Herby Days at Toluca Lake Elementary

Today’s garden lesson was about food preservation.

Why does food go bad in the first place?  Why is food preservation important?  How do we do it?


In the garden today, we fused science class with snack time.  Our world is full of living things too small to see with human eyes;  Micro-organisms are everywhere.  They do good work and bad work.  The good ones decompose our compost, they work in our tummies to turn food we eat into nutrients for our body, they make us cheese and help our plants grow!   The bad ones can make us and other living things sick.

IMG_0686There are many methods to keeping those unwanted microorganisms out of our food.  Freezing, dehydrating, fermenting, pickling and more.  My examples today were canning and dehydrating.   Last week I received a box of pears that were meant to be thrown away.  Instead, I took them home and canned them!  Now I will have pears through winter, when the pear trees have long gone dormant.

We also talked about dehydration; when we take out all the water of the food so the micro-organisms aren’t interested.   We tied up herb bundles from the garden to hang in our kitchens at home. Rosemary, basil, oregano and mint.  After all the leaves dry up (dehydrate), we can use them to cook and make tea all through the winter.  Yumm yum!

Additionally, Mrs. Laur’s 4th graders brought their notebooks to class today to practice their creative descriptive writing.  We spent the first 10 minutes of class sitting with a plant describing its characteristics through our senses.  The students were actually the first to say that they enjoyed a few moments of silence to themselves.

What a treat!  IMG_0694

I suggest we all take a few moments to hang out with our plants.  They can teach us a thing or two.


Upon leaving the garden, we all tasted a bit of dehydrated banana and seaweed (yep, seaweed).   All our students were brave enough to try.  Props to them!

Jessica Brown