Self Sufficiency II

Course CodeASS101
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Kitchen Garden Course

Learn about making your own food:

  • Learn to grow food
  • Learn to harvest food
  • Learn to preserve, store and use what you grow

Perhaps you have dreamt of starting a small home based business, selling through markets or local retail outlets. Maybe you just want to become more self sufficient with food at home. Take this course to become more self sufficient; or as a foundation for working with food; either growing, processing or marketing food products.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Diet & Nutrition
  2. Establishing A Kitchen Garden
  3. Vegetables
  4. Fruit
  5. Bottling
  6. Freezing & Drying
  7. Producing Milk & Eggs
  8. Growing & Cooking Herbs
  9. Egg & Cheese Cookery
  10. Grain

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Explain the importance of good diet and nutrition to good health
  • Discuss the potential for increasing self sufficiency by growing your own food in a kitchen garden.
  • Describe the potential and appropriate procedures for vegetable growing in your area.
  • Describe the potential for fruit growing and appropriate fruit growing procedures for your locality.
  • Describe the process of practices like bottling to extend the shelf life of produce.
  • Explain the process of practices like freezing and drying to extend the shelf life of produce.
  • Describe the principles of animal production and processing animal products, where someone is seeking to improve dietary self sufficiency.
  • Describe growing and cooking with herbs, where someone is seeking to improve dietary self sufficiency.
  • Describe the use of eggs and cheese where someone is seeking to improve dietary self sufficiency.
  • Describe the use of grains in a situation where someone is seeking to improve dietary self sufficiency.

 
Preserving Food With Acids (eg. Pickles)
 
Acids also have a long history in food preservation primarily in the preservation of pickled and fermented foods.
Acids can be present in preserved foods either because they have been added to foods or as a product of microbial fermentation within foods. Common ‘natural’ acids used in food preservation include vinegar and lemon juice. Vinegar is widely used in pickling fish and vegetables and lemon juice is used in the preservation of a variety of fruits and vegetables e.g. to produce jams and jellies.
 
 
Action
 
The preservative action of acids on foods is due to the pH of acid. pH is a measure of the intensity of an acid shown on a scale between 0-14, where a pH value of 1 is an almost pure acid and a pH value of 14 is an almost pure alkali. pH helps to control the growth of microorganisms by directly inhibiting microbial growth or by reducing the heat resistance of microorganisms. Some foods are naturally acidic such as citrus fruits and strawberries. This is why these fruits are naturally resistant to the growth of bacteria which grow and reproduce better at a neutral pH.  Meanwhile foods that have a higher pH may be protected from microorganisms by adding an acid to the food to make the food more acidic.
 
Considerations when using acids in home food preservation
The effectiveness of acids in preventing the growth of microorganisms is dependent on their ability to reduce the pH of the water in foods. Different acids have different pH values so it is vital to choose the best acid for the food you are preserving. Also, should you wish to substitute one acid for another in a chosen recipe you must be aware of how this may affect the pH of the preserved food and thus it’s ability to protect a food from microbes.
 
It is also vital to use the correct concentration of an acid in foods and the acid used must be evenly spread through the food. Using too little of your chosen acid or not mixing the acid uniformly through a food could cause foods to have a higher pH value making them more susceptible to microorganisms and diseases such as Botulism.
 
Food preservation with acids has an effect on the way foods taste and this makes it unsuitable for many staple foods.
 
 
Nuts - A Super Crop for Self Sufficiency 
Growing nuts can be a long-term prospect, but not always; you can plant, grow and harvest a crop of peanuts over a matter of months. Others such as almonds can take a few years to be productive, but some, like walnuts, take longer. 
Once established, many nut trees can produce very large quantities of nuts for many decades - sometimes, well over 100 years. Nuts can give you a lot of benefits beyond what might be found with fruits or vegetables:
  • They can be stored more easily, and for longer periods.
  • Nuts are a high quality food - a great source of proteins, oils, and other nutrients.
  • They can be eaten raw or roasted, or used as an ingredient in cooking. 
  • They are an ideal substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes such as meat loaf and nut roasts.
  • Cakes and biscuits can be made with nut meal instead of flour.
  • You can crumb fish with almond meal or macadamia meal instead of bread crumbs.
  • You can use them to make your own muesli or add them to your favourite cereals.
 
Some Nutritional Benefits of Nuts
  • Many contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which are known to be good for heart health.
  • Peanuts are a rich source of folate which is good brain food - it is also an important nutrient for pregnant women to prevent birth defects, and something which often needs supplementing in vegetarian diets. 
  • Almonds have a high magnesium content which is reputed to relieve stress. They are also rich in the antioxidant, Vitamin C.
  • Brazil nuts are high in selenium - which boosts the immune system and in small doses may be a good defence against prostate cancer in men.
  • Nuts contain L-arginine which may help to relieve blood clotting and improve blood flow in arteries.
  • Nuts are high in fibre which helps to reduce cholesterol and helps you to feel full when eating - meaning you eat less.

Harvesting Nuts
The timing and method of harvest is dependent upon the species you are growing:
 
  • Some nuts are not ripe enough to harvest until they fall to the ground while others may be harvested while still clinging to the tree.
  • Some ripen over a short period, but others ripen over several months. 
  • Some grow on small plants that can be easily accessed for harvesting by hand. Others grow on very tall trees that are difficult to get to. 
  • Some may be taken by animals and birds if they are not collected in time.
 
Drying and Storage 
Many nuts can lose their taste, become diseased (e.g. fungal rots) or deteriorate if they are not dried and stored properly. Nuts with higher oil content deteriorate faster than those with less oil. Walnuts and chestnuts deteriorate faster than almonds and pistachios.
 
YOU CAN DO A LOT - even on the smallest property; when you know how! 
 
 
 HOW WILL THIS COURSE BENEFIT YOU?
  • Make your own cheese
  • Learn to grow, harvest, preserve and store food
  • Learn production of milk and eggs 
  • Home study, self paced course
  • Save your self time and money

More from ACS