AMES, Iowa – Registered dietitians have a new source for continuing education on safe food preservation. Preserve the Taste of Summer, a research-based program from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, has been approved for up to 20 continuing education units from the Commission of Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
As Iowans continue to be interested in local foods, gardening and preserving food themselves, registered dietitians need to be aware of safe food preservation practices so they can properly advise their clients, said Sarah Francis, an assistant professor and nutrition specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. Gardens are advocated as a means for helping families meet the MyPlate fruit and vegetable recommendations needed for good health. Home food preservation helps families keep the produce from the garden safe year round, Francis said.
“The more people who know about safe food preservation methods, the safer Iowans are going to be,” Francis said.
Preserve the Taste of Summer consists of eight online lessons covering food safety, the basics of canning, and information on specific food preservation methods, including pressure canning, freezing and drying, as well as preparing and preserving fruit spreads and pickled and fermented foods. People who do not have computer access have the option to view the online lessons in a group setting during four in-person sessions at a participating ISU Extension and Outreach county office.
After completing the online lessons, participants are eligible to take any of the four hands-on workshops covering salsa making and freezing, jams and dehydrating, pickle making or pressure canning.
Completing the online lessons and workshops does not qualify registered dietitians to teach Preserve the Taste of Summer, but does provide the research-based information they need regarding food preservation methods so they can accurately advise clients. Those who are interested would be eligible to serve as volunteers to assist ISU Extension and Outreach nutrition and health specialists with future workshops and program promotion.
Registered dietitians may receive four continuing education units for completing the online lessons and four CEUs for completing one workshop (eight CEUs total) for a combined registration fee of $100. They may receive an additional four CEUs for each of the remaining workshops (up to 12 additional CEUs), with a registration fee of $40 per additional workshop. The entire program (eight online lessons and four workshops) will provide 20 CEUs for $220.
Registration is available online at http://www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/preservation/home.html. Registered dietitians should sign up for Preserve the Taste of Summer at the professional level and indicate that they are registered dietitians seeking CEUs.
Registered dietitians must complete 75 CEUs every five years to retain their registration. Francis, who also is a registered dietitian, said, “With 20 CEUs, Preserve the Taste of Summer provides a solid foundation for that continuing education.”