Glass Rooster Cannery near Sunbury teaches food preservation

Glass Rooster Cannery near Sunbury teaches food preservation

By Jane Beathard

 

Jeanine “Jeannie” Seabrook teaches bread making at the cannery.

Seabrook likes to blend liquors and wines into her jams and jellies.

Artisan canned goods and preserves line the cannery’s shelves.

Jellies, fruits and vegetables with the Glass Rooster label. All were preserved at the cannery.

The Glass Rooster Cannery is located at 1673 S. state Route 605 near Sunbury.

Row upon row of glass jars filled with brightly colored fruits, vegetables, jellies, sauces and salsa line the shelves of the Glass Rooster Cannery near Sunbury.

They not only represent the fruits of a bountiful summer harvest, but a way of looking at food that is as old as it is new.

Inspired by the growing farm-to-table movement, the Glass Rooster is Ohio’s only teaching cannery. Students trek to the red barn-like structure to learn the nearly lost art of preserving what they grow at home or buy at local markets.

The curriculum amounts to “modern homesteading,” according to cannery founder and proprietor Jeanine “Jeannie” Seabrook.

Her philosophy of food is a departure from that promoted by celebrity chefs and worshipped by their cult followings.

“Chef ‘worship’ makes cooking a daunting task,” Seabrook said. “People need to learn they can do it themselves.”

She learned early in life to do it herself.

Seabrook grew up in a family of 16 children where canned food was not only a mealtime favorite, but a financial necessity. Most of the knowledge she imparts was learned at her mother’s knee — or rather, in her mother’s kitchen.

A lifelong interest in gardening and preserving, along with a 2010 magazine article about a community cannery in another state, inspired Seabrook to open the Glass Rooster in May 2011.

The charming red barn is furnished with antiques and kitchen collectibles gathered by Seabrook’s sister, Susie Schmidhammer, who is a folk artist.

Despite its homey atmosphere, the Glass Rooster encompasses a sophisticated commercial kitchen that undergoes regular inspections by state and federal agencies. It was licensed as a commercial cannery in 2013.

In addition to canning classes, Seabrook developed an early relationship with Experience Columbus, an organization that markets Central Ohio as a tourism destination.

That relationship brought busloads of visitors to the cannery for tours of Seabrook’s half-acre garden and lessons on how to make and preserve jams and jellies. Those visits sometimes included farm-to-fork meals prepared from locally grown produce and meats.

Eventually, she branched into catering and hosting private parties and receptions in a restored 1920s-era barn behind the cannery. The Glass Rooster Antique & Art Shop, which features the work of Ohio artists, is next door.

Spring and summer are busy times that require Seabrook to hire seasonal workers. She operates a greenhouse business in May, selling flowers and varieties of vegetable plants suited to backyard gardens and home preserving.

In the summer, she hosts a Kids CAN Cook and Craft Day Camp, and teaches four to five adult classes a week on everything from the history of canning and various canning techniques to bread baking, soap making and cooking with herbs.

A full list of class offerings (six-student minimum) is available at glassroostercannery.com.

Her teaching has expanded beyond the cannery to include sessions at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus and Upper Arlington Lifelong Learning. Seabrook provides all produce and class materials. However, students may bring their own if they choose.

In 2016, Seabrook struck a deal with some local truck farmers to preserve their produce that went unsold at area markets and roadside stands. As a result, she managed to salvage 12,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables that would have gone to compost.

This excess became small-batch or “artisan” jellies, tomato sauces, corn salsas, pickles and a variety of herbed vegetables.

A portion of the preserved goodies was returned to contributing farmers for sale at community markets in Delaware, Lancaster and Mount Vernon. The remainder is for sale on Glass Rooster shelves.

“I now sell 150 to 175 different products,” Seabrook said with pride.

A recent grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Organization helped her purchase a steam jacket kettle for processing large amounts of sauces, salsas, relishes and pie fillings.

“It saves time and steps and brings down the cost of the product,” Seabrook said.

Rapid growth has not dimmed her simple approach to living well.

“You only get to pick three things in life — where you live, the people you want as friends, and the food you choose to eat,” Seabrook said.

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GLASS ROOSTER CANNERY RECIPES

GLASS ROOSTER BREAD DOUGH

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup milk, warm but not scalding

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons yeast

2 1/2 cups white flour

1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and fold from the bottom until a soft ball forms. Add more flour if the dough looks wet. Do not beat. Stop mixing as soon as the dough looks almost dry. Knead gently into a ball. Then use to make Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls.

GRANDMA’S CINNAMON ROLLS

Ingredients:

Glass Rooster Bread Dough

1/2 stick butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 stick butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-3 cups powdered sugar

Enough milk to make a smooth frosting

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 F.

Roll bread dough flat to about 1/2-inch thick. Spread with melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over butter. Roll the dough into a long tube.

Using dental floss, slice the tube into 2-inch rounds. Place rounds so the spiral faces up in a buttered 9-by-9 baking dish. Brush with any extra butter. Bake for 25 minutes or until middle roll springs back. Cool slightly.

In a bowl, beat softened butter and vanilla until smooth. Add sugar one cup at a time. If the consistency is too thick, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until the frosting is spreadable. Frost rolls.

PIZZA DOUGH

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil, for crispier crust

1 cup water, warm but not scalding

1 tablespoon sugar

2-3 teaspoons yeast

2 1/2 cups white flour

1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 F.

Place olive oil, water, sugar, yeast, flour and salt in a bowl and fold from the bottom until a soft ball forms. Add more flour if the dough looks wet. Do not beat. Roll ball onto greased cookie sheet or pizza pan and press to desired thickness.

Spread 1/2 cup pizza sauce over dough and top with 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle favorite toppings like pepperoni, onion, mushrooms, pineapple or sweet/hot peppers. Bake for about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

GLASS ROOSTER FRUIT CRISP

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1/2 cup favorite fruit (apples, berries, cherries, etc.)

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons oatmeal

2 tablespoons oil or butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 F.

Mix together fruit, 1 tablespoon of flour and sugar and place in an 8-ounce canning jar.

Mix together oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of flour, oil or butter and cinnamon, and pour on top of fruit mixture in jar.

Bake for 15 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.

THE GLASS ROOSTER CANNERY

1673 S. state Route 605, Sunbury, OH 43074

614-499-2958

glassroostercannery.com

Hours depend on the season

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