Culture Blog

Preserving 101: Off-Season Canning

Preserving 101: Off-Season Canning

Jan 25, 2023
Category: General Traditional Foods & Medicines 

By Olamipo Bandele

It is a traditional custom for Carrier and Sekani peoples to harvest and preserve many different kinds of foods, and preservation techniques like smoking, salt-curing, freezing and canning has allowed Indigenous communities to store traditional foods through the winter months. These methods are safe to the environment, cost-effective and a useful tool for cultural preservation.

As a way to preserve food and culture, the CSFS Maternal Child Health (MCH) program held a pressure canning demonstration for our MCH team. “We were looking for a fun and productive way to celebrate the holidays, and realized we had a lot of fish that was donated to us from community fish gathering over the summer,” says Ammy Kaur, a CSFS Maternal Child Health Worker. “The team had a lightbulb moment of canning the fish, and we immediately began making plans to give them as a gift to our clients and families.”

Spring and summer are the most popular seasons for canning, but the Maternal Child Health program decided to organize an off-season demonstration to interact with Indigenous culture first hand. Participants learned steps to follow for canning, such as necessary equipment, food safety, and tried out some tested canning recipes. The event was led by Alice Compagnon, a retired CSFS worker, and Colette Plasway, operational coordinator of the Child Welfare Jurisdiction program. Volunteers like Keisha, Samantha, Shabana, Ammy and Lea also dedicated their time and effort to ensure that the demonstration was a memorable experience.

“Our hope is to be able to take our clients to fish camp this summer so they can have the whole experience from fishing, cleaning the fish, and learning other preservation techniques,” says Lea Chiang Lin, MCH worker. “Most importantly, they are able to experience community, support and wellness while going through their pregnancy journey.”

The Carrier Sekani Family Services Maternal Child Health Program provides resources and support to Indigenous pregnant women and families who have young children from ages 0 to 6 years. Services are available to both on and off reserve Indigenous clients. For more information about the program, reach out to Anna Whitely, Maternal Child Manager at 778-916-7429 or email awhitely@csfs.org  or visit Maternal Child Health program page.

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This article was part of our Jan/Feb 2023 Goozih Dust'lus Newsletter. To subscribe, click here.


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Last modified: Monday 29-Jan-24 10:19:46 PST