Sustainability on My Mind Workshop Series – Food Preservation

The Sustainable Community Aid Network (SCAN) hosted its 6th Sustainability on My Mind Workshop on May 31, 2023, at 6:00 pm. This workshop was centred around Food Preservation and taught participants two ways to preserve food, refrigeration and pickling. The past workshop was part of the Sustainability on My Mind program, which aims to teach the residents in the low-income neighbourhood of Malton, Mississauga, about eco-friendly lifestyle strategies that households can practice independently for minimal cost.

Participants learned how to preserve vegetables in mason jars using carrots and pickles. They were taught two methods, refrigeration and pickling. Refrigeration entailed cutting clean carrots, placing them in mason jars and submerging them in water, sealing them, and putting them in the fridge. The water must be changed every couple of days to ensure freshness. Pickling was used with Kirby cucumbers and required the participants to cut the cucumbers and fill their mason jar, then mix ½ cup of vinegar, ½ tablespoon of salt and either 2 tablespoons of dill (for dill/sour pickles) or ¼ cup of sugar (for sweet pickles) and pouring it into the jar. The mixture had to be shaken every few hours and refrigerated for at least 6 hours before it would be ready; however, the longer it was kept in the fridge, the more the mixture could seep in. Both methods require refrigeration and prolong the produce’s lifespan by two to three weeks.

Preparing for the workshop required that the vegetables were all washed and cleaned prior so that the workshop could run smoother. Other than the carrots, cucumbers and mason jars that were given to the participants, SCAN also provided all the other ingredients, including the vinegar, salt, sugar and dill and provided the materials used in the workshop like the measuring cups, knives, large mixing jar and cutting boards. The two different pickling methods were also tested out before the workshop to ensure that the process would result in the desired outcome. Double-sided pages with both recipes were printed beforehand to give participants to take home with them. This allows the participants to recreate these preservation methods at home, teach others, and try them with other fruits and vegetables.

Overall, the workshop was very successful, with a good turnout, thanks to Angie Minnick, who helped with the organization and recruitment for the workshop. Participants were almost all Malton residents, with one person from Brampton attending. The demographic makeup of the workshop was diverse, with 18.8% North African/Middle Eastern, 31.3% West Indian, 18.8% South East Asian, 18.8% Black, 6.3% European and 6.3% Biracial (Black and Southeast Asian). Participants left the workshop knowing how to use cost-efficient methods to preserve food in mason jars and the benefits of doing so. We appreciate everyone who came and participated in our workshop. 

The Sustainability on My Mind Workshop series is funded by the Community Foundations of Canada, the Community Foundation of Mississauga and The Government of Canada. You can get more information about the workshop on the SCAN website and social media channels or email or call 1800 687 1351 for details about the upcoming workshops or how to support the organization.

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