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Date of Award
Nutrition and Food Science
Background: Many Americans do not consume the recommended amount of 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cup of vegetables per day. Michigan gardeners are more likely to consume fresh fruits and vegetables during the harvest months of August and September. Objective: This study examined the effect of a food preservation curriculum on knowledge and confidence of proper food preservation practices, and the perceived impact of food preservation on fruit and vegetable intake outside the Michigan growing season. Methods: Participants were recruited in partnership with gardening organizations, and attended a lesson on freezing, water bath canning, or pressure canning, or multiple lessons. A post-lesson evaluation assessed the participants’ knowledge of the food preservation method and their confidence in home food preservation after attending a lesson. A follow-up survey was given after the growing season and examined if participants preserved food at home, identified challenges and barriers to home food preservation, and assessed the perceived influence of home food preservation on vegetable intake and aspects of food security. Results: A Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Test was used to evaluate changes in confidence and worry for each preservation method. A significant increase in confidence for the process of freezing, water bath canning, and pressure canning indicated an increase in confidence after attending a lesson. Confidence to make good tasting food from frozen produce also increased. A significant decrease in worry about food safety in water bath canning indicated a decrease in worry after attending the lesson. Decrease in worry about food safety with pressure canning was not significant. Of the follow-up survey respondents, 64% agreed or strongly agreed that they eat more vegetables and fruits because they preserved food. Conclusion: This study found that food preservation lessons can increase knowledge and confidence in preservation methods while decreasing worry about food safety. Hands-on activities or a live demonstration of the full preservation process may increase the amount of food preserved and therefore increase fruit and vegetable intake outside of the summer growing season in Michigan.
Kennedy, Allison, "Evaluation Of A Food Preservation Curriculum For Gardeners" (2022). Wayne State University Theses. 862.