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Red Bay students learn canning

By Brandi Miller

For the FCT


Going to the grocery store and picking up what is needed is simply a way of life for most teenagers. They want something – they go to the grocery store and pick it up and go home and eat it. Simple as that. It is hard for them to imagine a time when food was grown and then preserved to eat later through a process called canning.


Red Bay High School Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Sherry Hutcheson is in the process of teaching her food chemistry class various food preservation techniques. The students in the class are studying different types of canning processes.


“Effective home canning involves choosing the right packing and processing method for each food to be preserved,” said Hutcheson.


The students in the food chemistry class are learning two types of canning processes – water-bath processing and pressure processing.


“Students prepare apple and grape jelly in class to understand the water-bath processing method,” said Hutcheson. Water-bath processing is recommended only for high-acid foods, which is something the students are learning through this process. The students are also learning which foods can be safely processed using the water-bath method. Those foods include fruits, pickles and acidified tomatoes.


“I think it is very important for students to learn how to do things for themselves,” said Hutcheson. “Everyone these days just goes to the store and purchases things already made. The students show pride in what they accomplish and they see how easy it is to do things for themselves.  Everything does not have to be ready-made.”


Once the students had chosen which type of jelly they wanted to make, they had to wash and sterilize their jars and tips and then read and follow a recipe to seal the jars.


Hutcheson said she hopes this is something the students will be able to use throughout their lives, and she stressed the importance of being able to do some things like people did years ago.


“Sometimes things just need to be done the old-fashioned way.”