Lyn Deardorff didn’t start canning until she got engaged and met her canning-obsessed, future mother-in-law. Flash forward 40 years, and today she’s one of the South’s resident canning experts, teaching classes as Preserving Now at Piedmont Park, Serenbe, and the Nashville Farmers Market.
When Deardorff first started teaching five years ago, students were often interested in eating local produce year round but were also too intimidated to get started with preservation. What with all the fancy equipment and fear of botulism (a bacteria-based type of food poisoning), Deardorff says her first goal is to show students that they are able to can in their own kitchens with tools they already own, sometimes in under 30 minutes.
“The more I teach it, the more I realize how useful, versatile, and functional canning is,” she says. “It’s the only way to hold onto seasonal produce.”
What does she like to preserve? Deardorff sticks to canning seasonal produce in small batches and is armed with recipes with no or low sugar and high nutritional values. She recently pickled cherry tomatoes, which she’ll eventually spread on toast with goat cheese. You can get the recipe from Deardorff, plus another one for peach butter, at her class this Saturday, June 27, at Serenbe. Tomorrow she’ll be at Piedmont Park teaching about pickling pickles, tomato, and fruit. Classes range from $45 to $75.
Deardorff has one piece of advice for neophytes still afraid to make a water bath. “Get started. You’ll find it’s easy, tasty, and healthy, and it’s not as hard as you think.”