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Preservation Station!

Updated August 11, 2020

Aimee Ladonski

SDSU Extension Volunteer Development Field Specialist

Lesson Overview

Mother with child cooking homemade jam in a kitchen.

Lesson developed by Mark Herreid under the direction and review of Anna Barr and Aimee House Ladonski.


  • At the end of this lesson, participants will be able to list the most-common methods used to preserve fruits or vegetables.
  • Participants will practice canning and drying food preservation.


  • Read and learn these words.
    • Preserve: To keep food safe to eat at a later time.
    • Drying: Removing water from a food to preserve it. Drying is one of the oldest ways of preserving food and can be done by using a low-temperature oven, a dehydrator, or even in the sun. Did you know that a raisin is a dried grape?
    • Cold Storage: Cold spaces, such as refrigerators, cellars, and caves, that keep food cool to make it last longer.
    • Freezing: A type of cold storage. Freezing slows the growth of microorganisms that spoil food.
    • Fermentation: A change that happens in food to make it last longer through the work of good, tiny living things called yeast, bacteria or mold.
    • Canning: A preservation method in which foods are sealed in an airtight container.
  • Learning Activity: To help you child learn the vocabulary words, play “I Spy.”
    • Write each vocab word on a sticky note and place them throughout the room.
    • Tell your child, “you spy (word definition).”
    • Have your child point to the word or go grab it and bring it to you.

Resources and Activities


The Tanka Story: Did you know that there are snack bars made in South Dakota that are shelf-stable for up to 18 months?

They’re called “Tanka bars,” and they’re made on the Pine Ridge Reservation! Watch this video with a grown-up to hear about their story. Courtesy of Tanka Bar.

Note: This video, may be too advanced for youth to view alone. Watch with them to help them understand.

  • Video follow-up questions:
    • Did you know you can eat buffalo meat?
    • What type of preservation is used to make Tanka bars? Answer: Dehydration is used to make jerky, like Tanka bars.
    • What did you like the most about the Tanka Bar story?


Before We Eat: Watch and listen to the read-aloud video of “Before We Eat” by Pat Brisson.

Before the book, ask: “Where does food come from?” You will learn the answer better in the book! Courtesy of 21 Acres Center.

  • Book follow-up questions:
    • Where does food come from? Answers depend on the type of food.
    • What happened before food got to the table? Example Answers: plowed ground, planted seeds, tended fields, removed weeds, picked food, fed animals, gathered eggs, milked cows, fished, packed crates, drivers transport food, bought at grocery store.
    • What is your favorite food? Where do you think it comes from?
Berry jelly in a white dish.

Preservation Activity

Triple Berry Freezer Jam: In this activity, you can use the canning freezing method to make berry jelly. The recipe takes about one hour to complete. Courtesy of

  • Ingredients:
    • ½ cup blackberries
    • 1 ½ cup strawberries
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • Juice of half of a lemon
    • 5 cups sugar
    • ¾ cup water
    • 1 package of pectin
  • Instructions:
    1. Pour blackberries, blueberries and strawberries into a large bowl and crush with a potato masher.
    2. Stir sugar and lemon juice into crushed berries and cover. Allow berry mixture to sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes, or until majority of juice has been extracted from berry mixture.
    3. Add pectin to the water in a small saucepan and stir to dissolve. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
    4. Stir hot pectin into berry mixture. Continue stirring for several minutes, or until sugar has dissolved.
    5. Pour berry pectin mixture into clean, dry containers leaving about ½ inch of room at the top and cover tightly. You will have 7 to 8 cups of jam.
    6. Leave at room temperature overnight, or until jam sets.
    7. Freeze jam until ready to eat (up to one year). Jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Veggie and dip platter surrounded by fresh vegetables.

Nutrition Activity

Healthy Veggie Dip: Herbs and seasonings are dried to preserve them longer! This recipe makes veggie dip from dried seasonings. You can also use other seasonings that you like.

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
    • ¼ cup mayonnaise made with olive oil
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp onion powder
    • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
    • ¼ cup minced fresh dill (or 1 Tablespoon dried dill)
    • Fresh vegetables for dipping
  • Instructions:
    1. Mix all ingredients into a large bowl.
    2. Serve cold with fresh vegetables. Store in fridge.
Three, white, pressed flowers.

Art Activity

Pressed Flowers & Leaves: You can preserve more than food! Go on a nature walk with an adult and preserve part of the summer or fall season to enjoy year-round! Courtesy of Howcast.

  • Materials needed:
    • Container
    • Wax Paper
    • Heavy Book(s)
    • Patience
  • Instructions:
    1. Ask an adult to go on a nature walk with you.
    2. Bring a container large enough to hold leaves and/or flowers.
    3. While on your walk, select leaves or flowers which are flat, not curled.
    4. Collect many colors and shapes of leaves.
    5. Once home, sandwich each leaf between its own piece of wax paper or newspaper. Place inside pages of a heavy book.
    6. Once all leaves or flowers are gently placed inside the book, close the book and set in a location where it will remain undisturbed. Place another heavy book on top to keep weight on the leaves or flowers.
    7. Check the leaves or flowers after one week. Make sure they are drying, not rotting.
    8. Leave the leaves or flowers for one-to-two additional weeks to completely dry.
    9. Now you can enjoy the wonder of preservation during the winter months! You can even make a picture of a flower or tree using your preserved items!

Adults, Learn More


SDSU Extension Resources:

Project Contributors

Lesson Author:

  • Mark Herreid

Program Coordinators:


Other contributors: