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Learn how to can fruits and veggies with Langley Meals on Wheels

Four canning sessions offered until end of November
Karen Long with Langley Meals on Wheels (left) and Amanda Smith with LEPS (right) will show community members how to can fruits and vegetables in upcoming workshops in Aldergrove. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Learn how to can fruits and veggies into jams, sauces, and butters for the holiday season with Langley Meals on Wheels and Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS).

Under its Spoons on Fire program, meals on wheels is hosting four workshops until the end of November to teach interested community members how to can their produce.

“Langley Meals on Wheels delivers more than just food. We also deliver service and programs in the community to help ensure all will be fed, connected, and supported,” said executive director Shannon Woykin.

Fruit and vegetables are collected from Langley residents’ trees who have registered it through the community harvest program at LEPS.

When fruit is ripe, LEPS staff organize volunteers to harvest it, and the fruit is shared between the tree donors, volunteers, and local food banks. Berry bushes, vegetable plants, and commercial farms are also invited to register their crops as part of the program.

“We were very successful with our fruit picks through our community harvest program, so we are very thankful to Langley residents for calling us with their trees,” said Amanda Smith, agriculture program coordinator at LEPS.

Harvested fruit and vegetables were dropped off at meals on wheels, ranging in apples, pears, plums, beets, and other varieties of produce.

“We’ve made sweet pickle relish, brown sauce (similar to HP sauce), we’ve pickled asparagus and beets… this is something that we talk about doing canning sessions with LEPS all year, so four dates were chosen,” said Karen Long, coordinator for the Spoons on Fire program at Langley Meals on Wheels.

Harvested food is put in the freezer to be thawed when ready to use after the summer months. Fruits and vegetables are then put into a pot, where they are cooked down before going through a strainer to remove the seeds and skins. With the raw product left of the fruit or vegetable flesh, where sugar, pectin, and any chosen spices can be added.

The product is then safely stored into a can for use, which will last three to six months.

“We have to adhere to canning safety standards, making sure the seal is on and that it is in the can long enough to have [proper] oxygen exchange and release,” Smith explained.

She added that food harvested not edible for humans is given to local farms and animal rescue shelters for their animals.

“We would like to redistribute food that cannot be used by the primary owner. Being part of a community, and the community harvest, is about circulating the food that can either be processed or for fresh eating as much as possible,” Smith concluded.

Pear jam, plum barbecue sauce, and apple spiced butter will be taught at the canning sessions.

Long said extra will be canned of the apple spiced butter to give out to clients of Langley Meals on Wheels for Christmas.

There are eight spots open for each session, and are available by a first-come, first-serve basis.

People interested in attending a session can email to register.

Each session will be at the Aldergrove office, located at 2900 272nd St.

Dates are:

  • Monday, Oct. 30, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. – pear jam
  • Monday, Nov. 6, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. – plum barbecue sauce
  • Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. – apple spiced butter
  • Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. – apple spiced butter

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Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm excited to start my journalism career in Langley and meet our community.
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