Canning Across America Rotating Header Image

Can-It-Forward Stars: Brook Hurst Stephens

In the days leading up to Can-It-Forward Day & our third annual Can-a-Rama kickoff, we’ll be giving a daily shout out to the dedicated group of folks who will be on location showing the ropes of everyday preserving and who have been instrumental to our mission of reviving the lost art of “putting up” food through safe food preservation and community building.

Brook Hurst Stephens.

That’s Brook.  She joined our ranks this spring and our only regret is why it took so long for us to meet. Her passion for preserving is infectious, and we think you’ll agree when you meet her on Can-It-Forward Day.  Brook has a lively blog aptly named Learn to Preserve, where she’s constantly sharing the lessons learned at the stove.

What inspires her to can:
Growing up the Wenatchee Valley of Washington state,  everyone had a fruit tree in their back yard, if not an entire orchard. As a child, many of my friends had rows of beautiful jars of homemade pickles, jams and fruit butters in their pantries. To me, all of that homemade goodness was irresistibly delicious and more than once I invited myself to someone’s house for an “after-school snack” based mainly on the fact that their mom made the best sweet syrup-y peaches or bread & butter pickles.

Since a young age I’ve enjoyed gardening and cooking; these two things seemed to progress naturally to learning how to preserve. Once I discovered how to duplicate the magical alchemy of fruit + sugar + heat = jam in my own kitchen, I became obsessed with preserving.

Today I find my inspiration all around me, all year ’round. Whether it’s the wild huckleberries on your walk through the woods, the unwanted crab apples from a neighbor’s tree or one of the many farms and farmers markets in Washington state, I promise you can find something to “put up” on a daily basis.

Brook will be leading the canned tomatoes demo Saturday, August 13 (Noon PST) at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her trusty assistant is food writer Leslie Seaton. (Go here for the full schedule of the Aug. 13-14 Can-It-Forward events.) You can connect with Brook on twitter: @LearnToPreserve.


Print Friendly
TwitterFriendFeedFacebookBlogger PostShare


  1. John Gale says:

    Hi Brook:

    I just came accross this website. Wow it’s really you!! Are you still in Wenatchee?? Hope al is well.


  2. Jeanne says:

    John: Hi! Brook is part of our team, but I am the one who answers questions :). –Jeanne