Make Something, and Share it!

is our mission, and message.

Welcome to WellPreserved! We’re your hosts, Joel and Dana:

biophotos

Joel is a home cook and writer. He loves to cook a great meal, but beyond that he is passionate about learning, understanding the impact of our food choices, getting to know where food comes from and the people who help bring it to the table. This passion has resulted in over 1700 articles and recipes shared through several online communities anchored by wellpreserved.ca. Joel’s love of food takes him into the woods to forage and hunt, to meet farmers and chefs, and to explore the culture around food.

Dana’s love of great food is only matched by her love for tasty design. She’s been working as a professional graphic designer for almost 2 decades and eating for as long as she can remember. So she knows that both great food and great design make life better and she’s happy to have a hand in that wherever possible. As the Creative Director for WellPreserved she makes sure everything looks as good as it tastes, she’s also a good sous chef, dishwasher, instigator, connector and organizer.

Shaeffer is a dog; he’s a Vizsla, a Hungarian pointer. He eats an amazing number of vegetables for a dog, his favourites are arugula and kale and he competes with the worm bin for the carrot peelings. He makes sure that we are out of bed at the crack of farmers market opening so he remains instrumental in our preserving life.

WellPreserved was created on December 27, 2008 and is currently an archive of more than 1,700 articles. We write about topics that are broadly food-related including hunting, urban gardening, foraging, food security, small farms, farmers markets, sustainable fish, and of course preserving among many other things. WellPreserved is an extension of our kitchen and our life together.  The project has grown into a life-changing experience for us.

How has life changed since we started this project?  The easiest evidence is to take a peek at our pantry:

We live with 500-700 jars of preserves (some are stored here, some at Joel’s parent’s house and yet others tucked in various other places around the house).  Some are dehydrated, pressure canned, infused, water-bathed, fermented, and more.  We don’t sell our preserves (though we do swap many of them with others).  Despite working 12+ hours most weekdays we manage to preserve a significant portion of our local bounty and manage to mostly avoid shopping at grocery stores. But the biggest changes are often the most difficult to see.  This adventure has brought us many new friends, taught us many lessons, changed the way we eat and changed our views on what ‘good’ food means.  And while we try to avoid preaching we feel there’s a lot of room to improve our current food system. Our changes have come in small steps.  We didn’t set out planning to have a large pantry like this; it just sort-of happened.  If we had set that as an initial goal we would have likely become overwhelmed and quickly quit.  Change is a gradual process; we continue to learn and see just how much more there is left to know.

We are trying to lend our voice to the group of people who are trying to make good food accessible.  People like Jamie OliverMark Bittman, Hugh Fearing-Whittingstall and Nigel Slater.  Lots of our new friends inspire us as well including Tigz Hungry Tigress, Kate from Hip Girls, Marisa from Food in Jars, Meg at Grow and Resist, Julia (and what she ate), Kaela (Local Kitchen) and Shae from Hitchhiking to Heaven.  There are many, many more (boy do we need to get a links page; I feel badly about the huge amount of people we’ve left off this list – coming soon!).

We hope that you’ll find WellPreserved is a place to learn and share.  A place to get ideas on how to fit the pleasure of cooking and preserving into your life; regardless of how busy you are, how small your kitchen is or what your budget is.  We hope you’ll find a few laughs along the way and that you’ll join the conversations that happen here, with us on Twitter or Facebook too.  Perhaps you’ll come out to one of our events (like our monthly HomeEc event in Toronto and Columbus) or host a preserve swap with friends.

The success of this project is measured in your kitchen.  If after reading or connecting to our community, you try to make something new, learn to fit a batch of preserves into a busy week or create the time to share something, we’ll be achieving our goal.

Joel & Dana

(August, 2013)

If you’re looking for inspiration, consider signing up to our newsletter.  We send a weekly round-up of posts, links to seasonal articles from years past, behind the scenes insight, cooking tips and more.  We do not (and will never) sell your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

  1. thankyou for speaking to me about Scotland, my mother’s home place. I keep getting google alerts so came to your web site and love your aesthetic (particularly the jam pot) and so I have been interested to find you. I have been making preserves for 20 years and still love it. thanks for putting our two videos on your site to share.
    off to the pots -we are making a Silver Lime & Ginger marmalade today.

    Best wishes,

    June Taylor.

  2. Hey Joel! Too weird that I found your blog completely randomly and added you simply because I liked what you had to say without any idea it was you guys. Go figure! Good peops are ez to find. 🙂

    • Laughing – that is simply way too odd and way too wierd and fantastic all at once! Glad to have you on board – thanks for joining up and for the comment – great to find more great peops! j

  3. HI Guys,

    I’d love to be a part of your website (comment-wise) or at chat with you. I love food too and have always been in close touch with it — to explain that, it goes back to home ec. in grade 8 — I aced that course and then aced gr. 9 home ec., also food service mgmt. in gr. 13, and every time I took a career assessment in school, the first category that came up was food. And so on to university where I took a Nutrition degree and aced that too. Tried a dietetic internship and failed miserably, but realized I need to connect with food in person, so went to George Brown for Pastry Arts and aced that too.

    So as you can see I’m totally into food too and especially love old recipes of any type. I collect cookbooks and love recipes that allow me to create things that you can buy in the store but hardly ever make at home — like lollipops, or pickles or jams or chocolate pudding from scratch (like Jello, but cooked) and so on…….!

    Hope to hear from you and let me know how to join up or add your blog to facebook or wherever I can b/c I’m tech illiterate to a certain degree. I love to chat via email and FB, but other than that I am a Luddite. (see font result on FB)

    Dawn 🙂

    • Dawn,

      Thanks so much for the comment – love your passion and didn’t know about so much of your food past!

      Dana and I are working on some kind of solution to involve others and will make an announcement on the site in coming weeks – we’re trying to work out a few things to make it technically simple and don’t want to make it overbearing for other who want to be involved. We’d certainly love to learn from your tonne of experience and love the idea of knowing more about lollipops!!!

      Smiles, thanks for the post – I’ll make sure you know when we get our acts together for others to join in and if you’re interested then we’d be thrilled.

      j

  4. Hi Joel,

    After writing to you, all my past food adventures since college have come back to me…so if you don’t mind, here goes:

    For the past 10-ish years, I’ve been baking and cooking up a storm and have sold my wares in various places: Xmas cookies, fruitcake, jams and salsa to friends and co-workers (as munchies or Xmas gifts); sold cookie mixes and Xmas baking at local craft sales; sold buttertarts, candy and “killer” jams at the Markham farmer’s market; and have entered many breads, cakes, pastries, cookies and preserved stuff in the Markham fair — resulting in many ribbons! 🙂 I have also been a veggie gardener for many years and love making things with what we can’t eat, and also entering veggies in the Fair too. My best memory from the fair is winning 1st place for my Yukon Gold potatoes, b/c I had never grown a potato in my life! 🙂

    Last year’s garden provided a bounty of produce and I was very happy to turn our pears and tomatoes into “Pie in a jar”, bruschetta and pizza sauce. And I still have tomatoes in the freezer awaiting their rebirth as ketchup. 😉 I also got together with my sister and made dill pickles — which also earned a 1st place ribbon at the fair after not making them for a long time. Too funny!

    Anyway, I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to in food and that the Markham fair is a blast b/c I may not be the best at everything, but sometimes I do turn up a winner….:)

    Hope you are both keeping well and look forward to some more food!

    Dawn 🙂

  5. Hi Dana:
    Have been meaning to do this for some time now. I love your blog. Entertaining. Informative. Well designed (that’s no surprise!) and well worth the time to visit. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hey Joel & Dana!

    Great to finally meet you the other night at our stick party. We have heard all about you preserving adventures through Kerry. Look forward to reading the blog and the archives!

    Glad you enjoyed the dill beans and the garlic!
    See you soon!

    Patrick & Jessie

  7. Hi Joel & Dana,
    Gosh what a funny coincidence it is. I am passionate about canning and food preservation, the social history of food, and oddly enough, contemporary design too. I figured it was time I got with the program and started blogging about my own wonderous discoveries and odd experiments, and hopefully encounter like-minded souls out there. Alas, my first choice for blog title: “Well Preserved” is unavailable but my on-line wanderings have brought me here. And by happiest of coincidences, I see you also enjoy the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair. On that I must confess straightaway that not a one!! of my entries in the Preserves competition took a ribbon this year (sigh). But I must run – I have 16 pounds of green tomatoes on my counter threatening to turn red before I transform them in my non-prize-winning “green tomato and apple chutney”.
    Regards,
    Betsy

  8. Dear Well Preserved
    perhaps you can help me?
    I have been searching in Canada(London, Ontario to be exact) for those Zena Star potato peelers-and do you think I can find a Canadian.Ontario dealer? NOT!!!!! what a pain it has been for something that should be so simple with the internet and all.
    You mentioned them on your website-do you know where I can get a bunch of them in Canada-Ontario?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated
    cheers
    JIM

    • Hey there JIM,

      How frustrating!

      Canadian Tire has a knockoff that may be worth a try – http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/8/KitchenBath/GadgetsAccessories/Gadgets/PRD~0423158P/1-Touch%2BPower%2BBlade%2BPeeler.jsp – though it`s $15 and there`s a lot more plastic.

      There is also a booth on the second floor of the St Lawrence Market in Toronto which carry the peeler. It`s in the middle of the market, near Future Bakery and is the only booth of it`s kind (it is actually a store which has a tonne of cooking supplies and is one-of-a-kind). Next time I go I will check for a name.

      I`ll take a look next time I`m there (before XMas) and see if I can get any clues. Restaurant supply stores may also be a place to start. I will ask around and update in a few weeks and let you know what I find.

      🙂

  9. Greetings Jim and Joel,

    Jim contacted me (in error because I am not the author of this blog) about your post re Zena Star peeler. He’s been having trouble finding it in Ontario. I was intrigued myself and googled “Zena peeler Toronto”. I thought for sure I’d find some stripper named Zena, but no, my luck held and and the item has been located. At Swipe, a fab shop at 401 Richmond St West (near Spadina). They have a little write up rating it and so I’ve take the liberty of cutting and pasting this bit from their Kitchenware Archives, Feb 7, 2009 entry. See http://www.swipe.com/?p=870.

    “Zena Star Classic Peeler

    ✍1947: Alfred Neweczeral, Honoured with a postal stamp in Switzerland in 2003, the ubiquitous Zena peeler combines simplicity of manufacture with near perfect functionality. Thus the item can be manufactured in Switzerland and still be competitively priced. Watch the Food Network™ and you’ll generally be able to tell the professional chef from the celebrity by keeping a eye out for this tool”
    Zena Star Classic Peeler: $12.95
    _________________________________

    To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.

    Hope this helps everyone.

    • Awesome Betsy – this is in fact where we got ours originally. Swipe is an awesome design store (the peeler is a design icon) and wasnt sure they would still have them. As I recall they were cheaper at the Market but if swipe has them in stock that is a better guarantee than my memory!

      Thanks so much for sharing, it is time to head back to Swipe for a visit!

  10. I just found yoru blog today and i love it! great read, well-written and the pics are on point. look forward to flipping thru yoru archives later on tonight :-)-jay

  11. Absolutely unrelated to the blog – but my husband and I are taking a road trip in July from Ann Arbor to the the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. You seem to be into the same sorts of food, drink, and site-seeing that we are, so I was wondering if you could recommend anything to see/do/eat along the 401 or 403!

  12. Hey Joel,

    Ian suggested I take a look through your site as what I am looking for eludes me on the internet. I was hoping to meet up and talk with you when Ian and I were in Markham a couple of weeks ago for his annual meeting with all of you.

    Looking for as sugar-free process as possible – would like to use only lemon and/or lime juice as I like those flavours and you need them as well for acidity. I want to do an applesauce, and I will add in raspberries, peaches, nectarines, rhubarb, strawberries – maybe some mangoes – still want it chunky and will add in cinnamon and cardamom (which adds a lovely burst of lightness to the mixture). Might add a little maple syrup – it complements it well. I think I’ll call it Jumblerry Preserves.

    So far I’ve been cooking it up and eating it over a period of a week.

    Anyone with experience putting in the whole kit and caboodle into sealers – Processing time of what – 10 minutes? I would sincerely appreciate recipes.

    Yours thoughts please and any references you might have.

    Many Thanks,

    Liz

  13. Hi Joel and Dana,

    My name is Anneliese and I’m a marketing assistant at Simon and Schuster Canada.

    I maintain a database of foodies/food bloggers that we send finished copies of cookbooks and food related novels to and I’d love to add your blog to my database.

    If this is something that interests you please get in touch with me with your email and mailing address.

    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Best,
    Anneliese

    • Thanks Anneliese,

      awesome news. Have sent our details seperate – hopefully we can bring some great stuff to our readers together.

      For benefit of all, know that anything we review has two conditions:
      1) We personally love it.
      2) We`ll let you know if it was comp`d.

      If it`s posted here, we love it and we use it. 🙂

      Joel

  14. Hi Joel,

    First, great blog/site. I really enjoy the content.

    I also follow a blog that you may find interesting (I couldn’t find a contact form, so I’m posting this to the comments).

    The blog is called ‘The Locavore Hunter’ by Jack(son) Landers
    http://rule-303.blogspot.com/

    He’s big into conservation and his family decided not to consume any ‘processed’ meat anymore. His latest focus is on the hunting/using invasive or ‘alien’ species that threaten natural populations.

    It is, predominantly, a hunting blog – just with a different focus.

    Well, it’s back to reading the archives and waiting for some more great posts!

  15. Hi there Dana and Joel,

    I’m pretty excited to come accross this blog/web site regarding canning and preserving. If you ever have any questions regarding canning or preserving, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Best regards,

  16. Genetically modified food is our future. Actually, we already eat a lot of it. Is it safe?

    “- Media are invited to join Monsanto and other industry stakeholders for the official Grand Opening of the new, state-of-the-art Monsanto Canada Breeding Centre, located adjacent to Monsanto’s existing Canadian Head Office at the University of Manitoba’s Smartpark.Tues, November 23, 201010:30 am to 1:00 pm (lunch provided)”
    http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Monsanto-Canada-Breeding-Centre-Grand-Opening-1354370.htm

    Um… I’d skip the lunch.

    GMO crops are the main contributing factor in Colony Collapse Disorder which is decimating bee populations worldwide. We’re in for a future of eating gruel if we don’t do something fast. The mainstream media, big business and governments must stop whitewashing GMO science. http://www.energygrid.com/ecology/2010/03po-colonycollapse.html

    Somebody from the media needs to crash this party and ask the tough questions!

    Need motivation? Check these out:

    American Academy of Environmental Medicine calls for immediate moratorium: http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

    The World According to Monsanto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8hFuuDAZjk

    David vs. Monsanto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E42ndfjnP1g&feature=fvst

    The Future of Food: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9Y_QH_c70s

    Food, Inc.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eKYyD14d_0&feature=fvw

    Vanishing of the Bees: http://www.vanishingbees.com/

    RoundUp causes cancer: http://www.organicconsumers.org/Monsanto/glyphocancer.cfm

    Join the protest outside the event.

    Please tell a friend.

  17. Hey guys,

    I just got my prize package in the mail from the pimp your preserve contest. Made my day! Awesome shirt and I love the buttons!

  18. I’m wondering if anyone knows where to get Tattler canning lids in Ontario (Toronto specifically)? I can find them online, but I’d rather not ship them. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much, this blog is a great resource!

  19. Thanks so much Jake – I don`t know off hand but will also post this on our facebook group and update if we hear 🙂

  20. Hi there,

    I usually don’t do this sort of thing, but wanted to bring your attention to a mention of your blog in a recent post of mine when I received the “Irrestibly Sweet Blog Award”. I usually don’t respond to things like this, but it was forwarded to me by a friend of mine in London and I promised I would – I certainly don’t expect you to :). However, I did want to express my appreciation for your blog – I have found it truly inspirational, thought provoking and laughter inducing. So, thank you! You can read more about it at fruitslaborious.wordpress.com

  21. Hi Joel!

    My name is Andreea, I work with Kathleen Mackintosh, Grace Mandarano and Paul Sawtell at Ontario Artisan Share. We are a locally and organically/sustainably produced grocery delivery program. We do weekly home deliveries and deliver to workplaces as well. Our produce is harvested in Ontario a few days before our customers receive their cooler bag full of amazing food (the same food that some of the top restaurants in Toronto receive from our partner company, 100km Foods Inc.) Our cooler bags are filled with fruits, vegetables, pantry staples, cheese and meat, if you choose the meat option, and all of that minus the meat if you choose the vegetarian option.

    I was wondering if I could send you a complimentary bag and if you like it maybe you could blog about it and tell people what you thought.

    You can contact me at sales@ontarioartisanshare.ca

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

    Andreea

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  23. I am in dire need of help with creating larger recipes of jams. I have been testing recipes using the standard home size recipe that yields about 30-40 ounces per batch and they set up beautifully. However, I now need to be able to make larger batches, maybe 3-4x that size at one time. Nothing I do is getting these batches to set up correctly. I have tried CERTO, Sure Jel, and a few varieties from Pacific Pectin which I found online (powdered forms and one they make that is reconstituted to mimic CERTO liquid). I am using large stainless pots, cooking to 220, testing with frozen spoons for gelling….all the methods that I have read that are supposed to work for the smaller batches. I know so many resources say “don’t double your batch” which OK I can understand that for home use, but I need to figure it out for production purposes in the small company I now work for. It doesn’t have to be MASS production. We aren’t pumping jam into jars. It’s still the same “small batch” method…just not as small as a normal home recipe (cooking over a hot stove, water bath canning,etc). WHat is the secret to making larger batches? WHy won’t a double or triple batch set up? Our largest pot is about 12 qt at this time and the largest batch I’ve cooked bubbles up to about 60% full. I have a brand new digital probe thermometer that I’ve tested against the normal candy thermometer you can buy at most kitchen stores. They both are reading within 1-2 degrees of each other. I have been told that pectin reaches it’s activation point at 220 and “cannot be over cooked” (according to a technician at Pacific Pectin), although I take the batch off the heat once I feel like it’s reached the temp and a spoon test shows signs of gelling. Once it cools to 175-180, it then reaches it’s set point and should not be reheated and expect it to set again. I don’t have a BRIX or pH meter but if small batches set, you’d think the balance is there when you use the same proportions in the 2x-3x recipe. We’d like to keep the cooking to a minimum in order to achieve the fresh flavors in the spreads. We just can’t seem to get a good set in the larger batches. What is the trick? If other companies can make larger batches, what are they doing that I am not? I am so frustrated and waisting so much money with all of these trials…I’m at my wits end. I don’t want to send these products to copackers but if that’s all I can do…then I guess that will happen.

    I had to reach out to those of you who might have some knowledge about this. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help. I am in a time crunch now and I need answers. I feel like a total failure at this point.

    Do I have to adjust the recipes in other ways in order to achieve a good set? I don’t want thick gelatinous goo. I don’t want a saucy mess either.

    Ang

    • Ang,

      the best article I know of to help you know what’s going ‘wrong’ is from Fooe in Jars: http://www.foodinjars.com/2011/01/canning-101-why-you-shouldnt-double-batches-of-jam/

      I think you’ll find a lot of difficulty taking a ‘normal’ recipe and increasing it – I, like Marisa, would reccomend you just make 3 or 4 regular batches – it won’t take that much longer (you can use multiple pots or cook batch 2 while batch 1 is processing.

      Alternately you may look up recipes specific for larger portions.

      I’m afraid I haven’t made large batches and find myself making smaller ones each year so I don’t have a lot of direct experience that can help. I can imagine the frusration though…

      You could also experiment with a small amount of agar but wouldn’t know te ratios… 🙂

      Runny jam is great for baking, brunch and beverages…

  24. hi Angela,

    If you’re doing quick cook jams with certo-type pectins, then evaporation is not what you want. There are – you probably know this already- a) traditional slow cooked jams with no added commercial pectin, that are cooked down slowly and the thickening occurs primarily thru evaporation, not thru gelation (which is a chemical process); and b) quick cook jams, typically made with added pectin, that are essentially hydro-colloidal suspensions involving acid, sugar and pectin all in the right proportion at the right temperature. The former have a distinctly caramelized, brownish colour and taste; the latter aim to retain the bright, fresh fruit colours and taste – with just enough cooking to reach the gel point and no evaporation.

    The certo-type pectins are made for small batch use at home. You will run into trouble with them when using in larger batches because:
    a) they are taking too long to reach the right temp – by which time you’ve wrecked the pectin; and/or
    b) you’ve got the wrong proportion of fruit, to added acid (if any), to sugar to pectin.

    The problem is probably multi-fold. Having experienced these problems myself, I had better luck using:
    – a steam jacketed pot (found in large commercial kitchens) that heat evenly on 3 sides – allowing for the batch to brought to the right temp in shorter time than with conventional cooking pots;
    – professional/processing pectins. These are calibrated to work with different pH, with lower sugar than the certo-type products, and have a higher tolerance for cook temp and are thermo-reversible (good for baking applications).

    Do some research online this weekend into pectin manufacturers, and start calling them Monday. Their sales reps should be knowledgeable enough to identify some pectins that might work. Try several manufacturers since there are hundreds of different pectins, all with slightly different formulations. Over the weekend, can you transfer your raw ingredients into weight? They will want it that way since the correct pectin quantity will depend on the weight of other ingredients. They may ask for this data on an excell spread sheet so be prepared.
    Do you have a decent pH meter? I mean one that measures with an accuracy of 0.01-0.02, and has a temperature compensation feature? These will set you back $600+ but you will need one. Try Canadawide Scientific. Again, call them Monday – they can courier overnight from Quebec (if you are in Canada).

    I’m not sure where you are located, but is there a food produce development office in your area that can help you with this? Some culinary colleges have; in the US the resources for fledgling processor entrepreneurs are pretty good – usually found thru universities – and they do it for less$$$.

    Getting all this worked out will take time. If you are really really up against a delivery deadline, (if it were me), abandon your current approach. Do in small batches (no more than double batch) to get it done, and when you’ve less panicky, sort out these issues here.

    Hope this helps.

    Betsy

    • Matt,

      As much as I would love to I think it could be tough logistically – work (i.e. the daytime job) is pretty busy right now… Tough to cover it if I’m not there; unless you can think of any ideas? If so, my direct email is weaarewellpreserved (a) elevenideas.ca – I’d love to work with it and open to the idea of doing pieces with others. 🙂

      Joel

    • Debbie,

      it was with good reason – they were scattered in posts as we were building it out. The menu/ links have just been launched today! You’ll find recipes under cooking or preserving depending what you are looking for (they are both broken down further).

      Let us know what you think of the menu/ navigation – hope it’s useful! Here’s a link to the announcement today:
      http://wellpreserved.ca/2012/05/10/launching-our-menu-system/

  25. I’ve been following your beautiful and useful blog for about a year now. Thanks for all the wonderful info. Just wanted to let you know that ever since the revamp of the site it seemed to me that there were no photos in the posts, which I thought strange. I use Google Reader. Today I realized your photos don’t come across on Google Reader, but they used to. Is that something you could fix? Would really appreciate it.
    Thanks!

  26. Heya,

    We met at the Party For No Reason. Kristin and Dan are dear friends of ours. Check it out. I make jam and confiture like mental. I placed last year in the Royal Winter Fair! It’s created a bit of a preserving monster in me. I wanted to know how you guys print/make such rad labels. I’d like some really gorgeous labels for all of my jams this year and I don’t know where to start. Awesomeness….Kat

  27. I would like to send you a press release about our Master Food Preserver class graduation. How can I do that? Wait! I just thought of this — since you moderate comments, I will share it here — you don’t have to post it — but if you want me to add you to a press list, please connect with me via the email addy above. THANK you!!

    Media inquiries: Sarah A. Spitz, sasco1900@gmail.com
    Public inquiries: mfpla@ucdavis.edu

    For Immediate Release
    June 5, 2012

    Eighteen New UCCE/LA County
    Master Food Preservers
    Graduate Today

    Los Angeles, CA—On June 5, 2012, eighteen new trainees will graduate and be certified as UC Cooperative Extension Master Food Preservers for Los Angeles County (MFPLA). They will join 36 other certified trainees as the third class to graduate from this volunteer teacher-training program. The first two sessions were offered in 2011 during spring and fall.

    The mission of the Los Angeles County Master Food Preservers is to train volunteers to teach in low-resource communities, demonstrating how to safely preserve foods at home. Among the volunteer teachers are chefs, caterers, nonprofit leaders, homesteaders, bakers and breadmakers, farmers market employees, journalists, lawyers and a whole host of others concerned with re-skilling the community.

    Some of the skills MFPs learn are dehydration, fermentation, freezing, water bath canning, pressure canning, charcuterie, cheese and yogurt making, pickling, jams, jellies, marmalades, and emergency food preparation. All graduates are certified as UC Master Food Preservers, utilizing USDA standards.

    For many years, UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) maintained active Master Food Preserver certification and training courses in counties throughout the state. However, for fourteen years, the Los Angeles County program had been suspended due to a lack of funding.

    Due to the economic downturn, interest in home gardening and urban agriculture grew, and Los Angeles County residents began asking once again how to save their harvested bounty beyond the growing season.

    Chef Ernest Miller of the nonprofit SEE-LA’s Hollywood Farmers Kitchen saw the demand for food preservation rising. After being certified as Master Food Preserver in San Bernardino County, Miller went on a mission to revive the program in Los Angeles County.

    For 12 weeks after work, he made the 100-mile weekly trip to San Bernardino County, the only active training program in Southern California at the time, to earn his certification. As a Los Angeles County Master Gardener, he offered a series of four demonstration classes to the Master Gardeners, to assess interest in re-establishing the program. The response was overwhelming.

    Former UC Cooperative Extension County Director Rachel Surls found a way to provide funding through an existing grant. The program was reborn in March 2011, with the first class graduating in June and the second class in November.

    Now, the program is offered just once a year. Supervision of the program is provided by Brenda Roche Wolford, a nutrition expert with UC Cooperative Extension. The program is continuing to be rebuilt from the ground up by the volunteers who are in it, from creating lesson plans for class and public instruction, to fundraising, to teaching and more.

    The food preservation movement is spreading. Contacts from the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaii have been asking for program advice. Orange County MFPs are active with the Orange County Fair and Humboldt County MFPs write for the local paper in addition to teaching public classes.

    LA County Master Food Preservers answer questions from the general public and offer classes or demonstrations at various locations. They have a major presence at the LA County Fair, and volunteers are seen throughout Los Angeles at food festivals, civic events, community gardens and anywhere that they are called upon by the community to teach and demonstrate food safety.

    A sampling of the 36 trainees includes:

    • Alexandra Agajanian, assistant manager, Hollywood Farmers Market
    • Pascal Baudar, wild food expert, forager and preserver, Urban Outdoor Skills, Transitional Gastronomy
    • Chef Paul Buchanan, Primal Alchemy Catering
    • Jennie Cook, Jennie Cooks catering and school food advocate
    • Felicia Friesema, LA Weekly farmers market reporter, Slow Food Los
    Angeles director, communications director Foothill Transit Authority
    • Clemence Gossett, GOURMANDISE School of Cooking
    • Meg Glasser, UCCE-LA County Master Gardener; Managing Director, Food Forward
    • Emily Ho, Sustainable Foodworks and blogger/writer, Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchen
    • David King, UCCE-LA County Master Gardener; Gardenmaster The Learning Garden; founder SLOLA (Seed Library of Los Angeles)
    • Jessica Koslow, SQUIRL artisan organic farm fruit preserve maker (used at ShortCake, Nancy Silverton bakery)
    • Erik Knutzen, author, The Urban Homestead and Making It; blogger RootSimple.com
    • David Mashore, UCCE-LA County Master Gardener, designer, Antelope Valley
    • Jake Mumm, UCCE-LA County Master Gardener; Head Start cook
    • Rachael Narins, UCCE-LA County Master Gardener; Thomas E. Starr Middle School Garden teacher; partner of Chicks with Knives
    • Jimmy Ng, Project Director, The Growing Experience community farm at Carmelitos Housing Development.
    • Craig Ruggless, Winnetka Farms (sub-urban homestead)
    • Stephen Rudicel, Press Restaurant, Claremont; Mariposa Creamery, Altadena (goat herder, cheesemaker)
    • Joseph Shuldiner, author “Pure Vegan: 70 Recipes for Beautiful Meals and Clean Living,” co-founder, Institute of Domestic Technology and Altadena Farmers Market
    • Kevin West, journalist, blogger (Preserving the Season), author (Preserving the Season, Spring 2013)
    • Patricia Zarate, Chef of Homegirl Cafe

    To contact the Los Angeles County Master Food Preserver program and request volunteers, email mfpla@ucdavis.edu. To find more information and a calendar of events, please visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mfpla, our blog at http://ucanr.org/blogs/MFPLA or the program’s website at http://celosangeles.ucdavis.edu.

    # # #

  28. Hi, I would like to thank you for posting the article on “Fence Gardens”. I have a major problem having to let my goats free range due to HIGH FEED COSTS but they have learned that my garden is an excellent source of tasty, tender vegetation! I have been pulling my hair out trying to figure out a way to have my garden where I can keep the goats out without having the expense of having to install a fence to keep them out. Voila’, you have solved my problem for me! I have a large storage shed and a barn that I can attach a FENCE GARDEN to and raise all the veggies I want! I’m going to modify your version a bit and plant shallow rooted veggies in rain gutter which will be WATERED from the roof of the shed and barn roofs. Holes will be drilled in the bottoms of each row of gutter so that the water passes thru the tiers of gutter down into the ones underneath. Rocks of course will be put in the bottom for better drainage. More holes will be put in the top gutter to allow more water to flow thru as it will be the first to receive the deluge of rain water from the roof. Now just gotta figure out how to prevent all the water from leaching all the nutrients from the top row of the gutter planter. LOVE YOUR SITE!!

  29. Hi you guys. I know you are pleased with the org. structure of your site, but I still YEARN for a timeline (October, November etc posts). Otherwise I feel lost in an ocean of unmapped sensory experiences, and that just doesn’t suit my way of thinking! PLEASE consider putting up a timeline on the right side of the page, like almost all other blogs – so on a slow night when I am finally sitting down to catch up, I don’t have to go back to facebook to follow you guys chronologically!

  30. Hi,
    I randomly came across your site on Facebook a few months ago – something about hot peppers caught my interest – and have been following from a distance since.

    I live in Barbados and am thinking about growing the new world’s hottest pepper – Moruga Scorpion Pepper – which hails from the Caribbean (neighbouring island of Trinidad). Why? Lots of land to spare. Monkeys won’t eat it (they’re a real hassle). The bugs won’t eat it (also a nuisance). Praedial larceny is unlikely. But most of all I thought that tourists might be interested in the pepper – either foodies or as a gimicky souvenir.

    I am considering flavouring white rum. Have you tried this?

    I like your idea about flavoured salt. I’m going to try it.

    I’m going to develop a Caribbean inspired pepper sauce. I haven’t figured it out yet – mangoes… papaya… maybe soursop. Any thoughts?

    What would you do with the Scorpion pepper to create a viable Caribbean-product?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    M.

  31. Hi there!
    I am a fourth year journalism student and in order to graduate I have to write a 3,500 word paper. I chose to write about the hunting and it has turned into a paper about how hunting may be a healthier way to eat meat! I was directed to your website and would love to have the chance to talk to you! I am not sure how to contact you other than this! If you could email me at:
    hawkins.madison@yahoo.ca that would be super appreciate it !
    thanks 🙂
    – Madison Hawkins

  32. I come to your blog via a salted-herbs search as I attempt to put interesting food by aboard a sailboat, presently in Panama departing for points south and west. Sometimes we have access to lots of stuff, and then months away. I’ll look forward to delving into the site when not on a smart phone.