Wild Leek Powder Recipe (Dehydrator Recipe) aka Ramps

Wild Leeks, or ramps as some call them, are the clear sign that Spring has hit home.  Delicate leaves that taste like a pungent onion are often eaten fresh, used for cooking or pickled.

I love to dehydrate and make a powder from them.  The powder is used like a dry herb on its own or combined with rosemary, thyme, garlic or celery seed to add a flavor boost to any cooking.

Wild Leek Powder Recipe (Dehydrator Recipe) aka Ramps Wild Leek recipe Ramp dehydrated

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Wild Leek Herbes Salees Recipe (Ramps)

This recipe takes less than 3 minutes and will last up to a year on your shelf!

Wild Leek Herbes Salees Recipe (Ramps) Wild Leek recipe Ramp Preserving Recipes Foraging Curing
We’ve written about Herbes Salees before and I’ve frequently blathered on about my love for them.  If you’re new to the term, it simply describes a mixture of salt and herbs.  The salt pulls liquid from the herbs and cures them.  You use them as you would use any salt but they are especially good when added at the end of cooking or just before serving. [Read more...]

Green Living Show 2015 – Joel is speaking

Joel is speaking on the main stage at the Green Living Show in Toronto this coming Saturday at 11:15 !

Green Living Show 2015   Joel is speaking

Urban Food Preserving:
5 Things You Can Preserve In 5 Minutes

People think they don’t have enough time, knowledge or ability to preserve food. Joel MacCharles will inspire as he shows practical methods of simple food preservation – many that can be done in just minutes!

Joel is the co-founder of one of the world’s largest preserving and local food websites, WellPreserved.ca. A recipe developer, former TEDxToronto speaker and mad scientist, he lives with almost 1,000 jars of preserves. Visitwellpreserved.ca for more information.

It’s a great show with a lot of fantastic displays and presentations.

Here’s the full list of Saturday Speakers

We’re really excited to see the panel at 12:45 including our friends Laura Reinsborough founder of Not Far from the Tree and Joshna Maharaj of Ryerson Eats

Appetite for Change

An expert panel will dig into the issue of food waste, exploring how it connects to global issues of food security, climate change, agricultural sustainability, and social justice. Local opportunities for reducing food waste will also be explored.

There’s also a panel (at 4:45) on the Importance of Bees, and an amazing lineup of Local food and drink to enjoy.

It’s more than just food there’s… the EcoParent Village, Green Fashion and beauty, yoga and fitness, MaRS discovery District Exhibit and an exhibit and auction of the Maple Leaf Forever tree, among so many other things. It’s going to be a great weekend!

There’s a couple of ways to score FREE ADMISSION. ($15 per person value).

1. BRING OLD ELECTRONICS TO RECYCLE. My keyboard just went kaput so i’ll be bringing it along…full list of accepted items here.

2. Visit the Cannonball on Queen Street East (m-f 730am-5ish, sat 930-5pm). I’ll be leaving a small stack there, grab a coffee or something and ask the Barista. Or ask Joel and I if you see us wandering around Toronto (say hi, we don’t bite)! The ticket vouchers we have are printed and aren’t transferable online, but if you check the speaker and vendor list on the site i’m pretty sure every one of them has some tickets available so visit those establishments or keep an eye out for the speakers and presenters around town!

Hope to see you there!

10 Essential Cookbooks

10 Essential Cookbooks

This is how I (Dana) came up with this list on Joel’s behalf….these are the ones that have perminent residency in our kitchen, the one’s that Joel regularly stuffs into a backpack (can you tell) to take with him for some ‘light reading’, or wind up stacked on the bedside table (yep, he reads cookbooks in bed) They are dog-eared, and have remnants of ingredients past between the pages. If they had them the dust jackets are long ago discarded or ruined. These are the one’s I always see him scribbling notes from, the ones that he sticks his nose into and comes out a few hours later brandishing something delicious for me to eat. A lot of them aren’t actually ‘cookbooks’ in the ‘full of recipes to follow’ sense.   Joel rarely uses a recipe and tends to use cookbooks for inspiration or as reference manuals for his cooking and preserving ‘experiments’. On more than one occasion people have referred to him as ‘the mad scientist’ (people who know him well, and people who don’t).

In no particular order (well…top to bottom in the picture)

River Cottage Handbooks (eg: No.2 Preserves, No.13 Curing and Smoking)

Ratio: the simple codes behind the craft of everyday cooking – Michael Ruhlman

The Complete Nose to Tail – Fergus Henderson

The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook – Niki Segnit

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen – Harold McGee

The Art of Fermentation - Sandor Katz

The Joy of Cooking - Irma Rombauer

 James Beards American Cookery - James Beard

How to Cook Everything – Mark Bittman

The Flavor Bible – Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

 * note: We’d love it if you would first consider shopping at your local independent book seller whenever you can. Full disclosure these are amazon affiliate links, it doesn’t cost you anything but if you decide to buy from amazon we get a small kickback from them. 


Hello – and an update!

(on the home page looking for our latest post? scroll down please!)

We’re writing our first Cookbook!

Our seasoned readers may have noticed a lull in activity around these parts. We apologize for that sincerely and thank you for sticking with us. We are writing our first Cookbook!  We have new friends at Random House Canada that we’re getting well aquainted with, especiallly our new family on the Appetite imprint. It’s definitely one of the most challenging projects we’ve ever taken on, but in spring of 2016 you’ll be able to hold in your hand in all it’s 300+ pages of hard bound papery analog goodness an amazing and beautiful book that will help you think differently about preserving whether you’re a seasoned veteran or brand new to the art.

Hello   and an update!

For some behind the scenes and little day-to-day updates you can follow us over here:

Twitter @wellpreserved  |  Instagram @wellpreserved  |  Facebook /wearewellpreserved

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Book Giveaway – Deer Hunting in Paris

Book Giveaway   Deer Hunting in Paris hunting giveaway books authors Update! Winner winner venison dinner! (see what I did there?). Just popped a couple of books into the mail to Jessica and Shannon. Hope you guys enjoy!

You can see Shannon’s comment below. I especially love and agree with this part: “Above everything, participating in the entire process from life to death, to cleaning, storing and cooking of your food, connects you in a way that picking a tray off a grocery shelf, cannot.”

Jessica commented on our instagram post, she teaches preserving classes in Calgary AB. Check out her site here.
“After 10 years of vegetarian living, I started eating meat again in 2009. The challenge was to still live within my ethics.”

***************************** Book review at bottom of post.

BOOK GIVEAWAY! Tell us a way in which you’ve challenged yourself to connect with your food. Comment on this post, and we will draw two names at random to receive a copy of Paula Young Lee’s “Deer Hunting in Paris” (signed paperback!) on November 10th.

(*I do understand that hunting can be a contentious subject and that there are many varied viewpoints.  The book is about one woman’s personal journey, if you’re not interested in reading it, I ask that you don’t comment so I don’t randomly draw your name. thank you).

the back story…. If you’ve been following us on Instagram this week you will have noticed Joel posting images from the woods. It’s hunting season. Joel is up north with his hunt camp as he is every year at this time for Moose week. But this year it’s a bit different. Usually I’m left here at home, the only ‘hunting bachelor(ette)’ that I knew of  here in the city. This year I’m joined by two friends, their spouses are with Joel up at Spikehorn for the hunt. We all have different experiences in the way that hunting entered our lives and our level of involvement, but we agree that it connects us with our food and makes us more conscious of the choices we make about food. What we also have in common is that we don’t plan on sitting on the sidelines forever, and as women, we have far fewer peers to look to in this area.

I got an email from Paula Young Lee in the spring, she wanted to talk to Joel about a book she was writing and thought some of her articles would interest us. We exchanged emails for a while, I looked up a bunch of her articles and one got my attention: “Nothing like ‘Duck Dynasty’ – my life as a female hunter. ”  . Joel had given me Georgia Pelligrini’s book for Christmas one year and while I enjoyed it, and the ‘novelty’ of a woman hunter… I didn’t connect with it, for many of the reasons Paula talks about in that article. I really appreciated the article, she writes intelligently on a topic I know from experience is tough (it took me hours to write THIS post) Plus she’s hilarious. So when she said her new book was called “Deer Hunting in Paris – a memoir of God, Guns and Game Meat” and asked if I wanted a copy to read and maybe a couple to give away, I said ‘absolutely’ and looked forward to receiving it. I also turned around and recommended it to a bunch of my friends (mainly the ones mentioned in the second paragraph of this post).

Truth be told, I am the slowest reader…it takes me months to get through a book (attention span and to-do list are the main culprits).  I’m not finished Deer Hunting in Paris yet, I’m really enjoying it. Reading Paula’s writing kind of feels like sitting across the table from her with a pint in hand while she tells you stories. She’s one of those people you’d get up from the table and say to yourself  ’this conversation changed me’. The story is uniquely hers but one that I can connect with way better than most of the other ‘girl hunters’. Her voice is a welcome one to me as I challenge myself to take baby steps toward my first hunt. She is inspiring me to add my voice on the matter more, here on wellpreserved. The ethos of wellpreserved is ultimately a better connection to the food we eat, and while hunting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I know for myself it’s an important topic to explore when it comes to food.  I’m going to follow up this post with my own mini-memoir/timeline of how hunting came into my life and my thoughts on the topic. I’m also hoping to introduce you to a few more ladies at various stages and with different perspectives.

On that note! Below is a review of Deer Hunting in Paris that my friend Kelly wrote for us.  She is a hunter, and my sister in ‘Toronto Women’s Adventure Team’ antics. Kelly and her husband are fellow foodnerds and preserving ‘enthusiasts’ (<cough>, obsessed). Her husband is currently the newest member of Joel’s hunt camp (one of the other beardy fellows you may see on our instagram feed). As I said at the beginning of this post. I’m really looking forward to reading your comments on ways in which you’ve challenged yourself to connect with what’s on your plate. I’ll draw 2 names from the comments to receive a copy of the book.

Deer Hunting in Paris, Paula Young Lee Kelly Moore

At first glance, Young’s book, Deer Hunting in Paris: A Memoir of God, Guns and Game grabbed my attention with a rudimentary diagram of how to break down a deer. Sure I’ve seen illustrations of a pig being broken down into cuts of pork – but venison? On the cover? And somehow God was going to be part of this delicious forest meat story – it became a must read for me…given that I have yet to figure out G-d in my life. I am so glad that I did read this memoir…it has delivered entertainment on so many levels.  From Young’s vivid recollection of her childhood as the daughter of a popular Korean pastor to her years as a poor student living in Paris working through food allergies, poverty and a long distance relationship and her evolution to her present day self as a huntress. I felt that she shared some of her most embarrassing moments in the name of literature, and I eagerly read each one – her lack of success at shooting clay pigeons as recounted through the words of the men as they dismiss her as having too big of a head to shoot without major concessions was hilarious. I could just imagine her face as they prattled on. Conversations between Young and her partner John are about ammo, dry socks and coffee for the hunt. I loved that I could relate to and follow the importance of their exchanges – I compared my experiences to many of hers as I read along, laughing at many of her forest/gotta-pee/animal poop in the forest stories. What I really enjoyed was the visceral descriptions of offal and Young’s ability to turn the least desirable cuts of meat into tender medallions. Her reverence of venison heart as the most sacred part of the deer was intriguing – I loved the play on endearment as John gifted her the heart of the deer that he had just harvested; he knew she would understand the metaphorical offering. Reading a memoir that includes an authentic recipe for preparing venison heart endeared me to Young -  I am the one that sends ziplock bags with the hunters and asks for the hearts of any  deer that they have harvested. I will definitely give her recipe a try – it has some of my favourite ingredients venison, bacon and red wine.

Join us for a Hands-On Fermenting Workshop!

Only 24 hours left

…to snag a VERY LIMITED number of spots for our Hands-On Fermenting Workshop in Manning Canning’s brand spankin’ new Commercial Rental Kitchen!! Head over to Christine’s ‘KitchenStarter Kickstarter‘ to pick them up (it’s the 8th one down). We’re really happy to help promote this project (as we said in this post )…it’s a really amazing much needed resource and hub for small food makers in our city.
Be one of the FIRST to experience it with us! 

Join us for a Hands On Fermenting Workshop!

Here’s the description:

Two tickets to a hands-on fermenting workshop with Dana and Joel from Well Preserved in the very space you helped fund. The workshop will teach you how to ferment 3 easy recipes that require no special equipment. You’ll learn about the science of fermentation and learn how simple it is to make things like kraut, pickles, hard cider and more. Participants will leave with a grab bag which includes a poster, samples of the recipes that they’ve made, and some small equipment that will make fermenting even more fun and easy for you. Fermentation class with be on one of these 3 dates – so please ensure you are available FEBRUARY 11, 18 or 25th (wednesdays).

Kickstarting: Manning Canning Rental Kitchen

Our friend (and past HomeEc and HomeEc Kitchen Big Outdoor Party participant), Christine Manning is in the middle of an incredibly ambitious, exciting and promising Kickstarter campaign – and she’s almost 50% of the way to achieving her $35,000 target!

Christine’s goal is as ambitious as her vision: one of the major obstacles of entrepreneurs starting local food businesses in Ontario is the lack of a commercial kitchen to prepare their food from. Without access to a commercial kitchen entrepreneurs cannot produce food which can be sold commercially.

Craft Brewers solve this problem through sharing facilities. Established brewers will rent their equipment to less established breweries to help them develop revenue streams and grow their businesses and brands until they can develop enough capital to start their own (or, in some cases, continue to live symbiotically). The Manning Canning Rentable Kitchen would provide a similar opportunity to entrepreneurs in the local food scene to grow and develop their brands as well as provide a space that she can grow her preserve business (which in turn supports farmers and other small food businesses in Toronto).

Here’s her video where she explains in in her own words:

Christine has a bunch of fun incentives on her Kickstarter (with more coming); so check it out over here! Supporting her will support many small food businesses and dreams in Toronto and the surrounding area!

Rooftop Bees at The Royal York in Toronto

As part of our HomeEc Big Outdoor Kitchen Party, we had the chance to take a small group of people onto the roof of the Fairmont Royal York (they were a sponsor of the event) to see their apiary (bee hives)!  The hives are perched well above the city and close to their rooftop garden.

The hives are located away from the area the general public has access to (they are about 30 feet away).  People used to have closer access to the bees but a few biting incidents resulted in the small barrier and it’s probably better for most people – and for the bees.

There were bees all through the garden though they really left us alone as they are prone to do.  The hotel harvests several hundred pounds of honey per year which it uses in it’s kitchens as well as mixing it into a special honey beer that’s only available at the hotel.  Beyond all else it was just super cool to see bees fitting into the urban landscape so effortlessly.


Rooftop Bees at The Royal York in Toronto Honey bees [Read more...]

Food Ethics: Exploring My Hipocrisy Around Food

I recently had the opportunity to share the stage at Raconteurs Storytelling in Toronto.  Racounteurs is an amazing project which assembles a bunch of speakers around a loose topic and each shares the stage with a story about the topic.

I decided to explore my relationship with food and, specifically, how my choices in food often make me feel like a hypocrite and how my relationship to food and what I eat has changed over the years (as I suspect it will continue to).  It’s fairly graphic and shares my experiences as a near-vegetarian, hunter, eater and as someone who spent a brief amount of time working on a pig farm, seeing chickens slaughtered and learning how to skin rabbits at the age of 4.

This video explains a lot of the motivation behind WellPreserved and the reasons why we continue to publish articles and learn more about what we eat.  I hope it also conveys that we aren’t judging others for their choices – I barely have my own figured out.

I hope you enjoy and would love to hear your thoughts or experiences.