A common barrier we at SHIP often hear related to eating healthy is food preparation, storage and preservation. One teacher at Blue Earth Area Schools is changing her curriculum to ensure students who take her Family and Consumer Science class leave with the skills they need to safely preserve food. Canning, in particular, is considered a 'lost art' in the hustle and bustle of the 21st century. By incorporating food preservation into the course curriculum, they are working to once again, revive a long lost practice. The first group of Culinary Arts students were able to make use of fresh garden produce in the fall by dehydrating apples and canning salsa. "Students really enjoyed the apples and experimented with a variety of flavors by treating with lemon juice, cinnamon or cinnamon/sugar. Students were also very serious about canning salsa and making sure that no one needed to worry about botulism. They washed equipment, fresh veggies and hands even more carefully than normal. They were sure to process jars carefully. We had one jar to taste in class and they each took their own jar home for their families. Several mentioned that there was no salsa left after the weekend!" Barbara Carlson, Family Consumer Science Teacher at Blue Earth Area Schools.
In addition to adding the curriculum in the Family Consumer Science Program, the school district plans to utilize the canning equipment in their Community Education Program to provide food preservation community classes. Working with Family Consumer Science Programs provides a unique opportunity to benefit both the students and the program. "Often, budgets are tight and Family Consumer Science Programs turn to low cost baking items for their class curriculum, adding education for students on canning and freezing provides students with basic life-long skills," Dar Holmseth, Community Education Director at Blue Earth Area Schools.
Students at Blue Earth Area Schools demonstrating their newfound canning abilities!