Last night I was a lucky guest/student at the Toronto Botanical Gardens for the Grow, Cook, Relish! class presented as part of the Adult Education series.
When Trish invited me to come with her as part of the TBG’s new blogger outreach program I immediately said yes, but had trouble picking a class. When she pointed out the canning class, I was all in right away!
As you may be aware, canning and preserving is incredibly trendy right now (damn hipsters), and once in a while I like to be trendy, so I really couldn’t say no to this one. I was also thinking about the box of brand new canning jars at my apartment that would be a lot more practical if I knew how to use them.
I was the only dude in the class and while I wasn’t really surprised I hope more guys will start taking classes like this one. Come on guys – get to the learning!
The class was taught by Susan from the Compost Council of Canada and assisted by Elizabeth from Toronto Master Gardeners. Both women were knowledgeable, friendly and kind enough not to make fun of me in my apron and leaning over a cutting board.
Note: I did an awesome job cutting zucchini.
We started out in pairs and small groups getting veggies chopped and looking at half prepped relish that Susan had started in the morning. It was a lot like a TV show so that we’d have finished product by the end of the class. Then we moved on to the fruit for the marmalade which came together a ton faster and was jarred and ready when we went home!
I learned about sterilization of fresh jars, using the little disk lids only once, hot water bathing freshly filled jars, leaving head room, drawing out moisture with salt, the importance of a good kit and how awesome the sound of a sealed jar is.
And at the end of the class everyone went home with a small jar of both relish and marmalade which I can’t wait to get in on.
I was even told that the relish would be great for sausage which immediately made my mind go to football and Sundays and good times ahead for my belly!
In the end, the Grow, Cook, Relish! class was a pretty alright way to spend a Wednesday night. I used a knife, learned some things that could be quite useful and I left with food.
I’d certainly recommend taking a look at the TBG Adult Education catalogue and considering a class alone or with some friends.
Now, this is where I tell you that the Toronto Botanical Garden also needs your help, and the help of your friends and neighbours and parents and everyone that you know that loves Toronto and plants and gardens and learning. There is a new, very important, fundraising campaign that has been launched. If you could take 2 minutes to look at this info and share it, everyone would be appreciative! Toronto Botanical Garden Announcement, October 11, 2012
The gardens are a pretty awesome place and it would be a shame to see them shut down as a teaching tool for children and adults and as a resource for the people of Toronto.
Until next time mes amis, be awesome!