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Culinary receives Freeze Dryer from Perkins Grant

Published on March 11, 2024

The Culinary department recently received a freeze dryer on behalf of the Perkins Grant. A freeze dryer has multiple applications in a modern kitchen, from creating novelty candies and fruit treats to preserving foods for up to 25 years. Food waste is a huge drain on the resources that went into the planting, growing, harvesting, transporting, and preparing those foods. The ability to remove all the moisture quickly and efficiently from a food prevents spoilage and can create a shelf life of up to 25 years.

"A portion of the Perkins grant money allotted to Ozarka College each year goes toward the purchase of equipment for our Career and Technical Education programs. One of the purchases we're excited about this year is a freeze dryer for our Culinary Arts department., " said Kendra Smith, Perkins program coordinator. "Not only can students learn how to prepare popular freeze-dried candies and snacks; they can also use it to reduce food waste by freeze drying excess herbs, fruits, vegetables, and more. Having experience with a full range of modern kitchen equipment and tools increases our students' confidence, skill, and employability. "

Culinary students will learn how to create sweet treats to sell in the cafeteria as well as freeze dry whole meals suitable for hiking/camping and long-term storage, including military and disaster preparedness applications. Knowing how to process freeze dried products increases the skill level of a culinary student, and their employability in many work environments.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) is the latest version of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.  Perkins V is an act of the U.S. Congress that provides  over $1.4 billion in federal funding  for CTE education each year. The Perkins Act aims to provide learners across the United States with opportunities to develop skills in every CTE career cluster and support students in earning certifications that will help them in their professional careers.

For more information about Ozarka College programs, please contact us today at 870.368.2300 or  

Photo Caption: Aslyn Justus, Culinary Student

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