Since it was our first time attending the swap and our first time canning, we brought just 4 jars of the banana peppers Tim preserved earlier this month and 2 smaller jars of apple vinegar we made a few weeks back:
Upon arrival, we were welcomed with hot apple cider brewing fresh on the stove, homemade snacks and plenty of labeling supplies for marking our canned goods with information on storage and any important dates/instructions.
We got there fairly early into the swap and it was funny as each new person came in how everyone would watch and wait to see what they had brought to the table, trying to decide what each of us would be taking home. Seeing what everyone else made and brought was so inspiring — both Tim and I left eager to tackle more recipes next season.
Everyone was so willing to share their techniques and tips for best practice when it comes to canning. For example, we learned adding grape leaves to jars can be a great natural solution for keeping vegetables crunchy. We were pleasantly surprised to see all 4 jars of the peppers go pretty quickly and we got more questions about how to make the apple vinegar, which was fun to explain how simple it can actually be.
Side note: While in Erin's beautiful home, I couldn't help but admire her diy framed coffee sack as art on the wall. I thought this was such a clever idea and use for coffee sacks that we just may try at some point ourselves. You may remember the laptop sleeve and dog bed we've made from coffee sacks Tim brought home from Blanchard's Coffee — such a fun material for projects!
The whole get together and swap was awesome in the fact that we were able to share and get feedback on our own canning adventures and leave with a variety of other canned goods we learned about while there. On the way home, Tim and I were already brainstorming what we could do for next year's swap and loved the idea of being able to pass on what we considered a surplus of our own vegetables to those interested and nab what they considered a surplus of their own goods.
We left with 6 different cans of goodies including homemade sauerkraut, dilly beans, hot salsa, pumpkin apple chutney, strawberry syrup, and kimchi. Hot salsa and dilly beans didn't make it a full 24 hours — I'm trying to save the pumpkin apple chutney for Thanksgiving, we'll see if it makes it...
P.S. For those of you running your own creative endeavors, find a specialized merchandising report full of tips and key dates to remember I put together to carry you through the month of November and approaching holiday season: here, on the Etsy blog.