For many of us, “putting up” is a thing of the past—the handiwork of our mothers and grandmothers. They filled their kitchens (and our memories) with the sounds of jostling jars, rattling pot lids, and the jack-in-the-box pops of perfect seals as they hurried to preserve summer’s bounty before winter transformed it into memory.
But their hallowed craft is no lost art; it’s simply a skill waiting to be learned. We recently visited Preserving Place in Atlanta, Georgia, and spent an afternoon with owner Martha McMillin, who walked us step-by-step through putting up the rubies of the South—ripe summer tomatoes.
Tucked into Atlanta’s Westside Provisions District, Preserving Place feels more like a farmhouse kitchen than a boutique retail shop. Sunlight streams through the floor-to-ceiling windows, illuminating jars and bottles filled with their handmade jams, pickles, and condiments. In addition to these and other locally sourced treats, Martha has stocked the store with every piece of equipment you could possibly need to start canning at home, from massive bowls and stockpots to jars, mallets, and specialty gadgets. Don’t be bashful—Martha and her friendly shopkeepers are happy to answer your canning questions and let you taste their delicious creations.
If you want a hands-on course in canning, we can’t think of a better teacher than Martha. Good natured and kind, this former lawyer will walk you through the science and the subtleties of her favorite art with patience and good humor. You can come in her door a total novice and leave with the know-how to “put up” like your grandmother did. Or, perhaps, even a little bit better.
Visit preservingplace.com for more information, or call 404-815-5267 to schedule private classes, parties, or corporate team-building events.
Pick up a copy of our July/August issue for a step-by-step tutorial on putting up summer tomatoes.