The Valley Preservery

The New Year Begins

As we approach the end of January, we can set our sights on winter preserving and using the gifts of our labour in preparing meals for the chilly weather. As I always say, I am a stickler for science and absolute accuracy when it comes to preserving, but the creative juices get to run free when it comes to cooking with preserved foods. Winter seems like the perfect time to be in the kitchen creating.

This month I’ve focused on soups and using tomato sauce in ways that don’t involve pasta (even though pasta is a great option). I’m adding in a few recipes that are super. The corn chowder with roasted poblano is the best soup I’ve made and that is said by someone who doesn’t really like chowders. But this is outstanding. Give it a try with corn you’ve frozen or from store-bought. Hope you like it. And, by the way, did you know that adding the heal of an old piece of parmesan to vegetable soup remarkably deepens the flavour? (Don’t add the cheese if you are pressure canning and only use tested and approved recipes).

Many people email me about classes. I’m still not back to the pre-covid frame of mind yet, but there are a few options to consider if you are interested in learning about various forms of food preservation.

Create Your Own Group

In December I did a workshop at home for a group of young people who work together. They came from across the GTA and drove up to the beautiful Beaver Valley for an afternoon of jam and pickle making. It was really fun. So, if you have a group of friends, colleagues, or family members who would like to organize a workshop, email me and we can set it up. Whatever you want to learn is fine with me. We create the workshop together. We cover the science of preservation and techniques for preserving safely. You get to do hands-on work and everyone goes away with something you’ve created.

Stay and Learn

Kimberley is in the heart of the Beaver Valley which is about 2 hours north of Toronto. It sits in the Niagara Escarpment and has a 300,000 year old history. There are many trail systems easily accessed, the Beaver River for kayaking, and lots of opportunity for skiing and snowshoeing. The Village has the lovely General Store and two very good restaurants. Any season, Kimberley is a super place to spend a couple of days or more. Sound appealing?

Why not come for a couple of days and enjoy the area and combine the visit with a workshop on food preservation! Next to the Kimberley General Store is the “Rock House” which is available for short stay rentals. Here’s the link:

There are also other homes for short-stay rental as well as small inns.

Agriculture Grey-Bruce Two Day Intensive Workshop

For several years, I have been teaching for Agriculture Grey-Bruce generally during their winter educational programs. This year, we are doing a full two-day, hands-on workshop that will include water-bath and atmospheric steam canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, fermenting, and freezing. Of course, we will begin with the science of food preservation. Food and drinks will be provided. This is a hands-on experience in a newly renovated commercial kitchen. The class will be limited to 20.

If you are interested, dates are April 28th and 29th. The location is the Rocklyn Hall. If you will be travelling from afar, there is a cute inn and B&B right around the corner called “The Rocklyn Inn”. Here’s the link:

For information about this workshop or to register:
Or email:

Edith Sitwell, a British poet, wrote: “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food, and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home”.

Stay warm and enjoy the blessings of winter.

Beaver Valley