Sunday, June 21, 2009

During Tough Times, Canning Makes a Comeback

I had no idea that I was becoming trendy. I started canning a couple of summers ago. I did it with my mom when we were younger. I find it really enjoyable, but I would not recommend doing it unless you enjoy it. I wil start posting some of my recipes soon. Only two more weeks of grad school left. YIPPEE!

During Tough Times, Canning Makes A Comeback
by Jennifer Moore
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Weekend Edition Saturday, June 20, 2009 · When tough times hit, it's said that people "go back to what they know." Across the country, some people are trying to find out what their grandparents knew. Old and young alike are trying to pick up a new skill and save a little money by learning the art of canning food.
In the kitchen of the Second Baptist Church of Springfield, Mo., 30 people are snapping fresh green beans and tossing them into a pan.
This canning class is one of a dozen offered this summer through the University of Missouri extension office. Program director David Burton says the interest in canning food this year is unprecedented.
"Last year in Greene County, we really struggled to fill two canning classes," he says. "And this year, we thought we might face similar struggles. But our first class filled in just a matter of a couple of days. And really we found every time we would set up another two classes, we would book them about as quickly as we could set them up."
In the class, canning students place a huge pot of green beans on the stove. Nearby, eight glass jars are sterilizing inside a pressure cooker known as a "canner." Using a "jar lifter," the instructor removes each jar from the canner and dumps the steaming water out of it.
Class members then spoon the boiled green beans into the jars, tapping out bubbles before putting the seals and lids on. Then, the instructor places them in the pressure cooker, clamping it shut.
Shelley Vaugine is a master gardener with the UM extension office.
"Canning is really making a comeback. After about two decades, I'm finally trendy," she says, laughing.
Vaugine says just as the bad economy has led people to learn how to grow their own food, it has spurred interest in how to preserve it.
"In the Springfield area, we've lost hundreds of jobs here. And a lot of these people are not finding new jobs. They're just not out there. So they are going back to what they know," she explains.
But most only know of canning second- or thirdhand. Many of this generation never learned the skill their parents and grandparents relied on to get them through the rationing of the Great Depression and two World Wars. And as that older generation passed away, those canning skills went with them. Pat Summer knows about canning.
"During the Depression, I was canning at 11 years old," she says.
Now she's 80 years old, and she still cans the food she grows at home. During the 1930s, her father worked on President Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration, or WPA, as her mother went door-to-door selling hairbrushes. As a child, her little hands pulled hundreds of weeds from the family garden and canned lots of produce.
Summer was surprised when, earlier this year, she was approached by community leaders asking her to teach a group of younger women how to can food.
She says she gave up long ago trying to keep up with the latest technology — in fact, the only blackberries she knows go in jam.
"It's a good feeling. And it makes you not feel so much like you're rejected by the younger generation," she says.
The company Jarden Home Brands, which now owns the popular Ball line of canning products, says it has already seen a 30 percent increase in sales of jars and lids this year, and the bulk of the harvest season is still months away.
Jennifer Moore reports for KSMU in Springfield, Mo.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nutter Burgs

We made some really great burgers tonight, so before I forget what we did, I decided I needed to blog about it! We made 6 big burgers from this recipe. So adjust the recipe for what you are making.

2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1 tablespoon Worcester
a few drops of Tabasco
salt and pepper
BBQ Sauce (Penguin Ed's Mild is AMAZING with this!! You can buy it here:
OR you can buy it in Fayetteville, AR-- if you go to the restaurant, order some fried pickles!)

Flatten the ground beef out so that you maximize the surface area. Add your raw egg, Worcester, Tabasco, Salt and Pepper on top of the ground beef. Then get your hands dirty and mix it all together until it is well dispersed. Your meat will be pretty wet at this point. Spread out your meat once again and spread a layer of breadcrumbs on top of the meat. You will want to use enough to absorb some of the moisture, but you don't want to dry it out. Again, mix it all together with your hands. Break into pieces and form your burgers. The egg will add a lot of stability to the meat and the burgers won't break or fall apart when you are grilling.

As you are grilling the burgers, pour the BBQ sauce over the patties. Once they are done the burgers should have a thin layer of sauce, but not overwhelming. Add cheese to these suckers, dress them up as you like and enjoy. Delicious!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


It is the season for fresh foods. Clay and I have been enjoying all of the fresh ingredients available in the summer. I have some recipes I have been trying out lately, but until I finish with grad school on July 3, it will be pretty sparse for me. I did, however, want to post this simple summer appetizer. It is one of our favorites in the summer. Enjoy!

1 tsp salt (or less to taste)
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp basil (preferably fresh)
1/2 tsp minced garlic (more if desired)
2 large chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. First, remove the juice and seeds from the inside of the tomatoes. It will be juicy enough with the olive oil.
  2. Chop the tomatoes, set aside.
  3. Mix salt, pepper, basil, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Pour the mixture over the tomatoes.
    Toss tomatoes to make sure they are all coated, and let stand in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let the flavors blend. \

This is great to go on Italian breads, including garlic bread. It's wonderful with some Parmesan or mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top. Bruschetta is a great appetizer or side dish to go along with all of your Italian favorites.

Tip: You may want to adjust the amount of salt in your bruschetta according to how salty your bread is.

Monday, June 1, 2009

30 Minute Chicken Fajitas

I made this fajita recipe on Saturday night. It was very easy and very tasty! Give it a try!!


8 flour tortillas

1 teaspoon oil

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in thin strips

1 large onion, cut in slivers from pole to pole

1 green bell pepper, cut in slivers pole to pole

1 red bell pepper, cut in slivers pole to pole

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chili powder

3 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon black pepper

ground red pepper (to taste)

salt (to taste)

In a large wok, warm the oil. Cook the chicken slices until done, stir regularly. Add everything except tortillas. Mix well. Cook covered. Stir every few minutes. It's done when the peppers are tender and the vegetables are starting to get browned in spots. Serve with warmed flour tortillas.