Canning is a great activity for kids, combining a love for fruit with a great lesson in cooking and how food changes with the seasons. If you are planning to preserve summer's bounty with a canning project, consider involving kids in the process!
When involving kids, just remember that canning involves heat and breakable materials, so be sure to limit your kids' involvement to safe parts of the process, and always supervise carefully,
For those of you new to canning, here is the USDA's complete guide. And here is a free canning app to download!
Here are ten ways kids can help with the process. Kids can:
1) Choose the fruit or vegetable to can. Discuss favorite fruits and vegetables and how certain produce is in season at different times of the year.
2) Pick the fruit at a U-Pick or Farmer's Market. Kids (and adults!) love picking their own produce, so head to a U-Pick farm to gather your fruit or vegetables. If that's not possible due to the season or your location, try a farmer's market. You'll find the freshest produce there, often in good quantities at a reasonable price.
3) Do the math. Older kids may be able to help you calculate things like quantities of ingredients and jars you'll need.
4) Wash fruit or vegetables. Kids can be washers-in-chief, readying the produce for canning.
5) Mash and (under supervision) chop. Mashing fruits and vegetables is a job made for kids. Older kids, under close supervision, may also be able to chop.
6) Measure and add ingredients. Dumping things in a pot? Another job made for kids!
7) Stir (under close supervision) and taste. Equipped with a mitt, a long spoon, and very close supervision, kids may be able to help stir ingredients as they cook. Kids can also be “master tasters” of cooled fruit.
8) Choose fun names. Your canned goods deserve fun names, and kids can employ their silly powers to come up with them.
9) Create labels. Kids can make colorful and festive labels for canned goods. Break out the crayons!
10) Make a list of recipients, and help deliver! If you're planning to gift some of your canned goods, kids can help create a list of the lucky recipients, and help deliver them.
Image: Wikimedia Commons