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Are You Attending the Hands-On European Vacation Class?


And Again Please NOTE:  New LOCATION!  - Highland Branch Library, 7863 Central Ave., Highland, CA  92346.

Save your spot now.

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Let's Keep It Safe Out There

Canning season is almost upon us.

Canning is easy. Canning is fun. Canning is simple. Canning is helpful. Canning is dangerous.

Canning is dangerous? YES, canning is dangerous if you do not educate yourself and follow approved canning methods and recipes.

As you can read in this link: : Learn Before Canning Vegetables, more botulism cases showed up last year (2018) in New York. Inexperienced, and seemingly uneducated in canning principals, a home preserver put up peas from a freezer that was going kaput.

Was the fact that the peas had been frozen start the botulism? No. Was the danger from the peas defrosting? No. The danger came from using a boiling water bath for peas. Peas are low acid and MUST be processed according to USDA instructions in a pressure canner, which is easy to do and will insure that your peas are safe for consumption.

If jars of low-acid veggies are properly pressure processed, any un-sealed jars may be placed in the fridge to be used within a few days. If they are improperly processed, refrigeration just slows down bacterial growth—and the jars of peas were refrigerated for 1-2 weeks.

Canning is easy. Canning is fun. Canning is simple. Canning is helpful. Canning can be dangerous BUT Canning IS SAFE if you educate yourself and use USDA approved methods and follow tested recipes exactly.

Pass the word: Home Canner, educate thyself.

Let's keep it safe out there.

Posted on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Use That Jam Up!

Jam from good, fresh fruit is appreciated by just about everyone. It makes a good present for the holidays, a housewarming, or just because.

BUT, if you get carried away and make too much, what do you do with it other than give it away? Sure you can eat it, but really, how much jam can a person eat—wait, I know, you are saying “quite a LOT” but after all that jam on bread or toast and you still have jam and/or jelly left, what do you do?

Some times too much jam is like trying to get rid of too much home-grown zuchinni: you have to leave it on a door step, or in a car window, and run away!

The usual use for jam in on toast or bread or in a cookie. I have found can be used it to sweeten baked goods, tea (just stir a spoonful in hot tea), as a base for barbeque sauce, placed between cake layers, thinned to honey consistency and used whenever honey is called for in a recipe, to flavor plain yogurt, shakes, and milk, to flavor puddings. . . well there are MANY uses!

Weeeelll, here's some help for you. Take a gander at list of sites below. How about glazing meats, chicken or fish? Make turnovers (hand pies) with it? Sweeten cakes or cookies? Eat in a popsicle? There are some repeats of the "usual suspects", but there are a lot of good ideas here also.

Check ‘em out. Make something different with your jam today. And attach a ideas on using it.


And just for good measure, here is a more typical sweet bard to use up at least 1 cup of jam (thanks to's Jammy Fruit Bars (Hjónabandssæla, from Iceland):

Jammy Fruit Bars, inspired by Icelandic Hjónabandssæla happy marriage cake

For the Dough:

4 1/2 ounces old fashioned rolled oats, not quick cooking, instant, or thick cut (about 1 1/3 cup; 128g)

4 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup, spooned; 128g)

6 ounces light brown sugar (about 3/4 cup, firmly packed; 170g)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon (4g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight, plus additional salt for sprinkling

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 ounces cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3/4 cup; 170g)

1 large egg, straight from the fridge (about 1 3/4 ounces; 50g)

For the Filling:

8 ounces jam (volume will vary; 225g) or 12 ounces "juicy" fruit, such as whole blueberries or raspberries, pitted cherries, sliced strawberries, or peeled and diced peaches (volume will vary; 340g)

Lemon juice, to taste

Getting Ready: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8- by 2-inch square, anodized aluminum pan with two long strips of parchment to cover the bottom and sides, creasing as needed to ensure a secure fit.

Make the Dough: In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon, then mix until homogenous. If needed, this dry mix can be bagged and stored at cool room temperature up until the date stamped on the carton of oatmeal. Add the butter, toss to break up the pieces, and smash each cube flat. Continue smashing and rubbing until the butter has mostly disappeared into a clumpy, streusel-like mix. This can also be done on low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, but take care not to overdo it. Add the egg and stir with a flexible spatula until well incorporated to form a soft dough.

 Making the Bars: Scatter 16 ounces (about two-thirds of the mixture; 455g) into the bottom of the prepared cake pan, and gently press into an even layer. The idea is to encourage the pieces into a single sheet, without compressing the dough with excessive force.

Spread the jam or scatter the fruit into an even layer over the dough. Sprinkle with salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, to bring balance to the fruit or jam. The amount needed will vary for both, depending on the type of fruit and its sweetness/acidity, with sweeter, milder fruits or jams requiring a bit of a heavy hand, and mellow, acidic fruits needing less. That said, virtually all fruits and jams will benefit from at least a small sprinkling of salt and squeeze of lemon, so don't skip this step altogether.

Sprinkle the remaining dough on top of the jam or fruit layer, crumbling it like streusel. Bake until the "cake" is puffed, firm, and golden brown, about 45 minutes, although the exact timing will vary depending on the moisture content of the jam or fruit.

Cool directly in the pan until the bars are room temperature, then loosen the two exposed sides from the pan with a dull knife. Gently tug at the parchment to loosen the bars, then transfer to a cutting board, and cut into pieces as desired. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, or plain as a bar cookie. Wrapped tightly in plastic, the bar cookies will keep three or four days at cool room temperature.


And here is simple recipe to use to make some BBQ sauce, and thanks to's Jammin' Barbecue Sauce, by Theresa Lowe (a fellow Master Food Preserver)

Jammin' Barbecue Sauce

Barbeque Sauce with Jam:

1-1/2 cups Ketchup

1/2 cup homemade jam (I like raspberry, strawberry or rhubarb)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

3 dashes or more of hot sauce (to taste)

Pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Use immediately or within 2 weeks as a glaze on any grilled meats. Do NOT process this for long term storage. It is not meant to be water bath “canned”.


Posted on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 6:00 AM


Here it is!  Our next Public class:  Hands-On European Vacation.

Please NOTE:  New LOCATION!  - Highland Branch Library, 7863 Central Ave., Highland, CA  92346.

Save your spot now.


Please NOTE:  New LOCATION!  - Highland Branch Library, 7863 Central Ave., Highland, CA  92346.

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 10:58 AM

Another use for Canning Jars

A Jarful of Lights! Photo by Garidy Sanders on Unsplash

Here's a quick post for today to use up all those extra jars you may have collected: Make a chandelier from canning jars.

First, I give you the link to an article on Insteading about all sorts of DIY Chandeliers, and scroll down to see the mason jar ones: There is a lot of fun info here!

Next, the links to Canning Jar/Mason Jar chandeliers or light fixtures:

Mason Jar Chandelier

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Chandelier w/succulents:

 --and if you go and get some battery operated sting lights yo can duplicate the jar on the right in your house, patio, yard or even out camping.

Just something to think about, no? Have Fun!






Posted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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