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Cannery keeps county cooking

Home canners from all across the area were up and at ‘em at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, June 26, to transform garden-grown veggies into delicious, long-lasting meals at the Prince Edward County Cannery.

Although residents come to the cannery to cook and can a variety of foods, from fruit to stews, Saturday’s theme was fresh vegetables. The Dodd family from Charlotte and the Christian family of Lynchburg were both spending the morning canning different types of home-grown green beans, while Cumberland resident Irvine Holman was spicing things up by canning freshly sliced squash with green peppers and jalapenos.

On-site to help the home canners Saturday were Cannery Manager Patty Gulick and Assistant Manager Rodney Scott.

At the cannery, which opened for the 2021 season June 2, canners are encouraged to come in with as much prep work done beforehand, although customers are welcome to cut and wash their produce on-site.

After the prepwork, canners use a pre-assigned, steam-jacketed kettle to cook their product to a predetermined temperature. After selecting what cans they’d like to use, customers then add their food to the cans, and a cannery employee seals the lid using a device called a seamer.

The cans are cooked again in a large pressure cooker, or retort, before getting a nice water bath to cool down. Once the cans reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, they’re dried off and can be taken home.

The cannery is currently open to home canners every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday by appointment only. Commercial canning is performed at the facility each Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.