Home Canning and Preserving in Africa

 

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Food Preservation Project   

The Problem: Lack of Food Preservation

Linda explains Moringa Community's food preservation project.

Ghana and other African nations have a robust enough growing season to feed all of their people. However, since Ghanaians harvest crops in and around the rainy season, many go hungry during the dry season when little is available. Having no refrigeration and excessive heat and humidity, 30-60% of harvests spoil. Since Ghanaian farmers cannot store excess food, they do not plant gardens and farms for maximum yield. Additionally, they do not harvest crops they cannot use immediately, allowing crops to rot in the fields. As for crops that they do harvest, bacteria, fungi, rodents, and insects damage these foods. Further worsening the situation is that seasonal crops that ripen at the same time cannot be profitably sold at market due to the overabundance of crops already flooding the marketplace.

The Practical Solution: Home Canning Techniques

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Linda trains Abu in canning techniques.
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Abu trains villagers of Baako canning techniques.
West Africans have never learned or used what we in the West call “canning,” which despite its name uses glass mason jars rather than tin cans. Home canning techniques are an affordable, low-tech, practical method of preserving food that Ghanaians can easily learn to use to alleviate hunger during the harsh dry season. The simple canning process does not need electricity or refrigeration, but only requires a pot of boiling water, jars, and lids.

Canning has numerous benefits. To begin, it protects food from pests, prevents them from becoming sterile, and keeps them fresh. Additionally, there are so many foods lend themselves to basic pickling/canning recipes with a few readily available ingredients like salt, lemon juice, sugar, and spices. Most importantly, canning jars are re-usable! Glass jars can be washed, sterilized by boiling water and then reused indefinitely! The small liner in the lids must be replaced each time, but this cost is minor.

Our goal to teach basic home canning techniques at our Moringa Community Center in Baako. We have already created two instructional DVDs, on home canning and on home pickling, which include narration in both English and the Ghanaian language Fante. Additionally, we have taught Abu, our Moringa Director in Africa, home canning techniques so that he can train teachers who will share food preservation skills with the community.

The first shipments of jars and lids was transported to Ghana, and the first class was held to train the villagers of Baako in canning techniques.  For additional information on progress in our Food Preservation Initiative, see our Current Progress & Future Plans.

How You Can Help

Quality of life increases dramatically when people have adequate, nutritious, clean food available at all times of year for their family or for resale. Our next task is to supply a full shipping container of canning jars for our Moringa Community Center in Baako. Please help us purchase supplies with the kindness of your donation.

Click here to DONATE