Cooking and canning classes taking people back to their roots


by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The Morinville Community Gardens, Morinville Farmers’ Market, and Sobeys Morinville are doing a little cross pollinating this summer to help people learn about preparing and preserving foods the way people did years ago.

Paula Collins, who is organizing six cooking classes at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre, said last year’s classes were so successful there were waiting lists. She attributes the success to the strong interest among people today to get back to their roots. “I think people have realized how important it is to know where their food is coming from and what is in their food,” Collins said. “More people are growing their own food in their backyard and they want to know different ways to preserve, can, dry, cook and freeze what they grow so they can enjoy eating their hard work all year long. Plus, everything tastes so much better knowing that you did it yourself.”

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 six evening classes between June 5 and Sept. 3. All classes but two run Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. The other two will be held on Wednesday evenings at the same time. 

The initial class on June 5 will have Gold Forest Grains owner John Schneider showing participants how to make a simple dough recipe using 100 per cent organic soft white wheat flour. Participants will learn how to knead the dough and feel when the texture of the dough is ready to be made into cinnamon buns. John will also explain the best organic flours to use at home for your breads, buns and other tasty treats.
Cooking with Herbs will take place June 18 and Tam Andersen, a local farmer and owner of Prairie Gardens, will teach participants how to be a successful herb gardener with basil, rosemary, sage, basil, cilantro and more. Anderson will also shows participants how to incorporate herbs into everyday cooking. 

Patty Milligan, owner of Lola Canola Honey in Bon Accord, will offer a Food Dehydration class on July 17. Milligan will show students how to preserve herbs, fruit, vegetables and mushrooms through dehydration. 

Jams and Jellies is the subject of the July 31 class. The session will be instructed by Carol Cooper from the Fruits of Sherbrooke, a woman who will show participants how to create cooked jams with pectin and freezer jams. Students will learn to use a number of ingredients to create unique jams with confidence. 

Freezing and Cooking with Farmer’s Market Veggies is the subject of Green Bean Coffee House owner Doug Adsit’s Aug. 14 session. Adsit will demonstrate how to cook with some of the unique vegetables available at the Farmer’s Market. Participants will learn how to cook these vegetables using butters, oils and herbs as well as learn some recipes for some main dishes. Adsit will also show how to properly store vegetables in the fridge and freezer for later use.

Other classes planned for the series include Canning with Fruit, scheduled for Aug. 28, and a class on Pickling, scheduled for Sept. 3. 
Although Sobeys Morinville is the major sponsor for the classes, providing all the supplies and ingredients for the classes, Collins said they have had additional generous support from Marshall Roofing and Dr. Romanowski. Last year the Morinville Centennial Community Gardens offered the classes for free; however, this year there is a $10 per person / per class fee. The fee is needed to help cover the costs of the instructors for this year’s classes.

Collins is hoping for full classes again this year. “It’s a great opportunity to learn new techniques or even confirm that your techniques are correct,” she said. “It was a great way to meet some local producers, taste some great food and other culinary creations, meet other people and make new connections. It’s a cheap and fun night out with your friends.”

Those interested in booking a slot in one of the upcoming events can register online at or they can call 780-939-7839 to register.

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