Cooking in the Garden

By: Liz Hasty

My husband and I recently moved in to our first home. It is quite the upgrade from the tiny condo we moved out of including the backyard space. The previous owners of the house had put raised garden beds in the backyard and my husband and I couldn’t wait to get our hands in the soil this spring.

My father is Italian and all through the dozen plus moves my family made when I was kid, my dad always had a tomato plant and some basil growing in our yard. Depending on the space, we sometimes added in hot peppers, lettuce and my favorite, strawberries. My dad would make big pots of sauce with the tomatoes and basil and over pasta, as a family, we would discuss ways to keep the squirrels out of the garden.

Following in my dad’s footsteps, I planted tomatoes, basil and an assortment of vegetables. I’ve been lucky to not have squirrels in my garden… yet. I want to explore new ways to cook with my veggies and I’ve begun to check out some cooking classes around town. Cooking classes can be really expensive, but I have found some places that really give you a lot for your buck.

Gale Woods is a working farm located in Minnetrista. For just $12, I learned how to pickle and can a variety of vegetables. At the end of the three hour class, each participant took home four small jars of their pickled creations. Gale Woods has a beautiful space and offers classes throughout the year. Most of the food used in their classes come from the farm itself. They even have classes where you pick the food first (or milk the cow or gather the eggs) and then cook it together. What a great way to show your kids where our food really comes from.

My second favorite place is Theodore Wirth Pavilion located in Minneapolis. They offer a variety of cooking classes throughout the year including how to use essential oils in your cooking and summer camps based around cooking for kids. For $8, I spent a cozy winter’s evening with my neighbor and a warm cup of hot chocolate, learning how to make krumkake. We made four different varieties with plenty to sample and take home.

What are some of your favorite places to take cooking classes in Minnesota? Leave your comment below. I would love to hear from you!

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