Canning Beets

Another food preservation workshop at the Garratt Wellness Center organized by the Richmond Food Security. This workshop is led by Chef Ian Lai.


For this workshop, we had baby beets from the Richmond Sharing Farm for canning. Ian Lai did warn us that eating beets will caused the urine to be reddish in color, so don’t be alarm.


  • beets
  • sugar
  • pickling spice
  • fennel seeds
  • pickling vinegar
  • water


Source: Ian Lai


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Canning Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Ratatouille

With the abundance harvest of zucchini, Ian made a Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Ratatouille. This is very similar to the Mixed Vegetables Relish he did in an earlier workshop. However, since there is lesser variation of vegetables, this can be cooked together instead of individually.


For this Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Ratatouille, Ian used various kinds of tomatoes, i.e. tomato sauce, sun dried tomato and fresh tomato.


Ian told us he uses the organic tomato sauce from Costco for pasta or cook it down for pizza topping.


Ian also used the above canned tomatoes for this recipe.



Ian’s recipe as above, plus chopped onions.


The zucchinis were huge. Just remember to remove the core as they are spongy.

Source: Ian Lai


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Canning Gooseberries in Lavender Syrup

I had came across gooseberries in a lot of Western dining. Gooseberries are often used to garnish dessert. I have never try to eat them before.


Ian encouraged us to try one if we have never eaten one before. They are really sweet and nice when they are ripened. The left over gooseberries seemed to disappear from the bowl as many cant stop munching it.

The gooseberries can be eaten with plain yogurt. As for the lavender syrup, you can add it to soda pop to have a lavender infused soda pop.


As usual, Ian did not provide the exact amount of ingredients for this recipe.


  • gooseberries
  • sugar
  • water
  • lavender


Source: Ian Lai


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Canning Tomatillo Salsa

This year, the Richmond Sharing Farm has a bounty harvest of tomatillo. Due to the unfamiliarity to the usage of tomatillo, the sales at the Steveston Farmers Artisans Market was not good. There were lots of tomatillo left for canning.


The Tomatillo Salsa made in the canning workshop will be used to make Fish Tacos at the Applepalloza event in Fall. The Applepalloza event will be held at the Orchard, south end of Gilbert Road, before the dyke in Richmond on October 3rd. It’s an apple tastings event with games in the orchard, salmon BBQ, music and more.


  • 5 1/2 cups chopped husked tomatillos (about 2 pounds or 27 medium size tomatillos
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped green chilies (about 2 medium)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 (8oz) half pint glass perserving jars with lids and bands

Quick tip: when cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned.


If tomatillo is not available, you can substitute it with green tomato.

Source: Karen Dar Woon

Yields 4 (8oz) half pint glass preserving jars


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Canning Mixed Vegetable Relish

Ian Lai conducted another food preservation workshop at the Garratt Wellness Center organised by the Richmond Food Security Society. For this workshop, Ian decided to make a Mixed Vegetable Relish from the glut of vegetables he got from the Richmond Sharing Farm.


The vegetables includes zucchini, squash, chard and carrot.


We managed to can 14 x 1 liter jars of the Mixed Vegetable Relish for the food bank. This Mixed Vegetable Relish can be used to make a vegetable lasagna or making it into a soup by adding stock and your favourite grain.


  • squash
  • zucchini
  • carrot
  • onion
  • tomato paste
  • can dice tomato
  • assorted chili pepper (Nanami Togarashi), a Japanese spice mix which is available from Fujiya Japanese store. Ian jokingly said that this is his favourite spice mix for 2010.


You may click on the image of the package to have a larger view.

Ian does not provide a specific measurement for this recipe. In fact, Ian told us that he cooks by feel and he is a not a strict recipe follower.

Source: Ian Lai

Yields 14 x 1 liter jars.


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Homemade Apple Pectin

Maria brought crabapples to make Homemade Apple Pectin in the Food Preservation Workshop. The crabapples were harvested from her neighbour’s backyard.


Crabapple is also known as wild apple. They are rarely eaten raw as they are extremely sour and woody in some species. Crabapples are an excellent source of pectin. If you do not have crabapple, you can still make pectin with tart apple skin and core, just that you must collect enough of them when you make lots of apple sauce in the fall.

It is best to make pectin from apple in the fall when they are freshest as the pectin content decreases over time.


  • 2 pounds of crabapples (or tart apples, about 7)
  • 4 cups (1 liter) water
  • 2 tablespoons (25ml) lemon juice


Source: Maria

Prep time: 1 hour;  Yield: 4 cups (1 liter)

One cup of apple pectin is good to make preserves for 3 pounds of fruit of low pectin like pear or cantaloupe.


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Spiced Golden Plum Jam

The Richmond Sharing Farm had some golden plums for the food preservation workshop. The plums were donated by people who has plum trees in their backyard. For those of you who like to donate your fruits to the sharing farm, give them a call and volunteers from the farm will be arranged to pick the fruits. You do not have to pick them yourself.  The Richmond Sharing Farm contacts can be found here:


Initially, Karen wanted to make pickled plums. However, when she saw the ripeness of the plum which is not suitable for pickled plums which require firmer plum, Karen switched to make Spiced Golden Plum Jam. Hence, the photo of the ingredients is not so accurate.


  • 1 cinnamon stick, about 10 cm or 4 inches, broken into pieces
  • 4 to 6 cardamon pods
  • 1.6 kg yellow plums, halved and pitted (about 3 1/2 lbs)
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) unsweetened apple juice, optional if the golden plum is very juicy
  • 1.65 litre (6 2/3 cups) granulated sugar
  • 1 pouch (85 ml/3 oz) liquid pectin


Maria brought up a concern on the liquid pectin which has sodium benzoate which when combine with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which naturally exists in fruits, will form benzene, a known carcinogen. However, Karen said the amount that is consumed via such preserved food is considered below the dangerous level. If you are concern, try to use those powder form or make your own pectin which I will cover next.

Source: this recipe is from Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving via Karen DW

Prep time: 30 minutes + preparation of jars and lids;  Yield about 7, 250ml (8oz) jars


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How to Can Pickled Beans

This was the third session of the Food Preservation workshop held by the Richmond Food Security Society. The instructor for this workshop is Chef Ian Lai from the Terra Nova Schoolyard Society, a community based project that teaches kids about organic gardening and food appreciation.


We had some freshly picked beans from the Terra Nova Sharing Farm. There were green, yellow and even some purple beans.


  • About 2 pounds of beans
  • 2 1/2 cups pure white vinegar or pickling vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • fennel seeds


The difference between the Pure White Vinegar and the Pickling Vinegar is that the pickling vinegar has a slightly higher acidity like 7% while the pure white vinegar is about 5%. Ian commented that he only used pure white vinegar for pickling or cleaning.


As a chef, Ian preferred Kocher salt which has a coarser texture where he can feel and see the salt.


Pickling spices can be purchased from the bulk sections of many groceries stores.


These fennel seeds are from the Terra Nova Sharing Farm too. They are used to flavour the pickled beans.

Source: Ian Lai

Yields 10 to 12 x 250ml jars or 5 to 6 x 500ml jars


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No Sugar Pectin Jam

The Richmond Food Security Society started a regular drop-in canning session every Tuesday night at the Garratt Wellness Center since 20th July 2010. The event is from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Participants can either preserved their own produce or help to preserve fruit and vegetables harvested from the Sharing Farm in Terra Nova for food bank and community meals.

These sessions are free and child care will be provided upon request. For more information, check out the Richmond Food Security Society website here.

These informal canning sessions allow participants to learn the canning techniques hands on. An instructor will also be on hand on certain dates to guide the participants. Hot water bath canners and jars will be provided for those participants who wish to can their own fruits. Just bring the ingredients like fruits, pectin, sugar, etc.

No Sugar Pectin Jam-19

I attended the second session of this wonderful drop in program this week. I’m so pleased to see Karen DW again who volunteered as the instructor. For this session, two participants brought their own fruits for canning; blueberries and apricot.

No Sugar Pectin Jam-3

Both of the participants used Bernadin No Sugar Needed Pectin to make the jam. This pectin do not require substantial quantities of sugar to gel.


  • 4 cups chopped or crushed fruits
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 package No Sugar Needed Pectin
  • Sweetener, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter (to reduce foaming, optional)

No Sugar Pectin Jam-1No Sugar Pectin Jam-8

Yield: 4 to 6 250ml jars


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Applesauce for Home Canning

Due to the great response to the home canning workshops organised by the Richmond Food Security Society, Arzeena and Karen decided to hold three more workshops on home canning.  This time, it’s home canning apple sauce as it’s the season for apple harvest.


The apples we used were donated by various sources which include groceries stores and people’s backyard who has planted apple trees.  You dont have to use perfect apples, just trim off the bruises.


  • 12 to 14 pounds apples, roughly chopped; peeled and cored if desired
  • 3 cups sugar (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice or 2 teaspoons citric acid, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamon and allspice for flavoring (optional)
  • 8 x 500 ml jars


Applesauce is a great snack especially for kids and babies.  It is also a good substitute for fat in baked goods.  Substitute half of the fat in baked goods for a reduced fat diet.  It is not advisable to substitute all the fat in baked goods as the result will be denser and chewier and not as tender as those baked with fat.  To use the applesauce to substitute for fat, the applesauce must be of a thicker consistency.

Applesauce can also be used as a savory glaze on poultry.  Season the applesauce with thyme or rosemary and salt.  Glaze on roast chicken about half way through the roasting time.

A thicken applesauce can also be used as a filling for cake like swiss roll or used as a spread for your toast.


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