Youths at a 4-H cooking camp recently whipped up some tasty dishes — a no-crust blueberry pie, a kale salad and chicken patties.

Instructor Michelle Estrada, family and consumer sciences extension agent, said it’s never too early for children to learn the proper methods and safety precautions for cooking.

“Knowing how to cook can help us to control what we eat and improve our health while discovering new flavors and dishes,” she said.

During the cooking camp, Estrada gave some safety precautions for the youths to do before, during and after cooking, such as washing their hands and cooking surfaces often and cooking food to a safe temperature.

She also explained to the young chefs that they should use different utensils, dishes and pans for each kind of food so they don’t cross contaminate them. She told them they should also refrigerate foods they’ve prepared promptly to avoid getting sick from bacteria.

Estrada also gave the youths some cooking advice.

“We gave them some baking tips, and we taught them about measuring dry and liquid ingredients,” she said. “And we taught them how to core strawberries with a straw.

“We talked about massaging the kale to infuse the kale with the lemon juice and oil, and also to break down some of the tough, fibrous characteristics of kale. This makes it easier to chew and digest, and makes for a more tender salad.”

Estrada said the youths enjoyed testing the foods they prepared, and also sharing them with their families.

“Knowing how to cook can help a person to save money, eat healthier and be independent,” she said.

No Crust Blueberry Pie

2 ½ c. fresh blueberries, divided

1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

1 c.all-purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round pie dish with cooking spray; set aside.

To a large bowl, add 1 c. sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix melted butter, eggs and extracts.

Pour mixtures together and combine; do not over mix. Add 2 c. blueberries and stir. Pour mixture out into pie dish, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Sprinkle 1/4 c. blueberries and 2 Tbsp. sugar over the top.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until edges are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow pie to cool before slicing and serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Kale Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing

For the dressing:

½ c. extra virgin olive oil

¼ c. fresh lemon juice

2 -2 ½ Tbsp. honey start with 2, add more, to taste

1 small clove garlic

½ tsp. kosher salt

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well.

For the salad:

1 ½ c. sliced fresh strawberries

8 c. thinly sliced kale

1 c. fresh blueberries

½ c. dried cranberries

½ c. sunflowers seeds

Place thinly sliced kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp. of the dressing. Stir well with a large spatula to coat the kale with dressing. Using your hands, rub kale between your fingers for about 30 to 45 seconds to thoroughly coat it with the dressing.

Add strawberries, blueberries and dried cranberries and gently toss to combine. Drizzle with a bit more dressing and top with sunflowers seeds. Pass extra dressing at the table.

Chicken Patties

2 (4.5-oz.) cans low- sodium chicken

1 c. breadcrumbs, divided

1 c. low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ c. nonfat ranch salad dressing

½ c. finely chopped onion

Non-stick cooking spray

Drain tuna, separate into flakes using a fork

In a medium bowl, combine tuna, 1/2 c. bread crumbs, cheese, egg, salad dressing and onion. Form six patties; coat each side with remaining 1/2 c. breadcrumbs.

Spray non-stick skillet with cooking spray; heat to medium heat

Cook patties 3 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown.