Annie Ollie isn’t new to cooking but that didn’t stop her from enjoying Ilitaqsiniq’s jams and jellies workshop in Arviat mid-August.
“It’s been going great,” she said toward the end of the four-day course that brought a dozen people together.
“I will try and continue what I’ve learned from this course.”
Workshop participants made strawberry freezer jam, aqpik jam, red pepper jelly, apple pie filling, fruit cocktail, raspberry jam and more. The smoke alarm only went off once.
“These kind of programs which are held in the communities are very helpful,” said Ollie.
Kelly Lindell, Kivalliq programs manager for Ilitaqsiniq, said the organization’s food preparation programs are popular.
“Food security is a big thing in the North,” said Lindell, who was on hand to lead the course in Arviat.
“We all know that at certain times of the season we have an abundance of things like berries or mussels or caribou. There are a lot of traditional ways to preserve food that people are still doing, but we wanted to offer different ways that you can preserve food, different ideas and give people the option to take what is in abundance and make it last for the whole year.”
The program was free to enter, which is part of Ilitaqsiniq’s philosophy with regard to teaching these kind of skills to community members.
“No one needs experience, no one needs equipment, no one pays for anything,” said Lindell. “It’s inclusive to everybody. We really try to keep it a very safe learning environment. We don’t grade anyone, no one gets in trouble for doing anything wrong.”
In fact, she elaborated, when it comes to the kitchen, it’s often mistakes that make for the best learning.
“We make mistakes together and we learn from them,” said Lindell.
The program was funded by the Department of Health. Ilitaqsiniq plans to return to Arviat in the fall for a pickling course and is always promoting new workshops online.