Canning can become addicting, but it can be so good
Judy Samida is known for the catering she and her husband, Guy Fortin, provide for events around the peninsula using wholesome local ingredients and simple, mouthwatering recipes. Judy is all about using nature’s bounty to its utmost, so I caught up with her to find out about her passion for canning and preserving local foods.
Katie Lott Schnorr: How long have you been canning?
Judy Samida: Since about 1980. I started canning for nutritional reasons. I was unhappy with the quantity of sugar and chemicals in prepared foods, especially fruit.
KLS: Thirty-three years later, why are you still canning?
JS: Basically, it’s addicting. Though I started canning for reasons of nutrition, I realized the stuff I was making was really good; much better than what I could find at the grocery store. Then, I figured out that there was also a great deal of cost savings. There’s also the satisfaction of knowing where my product came from, knowing I can and preserve food from my own garden, and now I’m also sourcing food from other local producers.
KLS: What’s in your pantry right now?
JS: Strawberry Jam, cherry preserves, blueberry jam, tomatillo salsa, tomato sauce and homemade ketchup. You might wonder, ‘Why bother making ketchup if I can buy it?’ Homemade ketchup is SO delicious — everybody should make it at least once. I also freeze and dehydrate many foods. A lot of our local fruits, like apples and cherries, lend themselves to drying well. We’ve got four dehydrators going on our porch right now!
KLS: Should people be intimidated by canning?
JS: No! The thing I try to remember is that canning doesn’t have to be a huge production. Just make a little batch of something — some pickles to enjoy in winter or a batch of fresh jam. You don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen.
KLS: How do you feel after you’ve put up a batch of something and it’s in the pantry?
JS: There’s something wonderful about the transformation of food from a couple of piles of ingredients to this beautiful delicious jar of goodness on the shelf. I also feel a sense of pride in my accomplishment, knowing that I was a part of a process from start to finish that was enjoyable. And, of course, there’s the anticipation – looking forward to eating what I’ve made and even better, sharing.
KLS: Anything else you’d like to add?
JS: When I started canning I started with one goal – better nutrition – but I ended up gaining much more. It’s not too often you can say that.