Preserving for a cause

Back in 2006, I did something that some people thought was crazy, but to this day I still think it was the best thing I have ever done in my entire life. I quit my GREAT job, sold my car, rented my house and convinced my sister to join me on a year long adventure throughout SE Asia. We started off our journey with a month in Sri Lanka. Not a bad way to kick off an adventure.

But the best part about our time in Sri Lanka (and the list of amazing things about Sri Lanka is very long) was our time building houses for the victims of the tsunami with a Toronto based organization called Trip Canada. If you have ever wanted to give back and do a trip like this I can highly recommend Trip Canada and the work they have been doing in Sri Lanka following the tsunami in 2004.

If you can't spare the two weeks to participate in one of their upcoming trips, they are having a fundraising event on Thursday, November 21st at The Pilot Tavern.


I would LOVE to return to Sri Lanka with Trip Canada to see all of the wonderful progress they have made since I was there, but my preserving business is keeping me a little too busy for that. So instead, I am donating a private preserving class as well as a small gift basket of preserves in their silent auction. The lucky recipient will receive a gift basket very similar to the one shown here and will get a private preserving class for up to 4 people, valued at $150.00

Private Preserving Classes

When I tell people about the place that I grew up, some of them laugh and tell me that I make it sound like Genoa City or Salem, like a made up place that doesn’t even exist except perhaps in my imagination. Yes, I went to high school with a girl named Missy Lee, the bar in town was called The Old Hole and we used to party at the swimming hole.

I grew up in Drayton Valley, Alberta. It’s a small town that had a population of around 5,500 people when I lived there. The town had one movie theatre and a drive-in, until one day in a wind storm the drive-in blew over and that was the end of the that. I remember the day that we got an A&W – we felt so ‘big time’. Now don’t misread this – I am not talking trash about Drayton, the exact opposite. I have many fond memories of the place and the childhood growing up in a small town like DV afforded me.

I had several different jobs during high school – I was a janitor at Dome Petroleum, I babysat, worked at the local drugstore and I taught gymnastics. I forgot until very recently how much I loved teaching. I took all of the courses required to be a certified teacher and I took my role as coach very seriously.

What got me thinking about my days as a gymnastics coach? Well over the past couple of months I have been teaching preserving classes with The Depanneur and Withrow Market and I have been absolutely loving it. Every single class has been filled with people who are genuinely interested in learning how to preserve. They come with great questions – and have forced me to really sit down and put on paper everything I have learned about preserving over the years from my Nona, my mom and through the large amount of reading I have done on the subject.

When the series of classes end, I want to keep sharing the knowledge that I have in a more active way than just sharing recipes through my blog or tweeting about it. I believe everyone should have at least a basic understanding of how to preserve food or at a minimum shouldn’t be afraid of the idea.

Starting in December, Manning Canning will be offering Private Preserving lessons. If you are having a girl’s night, a party weekend, a wedding shower or just want to learn to preserve witha glass of wine in one hand I will come over to your house with all the required ingredients, the tools and the know-how. All you need to do is decide if you want to make jam, pickles or something else. If this sounds interesting, shoot me an email at and let's get preserving!