Pacific Palate: Don Genova

Save the harvest for winter: Inheriting the canning gene from my mother

Pacific Palate by Don Genova

Pacific Palate by Don Genova

Two pots burbling away on my mom’s electric stove, casting a sweet but slightly acidic aroma around the kitchen.

Chunks of ripe tomatoes from our garden, simmering with onions, celery and seasonings, slowly cooking to tenderness in one pot. In the other, the juice squeezed from a previous pot reducing to a thick, savoury liquid. When that second pot had reduced enough to satisfy my mother’s critical eye and tastebuds, I got the call.

Potholders carefully arranged on the handles, I would grab the hot, heavy pot and, hopefully without spilling a precious drop, take it down to the basement. There, her second stove was keeping old 26-ounce pop bottles warm and sterilized. She gingerly poured the hot juice into the bottles, and then I would firmly press the caps on the bottles using her ancient bottle capper. After they cooled, into our root cellar they went, the base for all of her tomato sauces over the winter.

I inherited my ‘canning gene’ from my mom, and this time of year can be the busiest for canners and preservers with late summer harvests of tomatoes, peppers and beans then later season fruits like apples and pears on the horizon.

Sales of canning equipment and books about preserving have been booming over the past few years as more people rediscover ways to eat locally-produced foods year round. But canning isn’t for everyone. That’s why you’ll find David Mincey, formerly the chef and owner of Camille’s, at four or five Victoria-area farmer’s markets every week with his Circle Canning company.

David helped create the direct farm-to-restaurant movement in Victoria. When he had leftover fruits and veggies from a day’s sales, he started canning them and selling them at the market he created in Bastion Square. David and his wife Paige create about 50 different products over the course of a year, purchasing and preserving everything they can get their hands on from local farmers, so that you don’t have to do the work. Even my mom would be

proud.

Don Genova is a Vancouver Island-based award-winning freelance journalist specializing in food and travel. Find him online at dongenova.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Ballet Victoria is honouring Rosemarie Liscum, the president of the board of directors who was instrumental in the building the dance company. Liscum died earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Ballet Victoria)
Rosemarie Liscum remembered as dedicated, instrumental builder of Victoria Ballet

The president of the ballet company’s board of directors died at the age of 59

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

A writer studying in England drew from her roots growing up in Sooke for a story that’s been short-listed for a prestigious international prize.
Former Sooke resident up for prestigious writing award

Cara Marks earns nomination for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Three Legged Dog Productions performed Jesus Christ Superstar in 2019. Tim Penney photo
Non-profit plans musical renaissance in the Comox Valley

Three Legged Dog Productions is preparing for a summer residency at Filberg Park

Tori Djakovic and Ava Hornby with their painting Winter Crystal Victorian Lace, a part of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Glass Box Story project. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Youths and seniors collaborate on Nanaimo Art Gallery public art project

‘Glass Box Story’ painted panels and text to be installed across street from gallery

View Gallery curator Chai Duncan admires the work of graduating visual art student Hailin Zhang, one of the artists in the upcoming End Marks grad show. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU visual art grad show presented as virtual gallery tour due to COVID-19

‘End Marks’ exhibition is on display from April 29 to May 30

Most Read