Small bites: Canning made easy

YOU CAN DO IT: "It’s a very low-cost activity to get into canning,” says author and homesteader Nan Chase. She will lead a class on the canning process at Living Web Farms. Photo courtesy of Nan Chase

A handful of assumptions and concerns is often associated with canning. For some, it seems old-fashioned; for others, far too complicated. And then, of course, there’s always that lingering fear of botulism and its deadly consequence.

Gardener, homesteader and author Nan Chase wants to dispel some of the myths about canning. For example, when it comes to high-acid fruits canned with the water-bath approach, botulism isn’t really a concern. “It just physically can’t happen,” she says.

And Chase would know. Since arriving in North Carolina in 1981, she’s become “addicted” to the process. In the springtime, she cans a variety of berry-based juices, using them over the winter to make wine and syrup. Every summer, she cans her yearly supply of tomato sauce, adding in herbs, onions and garlic from her garden. Bloody Mary mix is another of her favorite canning creations.

On Tuesday, July 19, Chase will lead an hour-and-a-half class on the water-bath canning process. “It’s basic skills,” she says. “Once you know how simple it is and how safe it is, people can feel encouraged to say, ‘Oh yeah, I can do some canning myself.’”

The class, hosted by Living Web Farms, will include instruction on proper sanitation procedures, an explanation of the necessary equipment, a dry run of the canning process and information on resources and recipes. Chase will also address the many perks of canning.

“There are things all over your yard that you can include with your canned goods to make them unique and special,” she says. “Some herbs you grow, flower petals — there’s all sorts of things you can do to make it your own.”

Chase’s inventiveness and skill are what most excites Meredith Leigh, who runs the educational programs at Living Web. “She’s just an incredibly creative culinarian and a very talented gardener,” says Leigh. “So you put those two things together, and you get a great outcome every time.”

The canning workshop runs 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, at Living Web Farms, 176 Kimzey Road, Mills River. The event is donation-based ($10 suggested). Participants can register online at

Dessert pairings at Twin Leaf Brewery

In a pairing of bites and beers, the desserts of Whisk avl will be featured at an upcoming event at Twin Leaf Brewery. Coconut cream pie will accompany a pour of Coffee English Mild. A raspberry jam cookie will go with Tart Gose. And the peach cobbler will be paired with 144 IPA (code name Juicy Fruit). Whisk avl’s owner and baker, Meg Shearer, notes that this is the fifth time the two businesses have teamed up for such an event. “The desserts are from scratch,” she adds.

The pairing runs 3-7 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at Twin Leaf Brewery, 144 Coxe Ave. The cost is $15. Pours are 4 ounces. Desserts will also be available a la carte. For more information, visit and

Taste of Southern Season

Specialty food retailer Taste of Southern Season is now open in Biltmore Village. The Chapel Hill-based company has been recognized as the Outstanding Retailer of the Year by the National Association for Specialty Food. According to a recent press release, patrons of the Biltmore Village location will find the store shelves lined with local goods, including hot sauces and salsas from Fire From the Mountain, preserves from Blue Ridge Jams, sodas and cocktail mixers from Blue Blaze Syrup & Soda Co., bars from French Broad Chocolates and coffee from Dynamite Roasting Co.

Taste of Southern Season is at 4 Swan St. in Biltmore Village. Store hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit

The Social Pizzeria opens in Swannanoa

The Social in East Asheville has expanded, opening a second location in Swannanoa with a focus on pizza. The Social Pizzeria offers a wide variety of options that incorporate and transform traditional meals into pizza form. Such offerings include the beer cheese Philly steak, Sammy tacos and the Wild West burger pie. In addition to pizza, the menu includes chicken wings, salads, pastas and appetizers.

Located at 2334 U.S. 70, The Social Pizzeria offers pickup or delivery only. Store hours are 11:30 a.m.- 2 a.m. Monday-Friday and noon-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. For more information, visit

Cycle to Farm

Cycle to Farm is holding its fifth annual ride in Black Mountain. Throughout the 63-mile route, participants will get the chance to sample treats from local farmers. An after-party will await the cyclists at the end of their ride, with food from Fresh Wood Fired Pizza and beer from New Belgium Brewing Co.

The ride starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 16, at Town Square Park in Black Mountain, 120 E. State St. Registration costs $85. Learn more at


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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One thought on “Small bites: Canning made easy

  1. Carol

    I have clients moving here from other states so I appreciate Mountain Express and Thomas Calder continuing to report on the “flavors” of Asheville. Your articles cover a broad range of subjects and are a great source of information for both locals and newcomers. Thank you!

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