Summer cooking and canning classes looking to take people back to their roots


By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The Morinville Community Gardens and Morinville Farmers’ Market are doing a little cross pollinating this summer in the hopes of helping people learn about preparing and preserving foods the way people did years ago.

Paula Collins, who is organizing eight cooking classes at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre on behalf of the Community Gardens, said there is a strong interest among people today to get back to their roots.

“We want to bring people back to the roots of cooking, preserving and canning,” Collins said. “We’ve organized a series of classes to get people back to do things from home rather than buying them at the store. We want people to realize it’s a lot easier than it was 20 years ago. I think people are afraid of cooking and preserving. I think people think it’s a lot of work. But it’s not a lot of work. It’s a lot easier than it was back 20 years ago.”

Collins said she believes people got busier over the years and cooking and canning has become a bit of a lost art, one the Community Gardens and the Morinville Farmers’ Market are interesting in restoring. “People are going back to that now,” she said. “People want to know how to make homemade bread. People want to learn how to make pickles, jams and jellies because they know what goes in it. There seems to be this whole movement towards local, organic, whole foods.”

Morinville Farmers’ Market Manager Korien Sampson said she is pleased to see the classes taking place in Morinville as they fit nicely with the goals and purpose of the Friday market, which starts June 7 at the arena. “We have the same goals in mind,” Sampson said. “We want people eating locally. We want people eating fresh from the ground. The whole idea of a Farmers’ Market is to buy locally what grows in our ground.”

People interested in learning a bit more about the old ways of preparing and preserving food will be able to do so during any of the eight evening classes between June 13 and September 11. All classes but two run Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m.

The initial class on June 13 will have John Schneider from Gold Forest Grains teaching participants how to make homemade bread. Tam Anderson from Prairie Gardens will run a class June 19 titled Growing and Cooking with Herbs. Three classes will be held in July: Homemade Pastries and Cakes July 11, Jams and Jellies July 18, and Food Dehydration July 25. Doug Adsit from the Green Bean will kick off the August series Aug. 8 with Freezing and Cooking with Unique Vegetables. This class will be followed by an Aug. 22 Canning with Fruit class. The final class is on pickling and is set for Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Funding for the program will come through a Town of Morinville Community Services grant and through the sale of Community Gardens Cook Books, the latter on sale later this month.

There is no cost to attend the classes, which are limited to a maximum 20 participants. Participants may be required to bring their own supplies for some of the classes.

Those interested in more information on the classes or booking a slot in one of the upcoming events, call Community Services at 780-939-7888.

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