Canning to help end global hunger

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Manitoba woman shares her canning recipes and why she has a heart for helping the hungry


Last year, Deb and her son Daniel made and sold 165 jars for the Foodgrains Bank.

For Deb Unger Loewen of Landmark, Manitoba, canning is the best therapy.

“It’s really a lot of work,” she says. “But it’s my great love, and I love the ‘pioneer woman’ feel that comes out of it.”

It’s also a way for her to help people experiencing hunger overseas. Since 2012, Deb has been canning vegetables, then selling them around Landmark. Once sold, she donates the proceeds to Canadian Foodgrains Bank for use in the work of ending global hunger.

“We try to teach our kids that if you’re in a position to help people that are not able to help themselves, then it is up to us to do it,” she says. “Words only go so far – actions speak louder.”

Whether it’s apple pie jam, hot dog relish or pickled beets, chances are Deb and her family have made them. This year, they made relish, grape jelly and medium and hot salsa.

“Our garden didn’t do great this year, but as requests came in, other people donated vegetables,” she explains.

“It’s heartwarming to be part of such a vital community, and the generosity of the community should be commended.”


This year, Daniel was responsible for cutting up most of the fruit and vegetables for the project.

Deb sold all 70 cans they made this year, raising almost $800 for the Foodgrains Bank.

“The organization is near and dear to our hearts, and we go into every growing season with canning for Canadian Foodgrains Bank in mind.”

Deb notes that her father-in-law was one of the founders of the Foodgrains Bank, and her son chairs the local Landmark growing project.

“There’s many facets of our support here,” she says.

Interested in learning how Deb does it? See the recipes below!

Hot Dog Relish

  • 25 cucumbers, 3 to 4 inches long
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 sweet red peppers
  • 1 hot pepper
  • 3 large onions
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 tbsp. mustard seed
  • 1 tbsp. celery seed
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 3 cups mild vinegar

Put cucumbers and onions through food chopper. Sprinkle with salt, let stand overnight, then drain and rinse well. Remove seeds from peppers and also put through food chopper. Boil sugar and vinegar with spices for 10 minutes. Add drained vegetables. Heat to boiling, put in jars and seal. Water bath for 10 minutes.

Grape Jelly

  • 4 lb. concord grapes
  • 1 pkg fruit pectin crystals
  • 5 cups granulated sugar

Rinse grapes; drain well. Remove enough from stems to make 10 cups, discarding any wrinkled or bruised grapes.

In large pot, crush grapes with potato masher. Add 1 cup water; bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Scoop cooked grapes into jelly bag suspended over large measuring cup or bowl. Let drip, without squeezing bag, until juice measures 4 cups, about 2 hours.

In large clean pot, bring juice and pectin to boil. Stir in sugar; bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Boil vigorously, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.

Using sterilized metal funnel and ½-cup measure, pour into hot sterilized canning jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. If necessary, wipe rims. Cover with prepared lids; screw on bands fingertip tight.

Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Transfer jars to rack; let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check for seal, ensuring that lids curve downward. If not, refrigerate and use within 3 weeks. Store in cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.

Tomato Salsa

  • 10-15 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 24 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 6 chopped green peppers
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 10-12 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tbsp. salt
  • 9 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups vinegar
  • 6 tbsp. cornstarch

Combine all ingredients except cornstarch, and gently boil for 20 minutes. Mix cornstarch with small amount of water, add to tomato mixture, cook 5 more minutes. Ladle into jars, cover and let seal. No steaming necessary.

– Shaylyn McMahon, Communications Assistant