While the doors to The Cookery may not be open to customers this time of year, April is still a busy month. There are plenty of tasks that need to be checked off a never-ending list, but the one we always make time for -- and truly enjoy -- is canning. Every spring our prep kitchen staff spends the month of April leading up to opening day producing countless jars and bottles of jams, pie fillings, and salad dressings. These products are not only served to customers over our summer and fall seasons, but they're also sold in our restaurant lobby as well as shipped to customers all over the United States.
Canning has been part of The Cookery's culture for a long time. Carol began canning at the restaurant largely due to customer demand. Our apple sauce was on the menu from the very beginning, and customers started to ask how they could take it home with them. After The Cookery was remodeled in 1981 (and there was enough room in the new kitchen!) Carol spent the next winter experimenting with canning the apple sauce. She perfected the recipe and made it available for sale in the 1982 season. The applesauce was a big hit, and soon after Carol added the four berry and tart cherry jams to the canning line-up.
The practice of canning was a natural fit for The Cookery. Carol grew up canning with her mother on their family farm in central Minnesota. Everything was canned on the farm, from jams and vegetables to pickles and even beef! The canned goods were stored in the farm's root cellar along with root vegetables. This food was largely what her family ate throughout the winter, in addition to the meat and dairy the farm produced.
Today, The Cookery's line of jams and sauces has expanded to include pie filling, salad dressings, and additional jam flavors -- and the tradition has been passed along to Carol's two daughters, Courtney and Karin, as well as many Cookery employees. Our products can be purchased in the restaurant lobby, and can also be shipped by calling the restaurant to place an order.
We're happy that we set aside time for canning every year -- it's a large part of what makes our food truly local -- and we're also happy we can share a bit of our history with others.
(Interested in learning more about The Cookery and our history? Click here to read our story.)