Community Canning Kitchens

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Home preservation of garden produce (including making pickles, relishes, chutneys, etc.) is experiencing a revival. It involves work, but it also provides much value. Home preservation in the year 2000 isn't what it was in the year 1900. There is more than one way to reduce the work and increase the value.

A Community Canning Kitchen is a facility set up to produce (typically) several hundred quarts a day of properly and safely processed produce, soups, relishes, pickles, meats, stews, and etc. A Community Canning Kitchen also provides a Health Department approved facility where microenterprises can prepare food products for retail sale to the public, so it is an important and productive economic development asset. It creates jobs and wealth at the economic grassroots, in the household economy. The investment to build such a kitchen ranges from $20,000 to as much as $100,000, depending on how much daily volume is desired, and whether or not an existing steam boiler is available. Many Community Canning Kitchens have been built by church groups as a service to their community. Oklahoma City, however, lacks such facilities. Canning is easier in a group, and many community canning kitchens organize processing days where people can get together and make short work of putting up the quarts and pints.

Informal canning kitchens are sometimes set up in parish and school kitchens. These cost much less, this is primarily a matter of spending several hundred dollars for the large size canning kettles (boiling water and pressure) for use on a commercial range, and maybe a steamer and juicer.

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