country’s top jam and jelly makers will be inducted into the new Sure-Jell Hall of Fame. Each will receive $50, a certificate and a souvenir apron and canning lids; one will be selected in a drawing for a trip to the 1998 Florida State Fair.
Entrants must write an essay of 250 words or less describing their lifetime achievements in jam and jelly making, participation in fair contests and education of future canners.
Entry deadline is Sept. 30. For complete rules, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Sure-Jell Hall of Fame, c/o Hunter & Associates, 41 Madison Ave., Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10010-2202.
Salsa lake city
If salsa is more your style, the Sweet and Savory Salsa Extravaganza will be staged Sept. 6 as part of the annual Fiery Foods Festival at the Pasco Farmers Market.
The contest is open to all salsas, sweet or spicy. Top prize is $500. Entry deadline is Aug. 29; for more information and an entry form, call (509) 735-6722.
And if you’re more partial to legumes, there’s the ninth annual National Lentil Festival on Saturday in Pullman.
The day begins at 8 a.m. with a fun run and a lentil pancake breakfast, followed by a parade at 11 and public judging of recipe creations from the Lentil Cook-Off. A lentil food court, featuring everything from gyros to teriyaki wraps to ice cream, will be offered throughout the day, along with activities for adults and kids.
For more information, call (509) 334-3565 or (800) 365-6948.
, DataTimes MEMO: We’re always looking for fresh food news. Write to: The Fresh Sheet, Features Department, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Call 459-5446; fax 459-5098.
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