Rooftop Garden at The Fairmont Royal York Toronto

As part of our Big Outdoor Kitchen Party, we had the opportunity to take a small group of people onto the rooftop garden and apiary of the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto (who sponsored the event).

We brought 18 people onto the roof and were given a tour and were impressed by the garden (which is used as an educational and inspirational garden for the kitchen and small groups like ours).  We’ll share more about the bees on Monday.

The tour showed the dramatic contrast between the thriving gardens and the giant buildings which surround it.  It was fantastically interesting and peaceful – it was easy to forget we were 12 stories over the city.

Rooftop Garden at The Fairmont Royal York Toronto

Rooftop Garden at The Fairmont Royal York Toronto

[Read more...]

HomeEc: The Big Outdoor Kitchen Party

We’re recovering from the HomeEc Big Outdoor Kitchen Party; more than 20 vendors, speakers, authors and other food nerds joined close to 1,000 visitors to celebrate local food, preserving and our shared passions around making stuff.

I’ll be sharing a review of the weekend and a bunch of posts based on the event and some of the things that happened in the last week but today isn’t a day for celebrating – it’s a day to be thankful.

This event would not have happened without any of the following so I thank all of you loudly and without ranking you:

  • The people who attended.  Who engaged with our friends who had booths or shared the stage and tried their food and bought stuff to take with them.  Without you, this event would not have been as fun or successful as it was.
  • The people who promoted and shared on social media.  We had a massive groundswell of support on social media in the days leading up to the event; thank you for getting the word out and about town.
  • The people who cheered us on from around the world who couldn’t make it.  We received emails, tweets and messages from people from all over this community who encouraged us to keep going.  THANK YOU.
  • The Fairmont Royal York who sponsored the event, provided accommodations for our guest and gave a small group of us a private tour of their rooftop garden and apiary.  We also tried their honey beer and it was great!
  • Marisa McClellan (Food in Jars) who flew here from Philadelphia.  She’s been an online friend for more than half-a-decade and I’m thrilled that Dana and I can now call her a friend in ‘real life’ as well.
  • Our recipe developers who I have tried to keep up with but struggled with the volume of questions and the launching of this event.  You’ve all been supportive and I’ll be ramping up more writing/ communication now that life is coming back to normal!
  • Appetite/ Random House for being part of our events and supporting us while we launch an event like this and try to keep up to our writing schedule, photographs and recipe development.
  • Harborfront Centre and Sarah Gillett for taking a risk on us.  We had managed popups for years but nothing of this scale.  They supported us through the event and we were fortunate to have partners like them.
  • Our vendors and speakers who we are proud to call friends (a few of them are newer than others but this was truly a group of people who we genuinely like as people as well as for the businesses that they lead).
  • Friends and family who continue to go above and beyond, especially when we choose to chase wacky ideas.  They’re constantly there, pitching in, showing up at our events, making us smile, cheering us on and doing the heavy lifting without a complaint.

I hope I haven’t missed anyone though I always fear I have.

We’ll share more soon – but I can’t find the words to express just how thankful we are for each of you.

PS If you attended the event – we’d love to have your feedback in case we decide to do this again!

Schedule of Speakers for Today’s Kitchen Party

We’re getting so very close to #WPKitchenParty (Canada’s largest celebration of preserving) – here’s the schedule of talks and demos for tomorrow (Sunday, September 14, 2014):

Schedule of Speakers for Todays Kitchen Party

In addition to talks and demos, you can eat, sample and buy great food and drink, small batch preserves and artisanal food products. Honey, jam, jelly, pickles, kimchi, goat milk chocolate, local non-GMO cooking oils, hot sauces and more! Enjoy some great food, a glass of local wine, mead, cider or kombucha and talk preserving, farming and food with one of the many experts on site.

Schedule of Speakers for Todays Kitchen Party

We are excited to have Marisa McClellan from Food in Jars visiting us this weekend! She arrives tomorrow and is doing a small (sold out) intimate preserving class with us. We’ll be touring around Toronto all weekend but you can come out and meet her on SUNDAY at the Kitchen Party (did I mention…it’s FREE?) Bring a copy of Food in Jars or Preserving by the Pint for Marisa to sign (she’ll have a very limited number of copies available for sale…i’d love to encourage you to buy from your local small book seller like: The Cookery on Roncy, or Type Books on Queen or Good Egg in Kensington!).

The event runs from 11-5 (and it’s free).  You’ll find us at the North Exhibition Common, which is part of Harbourfront Centre) – there’s a map in the post card above (or on GoogleMaps)

Hope to see you there!

We’ve Been Busy!

Hi Everyone! You may have noticed a lull in our usually consistent posting here. We’ve been so busy with great WellPreserved projects!

We hope you’re having a great preserving season – there’s 7 years worth of preserving recipes and inspiration to be had here in the archives. Along the top of the page (look up!…way up) is an alphabetical menu of ingredients…so if you’re looking for ideas that are specific for something you’re preserving, that’s where to look!

Here’s what we’ve been busy on…..first is The Home Ec Big Outdoor Kitchen Party that we’re throwing here in Toronto!! Hope you can come out and meet us and some of our great guests FACE-to-FACE this sunday! Loads of FREE demos and talks…more information and a full list of participants and presenters HERE

and Marisa is coming!!

Weve Been Busy!

We are excited to have Marisa McClellan from Food in Jars visiting us this weekend! She arrives tomorrow and is doing a small (sold out) intimate preserving class with us. We’ll be touring around Toronto all weekend but you can come out and meet her on SUNDAY at the Kitchen Party (did I mention…it’s FREE?) Bring a copy of Food in Jars or Preserving by the Pint for Marisa to sign (she’ll have a very limited number of copies available for sale…i’d love to encourage you to buy from your local small book seller like: The Cookery on Roncy, or Type Books on Queen or Good Egg in Kensington!).

Also bring your copies of Meghan Telpner’s “Undiet” and David Ort’s “The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook” as they will both be on hand presenting!

Weve Been Busy!

Free Event! No ticket required! Come all Day!!

and of course…we’ve also been hard at work on our OWN cookbook. In the past few months HUNDREDS of preserving and cooking recipes have been developed and have been sent out all over the world for testing! We spent Labour Day Weekend in the kitchen testing them out ourselves and making sure we have enough for photography and testing the other great meal recipes in the book.

We also finished our first photoshoot, follow us on Instagram and check out the hashtag #BatchCookbook to see some outtakes and watch our amazing photographer Margaret Mulligan literally scale walls to get the perfect shot. You’ll have to wait until 2016 to get your hands on it though so mark your calendar. It’s going to be EPIC.

We will be getting back to regular posting and creating our weekly newsletter in the next couple of weeks. In the mean time you can sign up for it over there in the sidebar. It’s only going to get better this year!!!

* yes…this is a LOT for 2 people (with other full time jobs)… it truly does ‘take a village’ and we’d really never ever be able to do any of this great stuff without the help and support of all of our friends and family and the amazing community of canners and preservers and food/restaurant/writers in Toronto and afar…so THANK YOU (there will be many thank you’s this year!!).




Joel in the Toronto Star – Supporting Big Ideas

I had a chance to appear in the Toronto Star last week (that’s me in the bottom right):

Joel in the Toronto Star   Supporting Big Ideas

The Star has been running a piece on ‘Big Ideas.’  Past speakers from TEDxToronto were invited to choose one of the ‘top’ ideas and support the idea that they thought could have a significant impact on our city.  I choose to support Adopt a bold food strategy.  My justification for such was:

Transforming our food policy has the potential to reduce congestion on roads with less need to transport (food), lower cost of healthy food by building infrastructure, reduce waste, decrease health costs, lower hunger, increase food security, lower cost of living, lower the environmental impact of our food system, increase employment and enhance community. Every one of us needs to eat. By improving food policy we are improving the quality of life for every individual, and this is why it has my vote.

It was a lot of fun to be part of – especially since many of the people that I share the page with have become friends and people who inspire me greatly since speaking at TEDxToronto.

What would be your big idea to change your world?

A giant thanks to the TEDxToronto team for inviting me to be part of this!

We’re Back….!


I know that I suddenly disappeared about two weeks ago – all is well and I’m glad to be back.  Where have I/ we been?

We’ve been here:

Were Back....!

I know that’s a little obscure on the surface, so let me dive a little deeper: that’s a photo of a spreadsheet with 56,000+ cells of data (i.e. I’m not counting the blanks).  It took about 6 weeks to create and I had to give in to allow it to take over every free minute (quite literally) so that I could get a handle on organizing recipe testing for our upcoming book.

I’m really excited about the book and believe it will be incredibly easy to follow – but it’s a nightmare to coordinate testing!  The book takes a look at large spectrum of preserving and cooking (from making booze to air drying vegetables) that create a challenge when assigning recipes for testing!

We’re in the final process of sending recipes (the remaining are all late-harvest ingredients which I expect to finish in the next few days though I keep thinking I’m going to finish ‘tomorrow’ and, even with 10 hours of work, it doesn’t happen) to the initial group of testers.  If you applied to test and haven’t heard anything yet know that I’ll be in touch with some fall recipes in the next few weeks once I see which recipes have been tested and which ones still lack volunteers.

I can’t say this enough: we’re incredibly fortunate to have the support of the people we do.  Emails have been coming in from around the world as people ask questions and share their ideas.  It’s slightly overwhelming but only because we both feel so unbelievably supported by so many.  I’ve run out of words to say thanks but there are moments that I can barely sleep as I reflect on the good fortune that so many are bringing through their help.  You will make this book better than I/we ever could alone.

I believe I’ll be back to regular posting as of this week as well.  I may miss a day or two in the coming month but things are already feeling much more manageable (though we do have 150 recipes to make as we prepare for photoshoots for the book!)

We’ll also have some really exciting news to share later this week about the Big Outdoor Kitchen Party.

When Did Whipping Cream Gain Ingredients?

When I was a child the ingredient list of whipping cream looked like this:

  • cream

Now some look like this:

  • Cream
  • milk
  • carrageenan
  • mono and dyglycerides
  • carboxymethyl cellulose
  • polysorbate

To decode a few of those:

  • carrageenan = a thickening agent made from seaweed.  Some say that it interferes with your guthealth.  It’s used to improve the consistency/ texture of things (and was most recently part of the mass exodus that had people steering away from commercially manufactured almond milk).  You can read about it here as well as a balanced article on the two types of carrageenan that exist (and how different they are).
  • mono and dyglycerides = similar to Transfats these are “commonly used to combine ingredients containing fats with those containing water, two types of ingredients that don’t ordinarily combine well” (source).  It’s made from seaweed and some claim it’s carcinogenic.
  • carboxymethyl cellulose = A synthetic thickener and taste enhancer (it’s creamy) which is soluable in liquid.
  • polysorbate = another emulsifier used to mix fat and water.

The “new and improved” list of ingredients claim to make the cream easier to whip.

I hadn’t noticed this until the weekend when a friend pointed it out.  You can still buy cream like the first option (such as this which is NOT a sponsored link in any form).

I don’t know which you’d prefer; for me I’ll be sticking with Door #1 for as long as I can…

Cherry Ricotta Maple Rum Galette


Cherry Ricotta Maple Rum Galette Cherry [Read more...]

Maple Ginger Plum Sauce Recipe (Fridge Preserve)

I really love fridge/ freezer jams.  They’re easy to make and can easily preserve fruit that you’re on the verge of losing.

I found a pint of early (young) plums at the back of the fridge today.  They weren’t quite on their last legs but it was clear they only had a day or two left before they’d be compost.  This sauce only took a few minutes of active time (and about 40 minutes of cooking) to make and will last for weeks, or longer, in the fridge.

This quick plum sauce is tart and mildly spiced.  Although it includes cayenne, it’s not specifically hot.  It is tart and sweet and would be an ideal glaze for ham, spread on cured meat or BBQ chicken.  It could also be a step-up from the dipping sauce the comes with egg rolls and serve as a good sauce for that or cold rolls.  I’d also try it on top of chèvre, ricotta or brie.

Maple Ginger Plum Sauce Recipe (Fridge Preserve) Plum [Read more...]

How to Preserve Plums: A Round-Up

We send a weekly newsletter focused on a single-topic related to preserving, cooking, local food, foraging, gardening or something else.  Our goal with the newsletter is “to be the most useful resource in your inbox.”  The newsletter includes links to many other websites with ideas sharing knowledge about the topic as well as original content, announcements and occasional contests from us as well.  As an added bonus we send all subscribers the link to a file for labels that Dana hand-designed so you can print your own designer labels to decorate your jars.  You can sign up here.

This weeks theme was: Plums!  New preservers will find everything they need to learn to preserve plums and veterans will (hopefully) find new ideas and great preserving ideas for one for the many different ways you can put plums up.

How to Preserve Plums: A Round Up round  Plum

The Basics

Waterbath Canning

  • Apple-Plum Sauce (Tiny Prairie Farm).  If you can make applesauce and you can make plumsauce, why not combine the two?
  • Plum Sauce with Wild Plums (  I ador Hank Shaw, his books and website.  And now I want to find me some wild plums too!
  • Plums and Honey (Food in Jars) Marisa is on our newsletter almost every week – she has so many recipes and I love this one for it’s use of honey; I bet the plums taste like candy when done!
  • Jalapeno-Honey Plum Jam (The Lazy Homesteader) I’m a fan of the hot stuff and this sounds like fun.  The name of the website also made me chuckle.
  • Raspberry Plum Jam (Completely Delicious) A no-pectin jam that combines raspberries and plums; raspberries would add plenty of pectin while plums would add a soften the texture to balance the seeds.  It’s a neat idea.


  • Plum Wine (GrapeStomper) This no-nonsense link has 2 recipes with no photos and walks you through the fundamentals of making plum wine.
  • How to Make Plum Wine (Wine Making Guides) If you like to get right to the point, this is a link for you.  The process of making plum wine explained in less than 300 words.  Booya!
  • Fermented Fruit Kvass (Green Kitchen Stories) Honey, ginger and fruit are fermented into a low-alcohol (similar to kombucha) beverage that’s perfect for summer!
  • Fermented Plum Brandy (Fresh Bites Daily)  Just a fantastic idea.  Really.
  • Plum (and other fruit) Vinegar (Organic Authority)  Not all fermenting is booze – here’s a quick guide to turning any fruit into vinegar!
  • Lacto-Fermented Plums (Rene Redzepi/ Noma) He is one of the best Chefs in the world.  And he shows you how to ferment plums in a video in less than 1.5 minutes!
  • Fermented Dark Plum Jam (Rejoice In Life) Jam made with honey that’s fermented for a few days on your counter before being stored in the fridge.  If you haven’t tried fermented jam yet, you’re missing out!


  • How to Dry Plums (An Oregon Cottage)  These look simply beautiful and will be part of my kitchen in the near future!
  • Dried Plums or Prunes (Not Quite Nigella)  How to dehydrate plums in your oven (though my oven doesn’t go quite low enough).  The same recipe could be done in a dehydrator (though I’d dehydrate them around 135 degrees).
  • How to Make Fruit Plum Leather (Natasha’s Kitchen)  I didn’t eat fruit roll-ups very often as a child but they have a special place in my heart; especially when they are homemade.
  • Plum-Berry-Balsamic Fruit Leather (Hitchhiking to Heaven) Shae has been an on-line friend for many years and I love her recipes and am especially fond of the idea of adding acid to a fruit leather.
  • Homemade Umeboshi (Just Hungry).  Umeboshi is one of my all-time favorite ingredients.  We don’t have the ‘right’ plums to make these in most (if not all) of North America but there are some clever attempts like these – and I’m betting it would be touch to tell the difference based on some of the experiments we’ve done around the house.

Fridge or Freezer

  • How to Freeze a Plum (National Center for Home Food Preservation).  The no-nonsense guide to freezing plums.
  • How to Freeze Plums (I Hear Them All) I’ve never used a cherry pitter to pit a plum but this recipe makes it look easy.
  • Plum and Apple Freezer Compote (Mostly Eating) An easy way to preserve plums.
  • Plum Chutney/ Relish for the Fridge (Monsoon Spice) The idea of making ‘plum relish’ is new to me but I’d really like to use this on tacos or salads.
  • Spicy Sour Plum Chutney (tarladalal) I’m a big fan of sour food (I’m drinking a sour beer as I write this) and I think it’s a flavor that’s often overlooked in a lot of cooking, including mine.
  • Plum Chutney (Vah Rev Vah)  This is aggressively spiced (though not necessarily spicy) and I can’t imagine what it tastes like – which is why I’ve included it and will be making it in the next two weeks.


  • Pear Infused Brandy (Island Vittles)  A classic combination and something I wish I knew about when my first mentor was alive.  We would often sip brandy together after long days of work and this would have made those evenings even sweeter!
  • Drunken Plums in Vodka (City Boy Hens) I thought the name was funny; vodka is a good ingredient to learn to infuse with as it has little flavour so it’s difficult to mess up).
  • Infuse Your Booze (Northwest Edible Life)  A fantastic primer on all sorts of infusing (they reccomend putting plums and cinamon in brandy!)


  • Silovitz ( This is the absolutely zaniest recipe for preserving I’ve ever shared.  I can’t even try to describe what is done here – but if you want to make a whole lotta something that can eventually be distilled to make a whole lotta brandy this is the place to go.

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