Healthy Champions Promote DILLigence in Garden Education

On August 13, the Healthy Champions became the first group of youth ever to lead one of Boston Natural Areas Network’s widely recognized “Seed, Sow, & Grow” workshops, hosting more than 20 children and families at the City Natives garden site in Mattapan. The workshop showcased dill pickle making as a way to not only sustain the longevity of garden produce, but also as a way to educate participants on the evolution of vegetables from farm to plate.

To prepare for the day’s festivities, the Healthy Champions created a “10 Steps to Perfect Pickles” checklist (listed below), designing visual aids for each step of the pickle making process which corresponded with work stations set up around the garden. They monitored each station with the assistance of City Native’s staff, doing everything from washing cucumbers to aiding first-time pickle makers in the art of spice selection. Families were able to leave the workshop with their own variations of dill pickles, along with additional colorful creations of pickled veggies such as okra, carrots, peppers, and green beans. The day culminated with a group harvesting session in the teaching garden…with the majority of the harvest eventually making its way into the hands of hungry workshop hosts on the train ride back to Bowdoin Street!

Educating youth and families around the health benefits of fresh and affordable produce continues to be one of the primary focuses of the Healthy Champions program. The Healthy Champions have come up with an idea for a city-wide campaign to increase awareness about the benefits of local growing. Both Boston Natural Areas Network and The Food Project are excited to offer their collaborative assistance in this upcoming project, following the lead of the Healthy Champions as they prepare to tell the world why “Seeds Make Cents”. Stay tuned!

10 Steps to Perfect Pickles
by the 2011 Healthy Champions

What you need!
•Cucumbers (or other veggie of your choice)
•Jar with lid (like a Mason jar)
•Peppercorns
•Dill
•Garlic
•Kosher Salt
•White Vinegar
•Hot Peppers (optional)
*There is no set amount of dill/garlic/peppers to use, so feel free to tailor the recipe to your own taste!

What to do! 
1. Wash cucumbers
2. Cut cucumbers into pickle-shaped spears
3. Put spears into jar and pack tightly
4. Sprinkle 1teaspoon of peppercorns into the jar
5. Peel garlic and add to jar. Then add fresh dill
6. For spicy pickles, add pieces of hot peppers
7. Have an adult bring equal parts white vinegar and water to a boil. Add kosher salt (5 tablespoons for ever 2 quarts of water). Stir to dissolve
8. Pour hot mixture into the jar and fill to the top
9. Leave jars uncovered so they can cool. Then cover and put in the fridge. Leave in fridge for at least 24 hours.
10. ENJOY!

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