The Canning Kitchen


It was a lovely surprise last Friday when a package arrived at my kitchen from Penguin Random House Canada. I immediately tore it open to find this lovely new preserving book inside by Amy Bronee, blogger and author of this lovely canning cookbook. Thank you Random House for thinking of me!

I had an upcoming preserving class at Le Dolci, so thought what better way to test drive a new cookbook than to use one of the recipes with my students. Asparagus are in season, so the Pickled Asparagus Spears Recipe seemed like the obvious choice.

Pickled Asparagus

It was a gorgeous Saturday morning and in the class we were going to make Strawberry Balsamic Jam and Pickled Asparagus.

preserving class

We started off with the Pickled Asparagus for a couple of reasons. One because I love how pickling shows new preservers how simple the whole process can be and that it does not have to be a time consuming or labour intensive. I shared with the class a couple tips with making pickled asparagus.

  1. I like to draw lines on my cutting board that show me the different lengths to cut items depending on my jar size. This makes the prep process so much easier.
  2. I arrange my spears with tips pointing all in one direction in rows so that you can grab your product quickly and easily when it comes to filling the jars

The class was excited to hear that we were using a new recipe and instagram and tweets were being sent all throughout the class. We even got Amy engaged all the way from Victoria.

Before they knew it the Asparagus was in the jars with their spices and brine and were ready for the hot water bath. Amy's recipe has a nice little twist in that it uses fennel instead of some of the more popular combination of dill and mustard seeds. I imagine when the class opens their jars in the recommended 2-4 weeks that they will be thrilled with the flavour combination.

pickled asparagus

I look forward to trying a few of the other simple small batch recipes in this cookbook throughout the summer months. If you are interested in getting your hands on The Canning Kitchen the release date is June 9th, 2015 or you can pre-order it here.

Say NO to store bought salsa - PRESERVING CLASS

With my tomato plants in full flower, my tastebuds are already exciting about the upcoming tomato season. Nothing tastes better than seasonal tomatoes bursting with flavour. I love making tomato sauce but another long time favourite is salsa.

How many times have you bought a jar of salsa at the store and been disappointed in the results? It’s not spicy enough, or it is too spicy, or just plain bad. Well after this class you will never have to buy another jar of store bought salsa again. You will discover how easy it is to make it AND preserve it so you always have a jar on hand when you need it. It makes a great hostess gift to bring to all the summer bbq’s you have in your calendar as well.

As with all of my classes, you will walk out with the basic understanding of jar sterilization, safe canning practices and important do’s and don’ts of canning and preserving. You will also get a copy of the recipe to take home and at least 1 jar of salsa.

Join me on Monday, July 29th at 6:30pm. To sign up, click here

Preserving Classes - Why take one?

For some reason, people don't very often give me preserves. I guess they think that because I have shelves filled with preserves in my basement that there is no point. But on Thursday of last week I received a lovely bag of preserves from my friend Cheryl. In fact, I never would have met Cheryl if it hadn't been for preserves. She came up to my table at my very first farmer's market last summer and then she attended a couple of my preserving classes last summer. The rest is history.

Last Thursday, Cheryl joined me on a little trip to Tap Phong so that I could ogle expensive kitchen equipment I hope to one day own. On our little adventure together, Cheryl shared 4 lovely jars of jam with me that she had made. An organic strawberry jam that I sampled this morning on toast for breakfast. It was jam packed full of organic strawberries and tasted fresh and not overly sweet. Amazing. I am savouring the ramaining 3 jams; strawberry basil, rhubarb vanilla and strawberry rhubarb.

But the other gift that Cheryl gave me was one I don't even think she realized she gave me. We were winding our way up and down the aisles at Tap Phong and casually, over her shoulder she said 'You know, until I took your classes, preserving wasn't really that interesting to me. You changed all that' and then she proceeded to tell me how she has a pickle recipe she is dying to try out.

'Yes, yes, yes', I screamed inside my mind. That is EXACTLY why I love teaching my classes. My goal is to convert as many people into canners and preservers as possible. To show them how much fun it can be, how wonderful it is to have a pantry full of summer awaiting you all year round and to make jams, jellies or pickles that taste of the fruit or vegetable inside the jar and not of preservatives.

And check this out...Cheryl got busy once again today. Wonder if she will share?


Boozy Preserving Class

What could possibly be better than the combination of fresh local raspberries and Prosecco in a beautifully clear jelly? Perhaps Rhubarb Brandy Vanilla Jam is the answer? You get to decide in this preserving class because we are going to make them both. We will discuss the differences between jams and jellies and create some delicious adult preserves.

Join me on Monday, June24th at 6:30pm and I will teach you how to incorporate alcohol into jams and jelly recipes. You will walk out of this class with the basic understanding of jar sterilization, safe canning practices and important do’s and don’ts of canning and preserving. You will also get a copy of both recipes to take home and at least 1 jar of jam each.

$40 +HST

Reserve Now by Credit Card or PayPal

Learn more about Workshops at The Depanneur


Preserving with friends

Have you ever taken over someone else’s kitchen while they were having a delayed Christmas get together with 6 of their friends? Well I had this exact pleasure this past Saturday when friends of mine decided to buy a Private Preserving class as their Christmas gift to their friends. I am sure it was almost more fun for me than it was for the attendees.

Photo credit: Peter Visima

How does a private preserving class work?

- We work together beforehand to determine what would be the most interesting topic (jam, pickles, marmalades, etc) for the group and settled on a recipe.

-  You provide me with a guest count (highly suggest capping it at 8 to ensure everyone gets the most out of the class)

-  I arrive approximately 30-45 minutes before you are ready for the class to start and begin set up. I bring all of the tools required; from the pots, to the cutting boards, knives, measuring cups and spoons, right down to the ingredients used and the jars everything will go in. If required I can also bring an additional burner to accommodate the water bath pot, which is rather large. And while I set up, you and your friends can visit, drink wine, eat, etc.

Photo credit: Peter Visima

-  We walk through the basics:

o   Basic implements required for canning/preserving and where to get them

o   Jars and how they work

o   Sterilization best practices and a quick review of some out dated techniques to be aware of

o   Tips and tricks; everything from how to quickly peel certain fruit, the role of sugar in preserving, how pectin works, etc

o   Break down the recipe into steps and get everyone involved in the preparation of ingredients

Photo credit: Peter Visima

-  We make one or two batches (depending on group size) to ensure that everyone leaves with at least one – 250ml jar of the product and everyone takes home the recipe so they can make it again and again at home

Photo credit: Peter Visima

-  We clean up, I pack up and leave your kitchen looking like I was never there except for the jars of deliciousness sitting and cooling down on your counter

 Now doesn't that look like fun?

Huge thanks to Peter Visima who very kindly came and photographed this class and allowed me to use the photos. His blog is filled with amazing photography and great food finds.


Happy Anniversary to The Depanneur


I first became acquainted with The Depanneur (or ‘The Dep’ as it has become to be known) this past winter when my husband and I signed up to become a member of The Rusholme Park Supper Club (Family Style dinner parties hosted by a rotating cast of chefs) and joined them for an evening with the Pork Ninja’s. It was an intimate gathering of food lover’s; amazing food was consumed and the Pork Ninja’s have since become Thursday night regulars. If you have never tasted their delicious competition grade BBQ pulled pork you have no idea what you are missing. But Pork Ninja’s aside, if you have never been to The Depanneur you really need to change that. They have been awarded with the 2012 Award for ‘Spicy New Venture’ by Food Forward and have really created something new and exciting for our fair city. You can drop in for dinner and try food from all over the world, prepared by some of the city’s best kept secrets. They serve it up from 6pm until the food sells out. Plus they have commercial kitchen space that they rent out to food entrepreneurs such as myself. Overall just an amazing concept and the food served never fails to delight.

It is for this and many more reasons, that I am so excited to blog about the fact that Manning Canning is partnering with The Dep to offer its customers a series of preserving classing in September and October. If you have ever wanted to learn how to preserve the freshness of all of those amazing summer fruits and vegetables so that you can enjoy summer even in winter, well now is your chance! Over a series of 4 classes, I will walk participants through safe canning practices and basics of making jam and pickles and preserving fruit. All students will take home one jar of the product made in class that day, along with a print out of the recipe and be armed with the knowledge required to can safely at home.

The classes run from 6:30pm-9:30pm on the dates outlined below and take place at The Dep, which is located at 1033a College Street. To register for the classes, just click right here.

SEPT 12 - CLASS 1 – Fresh Pears with Ginger

In the first class of the series we will cover the basics principles of safe canning and as a group work together to preserve Pears with Ginger

SEPT 26 - CLASS 2 – Tomato Jam

There is more to tomatoes than tomato sauce. Learn how to turn tomatoes into a delicious tomato jam that can be used as a spread in sandwiches, as a substitute for ketchup or as an accompaniment to a delicious cheese plate

OCT 10 - CLASS 3 – Getting Pickled 

Pickled Carrots and Pickled Cauliflower. We will explore how different combinations of vinegar and spices can drastically change the flavour of what you pickle

OCT 24 - CLASS 4 – Canning with Wine or Beer 

The addition or beer or wine to your canning recipe can have some pretty fabulous results and in this class we will explore their benefits in preserving


Workshops are $40+HST each and includes a jar of whatever is made.

Attend all 4 Preserving Workshops and save $20!

4 Workshops for $140+HST

I look forward to passing on my love of preserving with everyone in the class and hope to see you soon!

Let's Get Pickled Or Jam Together

I have heard from several people that they have always wanted to learn how to make jam or pickles, some have even told me that they find the process intimidating. It always seems strange to me because I come from a family with a mom who always made home made jam, an aunt who makes the best pickled onions I have ever tasted, a sister who makes her own tomato sauce each year and another sister who can turn around a batch of jam while roasting a turkey or running outside to help deliver a cow :). I guess you could say in my family preserving is second nature.

So I am pretty excited that on Monday, June 25th from 6-9pm I will be teaching a preserving class in conjunction with Withrow Park Farmer's Market. This year Withrow Market is offering up From Scratch Cooking Workshops so my preserving class will be the first in a series of great classes throughout the summer.

The class costs $45 and that includes materials and ingredients which are guaranteed to be fresh as we will be getting them from the market on the Saturday before the class from one of the many farmer's who bring their gorgeous product to market. Pre-registration and a 50% non-refundable deposit are required and if you are interested in joining the class you can reach out to Roberta at

I hope to see some friendly faces in the crowd but I am equally as excited to see some new faces and just have the chance to talk preserving with people who share the interest.