Chehalis Outfitters to Host Canning Seminars June 25


Chehalis Outfitters, formerly known as Sunbirds, will be hosting a hot water canning seminar on June 25. Two sessions will be held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The seminar is “for anyone who wants to learn how to can,” said Kelli Erb, who works as the administrative assistant for Chehalis Outfitters. “It’ll be good for the experienced and the newbies.”

Participants in the seminar will be joined by David Schary, the owner of Two Lumps of Sugar, Chehalis Outfitters’ canning supplies provider. Schary, who will be traveling from the East Coast, has been a chef in different places throughout the country. Erb described Schary as being an animated presenter who will perform demonstrations, offer tips and advice to the seminar attendees and take part in a question and answer session with the audience. Schary will present on how to can salsa, dilly beans, small cucumber pickles, pickled asparagus and mixed berry jam, among other foods.

Also present at the seminar will be representatives from the Lewis County Master Gardeners. They will test the pressure gauges on attendees’ equipment. Participants are encouraged to bring their lids for testing. 

There will also be giveaways of canning equipment, including two pressure canners, two dehydrators, two food savers and more.

Canning is a big business for both Chehalis Outfitters and the broader area, according to Erb.

“Sunbirds has been the largest supplier of canning goods for Lewis County and we’re the largest in Thurston County as well,” Erb said.

According to Erb, Chehalis Outfitters sees the event as an opportunity to reach out to the community after the company bought Sunbirds last year.

“The company is new so they’re looking for ways to bring people into the new store,” Erb said.

“Chehalis Outfitters sells all the stuff needed to can.”

“We also have Ohio Crocks for fermentation, including for sauerkraut. We have lids and weights for the crock,” said Erb, who explained how Ohio Crocks are very hard to find.

“There’s been a big problem with getting canning goods the last couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Erb said.

Hot water canning is just one variety of several different canning techniques. Other canning methods include pressure canning, where a lid is locked in to preserve the contents of the container. Another method of canning is called cold pack canning. When cold pack canning, the contents of the container are sealed in cold water. A key difference between pressure and cold pack methods of canning is that pressure canning results in the contents becoming soggy while with cold pack canning the contents do not become soggy. Another method of canning is through the use of steam to seal the container.

“Steam helps seal (the container). A lot of people like steam canning because then you can cold pack to keep the crunch and then use steam to seal it,” said Linda Burr, the head of housewares and garden at Chehalis Outfitters.

Tickets for the seminar cost $25 per person. Beyond being able to attend the seminar, tickets entitle a holder to a swag bag valued at $65.97 and a recipe book. Tickets can be purchased by payment at the customer service desk of Chehalis Outfitters. Each session is limited to 100 attendees.

Chehalis Outfitters is located at 1757 North National Ave., Chehalis, and can be contacted at 360-748-3337. Learn more about the business by following Chehalis Outfitters on Facebook.