Growing up we would spend part of our summers in rural Virginia at my grandparents house.  I think the road leading up to their house was a dirt road and wasn’t paved until we were in high school.  It was such a small town that we would actually make the local paper that we were visiting from Chicago!  The neighborhood kids would ask us the weirdest questions about Chicago.  I guess if you’ve lived your whole life in a town of 500, Chicago can sound like an exotic location!  They would ask us if we had trees and grass.  Or if there were mobsters on every street corner.  They would ask us to say certain words because of our “accents.”

My grandma had grape vines.  I am sure they weren’t as big as my childhood memory is making them, but one of my favorite things to do would be to pull the ripe grapes off the vines, suck all the sweetness in my mouth and throw away the skin.  I’d make myself sick I ate so many grapes!  But that’s the first memory I have of canning.  Watching my Mom and grandpa squeeze the grapes, then hang them in cheese cloth (maybe overnight?) in order to make grape jelly and can it.  Every time I eat grape jelly I think of my grandma!

So when I was approached to talk about Can it Forward Day – I was thrilled.   Because check out the new canning product they are sending me!

fresh tech

The Ball® FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System is all about taking the guesswork out of canning. It’s made with SmartPRESERVE™ technology, a suite of sensors that control the time and temperature needed to can popular Ball® recipes all on its own. These recipes are preprogrammed into the appliance, so we can guarantee your food will be perfectly preserved every time!

I cannot wait to try this product.  Right now I do a water boiling method in a giant stock pot.  It can literally take me an afternoon to can half a dozen jars of salsa.  The fact that I can just set it and forget it is amazing!

On August 16 you can check out “A day to celebrate home canning, International Can-It-Forward Day allows food enthusiasts to connect via a variety of online and in-person activities. New and experienced canners can participate in a live webcast on, taking place on ground in Brooklyn Borough Hall Farmers Market, filled with canning demos where viewer questions will be answered in real-time by Chef Acheson and other experts while they learn the most popular (and delicious) home canning recipes. Twenty five farmers markets across the country will also be hosting Can-It-Forward Day celebrations! In addition to the canning demos, there will be segments on crafting, herb gardening and the brand’s new drinkware line. We will also be attempting a Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Mason Jar Mosaic.”

And because they are so generous – they are offering two products to give away! 

· The Ball Canning Discovery Kit (one for giveaway): A kit designed to demystify the home canning process and make fresh preserving accessible for even the most novice canner(Retail value $11.99)

· The New Limited Edition Spring Green Heritage Collection Jars (2 cases for review, 2 cases for giveaway): These limited edition jars commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Ball brothers’ “Perfection” Jar and come in a beautiful green tint.  These are being produced only in 2014 and are available in both pint and quart varieties.  We would offer a case of each size for review and also for giveaway. (Pint retail value: $9.99 per case/ Quart retail value $12.99 per case)

All you have to do is leave a comment telling me a canning memory, or your favorite canned product given to you by a family member or friend.  I’ll choose random winners on August 16 – the International Can It Forward Day!