I only had just under an hour for each period, but we talked about high and low acid foods, boiling water baths vs. pressure canning, head space and the dangers of improper canning as well as everything in between. I brought samples of my salsa, apple pie jam, banana jam and pickles for them to taste. If you've never seen 30+ kids try to out beg each other for a can of apple pie jam, it's a treat.
However, the real treat came with the permission from my friend John over at John's Journal to share his experiences on his grandfather's farm. In one blog entry, John mentioned wanting to keep his journal for the benefit of his grandchildren and now great grandchildren, and in doing so he has now also taught 120 high school students to appreciate their past. I received permission from John to share his latest post with the students and they were captivated. Food preservation as you describe it, John, has become a lost art and I thank you, the students thank you, for allowing your experiences to be shared with them.
It was my intention to take pictures throughout the canning day, but her classes are mixed grade levels and most students aren't 18 and I therefore cannot post their pictures on the Internet without parental permission. Ehhh...not going through all that trouble.
Suffice it to say that the day went fantastic. First period they sampled apple pie jam and made grape jelly. Second period sampled banana jam, stole lustful glances at the remaining apple pie jam and made grape jelly, too. Third period sampled salsa, scavenged what was left of the banana jam, distracted us to gain access to the apple pie jam jar, licked the apple pie jam jar clean and made apple pie jam. Fourth period pouted at the empty jam jars, were irate they missed the salsa, ate dill and bread and butter pickles and made dill pickles.
Everything was perfect, every jar sealed, and general fun was had by all. Even though I couldn't take pictures of the kids, here are some of the items we made:
The picture is missing two cans of pickles, 4 apple pie jams, 4 grape jellies, and two apple conserves (on the left). We had extra apples left, so I came home and made a batch of conserve with apples, raisins and pecans and I'll make another one tomorrow night. I've never made nor tasted conserve before, but I'm about to quit the jam front all together after tasting it. Imagine it on baked brie covered in phylo (sp?) dough. Fantastic!
Several kids emailed or stopped by my classroom today to ask for recipes. I printed out copies for all kids with a little instruction section on BWB canning and the address for the preservation center at UGA. I also added that the recipes could all be frozen as well, which may appeal to their parents a bit more.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening and preserving dreams.