How to Can with Well Preserved

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Toronto, Ontario

It may be odd to hear but I remember being in South America and looking forward to the time that I would have a place and could start preserving food. I guess we always want what we do not have. A lot of it was due to reading the site Well Preserved, and through blogging we became friends and I started attending their events like Home Ec night.

So when they asked me if I wanted to come to their Green Bites class on preserving at the Evergreen Brickworks I didn’t hesitate. After all, I just brought home 20lbs of concord grapes and had no idea what to do with them.


But I was still intimidated.


Sure I can cook but learning how to can and preserve seems like a whole other, very complicated beast. Also, I don’t want to kill anyone with a jar of jam. This is exactly what the Green Bites workshops are all about. Somehow we have lost the art of preparing food and have no idea where to go. Evergreen Brickworks holds skill sharing sessions to connect people in the community.

Joel and Dana are the perfect people to learn from. They don’t have a formal cooking background but are so passionate about sharing what they know. Their approach makes things less intimidating. First off the group tries some food that they have canned, fermented and dried.

They also teach us that it can be quite easy and there are only two rules:

1) Work clean

2) Follow a tested recipe.

With this in mind, we don’t need to fear botulism.



And that is where the formal lecture ends and the hands-on work begins. The spicy green beans we just tried were pickled and we’re going to make them. As Joel takes us through the process we learn practical things like how long food can be stored, what happens when jars cool to fast and when to use a water bath over a pressure cooker.  With veggies and spices in the jar Dana helps us put the brine over the jar and within ten minutes we are done.


It was so much easier than I expected.


People in the class are at varying levels so there are a lot of questions.  But in between safety questions people have questions that I know I will have too, like if the jar is twice as big can I just cook it twice as long? Why should I use bottled lemon juice over a lemon? What are easy recipes to start with?


I am ready to tackle these concord grapes.


We move onto talking about fermented food, a class that is coming up soon and I’m thinking I should take. I had no idea what fermenting was and realize I have probably eaten a lot of it. Joel shows us how easy it is to do with lemons and says that bacon isn’t that much more difficult.

Now that is a challenge I want to tackle.







Join the Conversation

  1. What a fun class! I can make jam, but I’ve never pickled vegetables, which is something I want to learn to do, (although then I’d probably go broke buying produce at the farmers market to experiment with.).

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      One of the best tips I have learned is to just start small, you don`t have to pickle a whole winter`s worth, start with one or two jars and if you like them make more.

  2. Chrystal McKay says:

    I have never only tried pickles which my grandma makes. That is it. I saw a recipe book on canning while in Morocco and stared at it; I just didn’t know it was a thing. Silly me.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is making such a big comeback, I guess along with knitting and sewing people are going back to things their grandparents always did.

  3. Leah Travels says:

    I used to help my grandmother do this. We made all kinds of goodness from her garden. Haven’t even thought of trying it as an adult. Thanks for bringing back that memory.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      My Nanny always made strawberry jam but not much else, I am loving it so far canning lots of tomatoes and I made grape jam the other day. It is very addictive.

  4. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Do you know that the only food besides meat that I can’t even stand to smell is anything pickled! I don’t know why? The rest of my family is obsessed with the taste!!! Maybe I need to take a class like this.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am not huge on pickles either but I have been making jam, marmalade and chutneys. It`s a great way to capture the season while it`s fresh.

  5. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    I was just at my sister’s, and she was canning green beans. I was so impressed she knew how to do that. Definitely beyond my capabilities and patience.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh no it is SO easy. You know me I cook a bunch and was so intimidated but I have been canning up a storm, it takes no time at all.

  6. Scarlett Rose says:

    WooHoo!! I am digesting information like a big sponge :-). I really need a class like this one. My sister is an expert in this & she loves to do that.

    Thanks for the post.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You should try it, it`s very addictive.

  7. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    There’s something so satisfying about canning and pickling.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It makes me want to have a more permanent home so I can store it all. Dana and Joel have over 700 jars, can you imagine?

  8. Interesting I never thought of that… might try it one day!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You have a more mild winter but in Canada where we don`t have a 12 month growing season it is a great way to continue to eat things all year round.

  9. Pickling and canning are beasts I haven’t been ready to tackle yet. I did make a fig jam/chutney from fresh figs that seems to be lasting pretty long without boiling my glass tupperware.

    One of these days, I’ll take a class.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Are you keeping it in the fridge? If you didn`t prep it in a water bath it definitely needs to stay in the fridge.

      I thought the water bath would be hard but it is so easy I feel silly for being intimidated by it.

      1. Yes, fridge only. No botulism for me 🙂

  10. I am super lucky that Dalene’s family loves to preserve food and are masters at pickled carrots. So good.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I want to do pickled carrots and radish soon like you get on banh mi Vietnamese buns, I love that stuff.

  11. OH YES PICKLES… After returning from Latin America I wanted to pickle everything and anything.

    Now I know who I need to hit up.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I had the same urge in Latin America, I wonder what it is…

  12. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    Oh I do like a good pickle! Looks like fun…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am not a huge pickle fan but I will be canning a lot of other things.

  13. Yes, and since there’s a potential bacon shortage, this skill may be quite useful. I saw my grandmother do this all the time when I was a kid, but I never knew what was involved. Interesting.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I did hear that in Canada there will not be a shortage but the price is going up, which is okay.

  14. Caanan @ No Vacation Required says:

    Every once in a while a friend will give us a bottle of jam or homemade pickles. Not only are they delicious, the idea that someone is giving you their time (which is such a rare commodity) is a pretty big deal!

    Greta post.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Did we talk about aji in Ecuador? If I could find a way to make that I would can a whole year`s worth.

  15. Canning…I never knew much about it but know how important it is…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I really want to eat food found locally and is in season, which is tough in the winter but this will make it a bit easier.

  16. I knew you were a foodie, but I had no idea you were such homemaker sort. Go you! Glad to hear preserving isn’t a lost art.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I love food and as much as I love eating out I would much rather cook at home.

  17. Emily in Chile says:

    I love this! Summer is coming here, and I’ve always thought how great it would be to take advantage of the lower prices and better flavors…maybe I’ll have to look into canning some things of my own.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      All you really need is the tongs specifically for canning and this magnet thing for the tops that you boil in water. Ask someone who does it and it should cost 5 bucks or so.

  18. ray waruhari says:

    People say pickling summer produce is a great way to enjoy warm-weather flavors a few weeks longer. But I just can’t get it right when it comes to pickling, I guess with your classes I will.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have already made roasted tomato and tomatillo salsa, it is perfect for making the season last longer.

  19. Ugh, I am a horrible cook! This would be way too intimidating for me. I’m more of a baker… how come I never see baking classes when I travel 🙂

  20. I’ve wanted to learn to can foods for ages! I look forward to hearing about your concord grape jam!

    I do a lot of pickling but have yet to can anything for long term preservation. I also love fermented foods–as I write this, I’ve got cabbage and daikon radish soaking in brine to start a batch of kim chi tonight! Check out “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Katz. It’s my favorite cookbook!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Fermentation is next on my list, I had no idea that it even existed but Well Preserved gave us a sneak preview and I am hoping I can get back to Evergreen Brickworks for the session.

  21. Agness (@Agnesstramp) says:

    I would be intimidated as well 😀 Have you thought of becoming a professional tackler :)?

  22. This looks great fun – glad you enjoyed yourself. I’d love to give it a go xx

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