Gardeners may benefit from pressure canning class

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Recipe and tips on food preservation

By Theresa Howard

We are seeing a definite increase in the number of people growing their own gardens and doing their own food preservation. All Extension offices are getting an increase in requests for information regarding home canning and freezing. We have free publications at the Extension Service office.

What are your favorite ways to cook or preserve out of the garden? One caller at my office recommended a cucumber recipe from the Hodgenville Woman’s Club cookbook - LaRue County Kitchens. She said her whole family loved the frozen cucumber recipe as a snack on a hot day. It is from Geneva Hutcherson.

Frozen cucumbers

1 large onion, sliced

2 quarts sliced peeled cucumbers

1 tsp. salt

Let the above ingredients stand for two hours - rinse and drain well. Mix well with 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup vinegar. Pour over cucumbers and let stand 20 minutes. Put in containers and freeze.

I have had good luck with sweet basil herb plants I got at our weekly Farmers Market. From two plants I can harvest enough leaves each week to make fresh pesto that I serve over whole wheat pasta.

Basil pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil (this amount can be reduced depending on your taste)

1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts, toasted

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine basil and walnuts in a food processor. Add garlic. Slowly add in olive oil. Add grated cheese until blended. Add in salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on hot pasta, baked potatoes or spread over toasted bread.

Makes about one cup.

Pesto also may be frozen.

What are your favorite ways to cook or preserve out of the garden? Share your ideas and recipes with me by sending me an email at tahoward@uky.edu.

Pressure canning class

Because most vegetables are low acid foods, you must use a pressure canner to preserve them correctly. This is to control the botulism bacteria spores. Pressure canners can get to higher temperatures than boiling water canners, so they can more easily destroy bacteria that may be present in low acid foods.

A free pressure canning class will be held at the Extension office 6:30 p.m. Aug. 25. This will be a hands-on demonstration of how to use a pressure canner and will allow question and answer time about using a pressure canner. Call 358-3401 to reserve a seat.