Master canner Lisa Fulk began canning with her grandmother when she was young, but she admits it took her a while to master the process. “I took my kids strawberry picking and decided to make jam,” she says. “And it was a mess and total failure—so I decided to learn more about canning.” In 2009, Fulk, a New College graduate, enrolled in Cornell University’s Certified Master Food Preserver program and received her certification. Since then she’s turned her passion into a business, teaching canning classes and selling her sweet and savory jams, jellies and pickles at stores and markets all over the region.
Can plan There are two types of canning: water-bath canning, which is how jams, jellies and pickles are typically canned, and low-acid canning, which is done in a pressure cooker. It’s important to understand the science behind it all—if you’re careless with your canning, you can give someone botulism. Though she started out doing all of her canning at home, Fulk has since moved into a commercial kitchen in Bradenton.
Flavor maven Fulk works closely with local farms and breweries (for her beer mustard and beer pickles), and tries to use seasonal ingredients sourced from within 100 miles or less. And she loves dreaming up creative flavors; one of her jams is based on State Street’s famous Bramble cocktail, and she’s currently experimenting with starfruit. “It looks so cool,” she says. “Surely there’s something I can do with it.” Her favorite concoctions? Meyer lemon ginger jam and those beer pickles.
Flavors to look forward to this fall: apple pie jam and ginger-pear jam. Fulk will also teach classes; for more info,
go to sunshinecanning.com.
You can buy Sunshine Canning products at various regional locations, including Anna Maria Island Fresh Market, Sift Bakehouse and the monthly Sample Sarasota market at Mandeville Beer Garden.
Fulk also hosts canning parties. “They can be as fancy or as chill as you want,” she says. She finds they’re especially popular for bridal showers or craft nights.