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Jeffco COOP News and Information June 7 2018

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 Jefferson County 4-H held their first Cupcake Wars on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at the Jefferson County OSU Extension office.

Three Beginners (grades 3-5) Hannah Williams, Heather Poage and Beau Combs competed for the 1st place award while Alicen Williams, Intermediate (grades 6-8) and Haley Poage, Senior (grades 9-12) had no competition in their levels.

Our judges complimented the creativeness of each competitor’s cupcakes.

Winners were:  Beginners: Hannah Williams, 1st; Heather Poage, 2nd and Beau Combs, 3rd. 

Hannah Williams
Heather Poage
Beau Combs

Intermediates:  Alicen Williams and Seniors: Haley Poage.

Alicen Williams
Haley Poage

A huge thank you to our judges: Shirley Cephur, Sharon Duncan and Gail Prentice and Jr. Judge Abby Davis who said the choices were difficult to decide the winners.  Also, a big thank you to those who participated.  Just wait and see what next year brings!!

Jeffco Coop News May 24 2018

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Presley Reid, Loco, Oklahoma was selected to receive the Jefferson County’s E.C. Joachim Scholarship award.  This scholarship is made available by the family of E.C. Joachim a true Extension supporter in Love, Jefferson and Cotton Counties.  The family chose to continue his love and support for 4-H particularly in these counties where he served in Extension for many years, by providing scholarships to graduating Seniors who have been active in their county 4-H.  Tara Brown, Jefferson County OSU Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development presents Presley with the award.

Presley Reid, Loco, Oklahoma was selected to
receive the Jefferson County’s E.C. Joachim
Scholarship award.

Presley stated “My whole life has been spent farming and ranching with family and friends. I love to play sports.  I have always been active in softball, basketball and rodeo. As I have grown into my high school years, my teammates and I have been very successful on the field and the court.  We own horses that we use on the farm, ranch and rodeo…. I have to give credit to our 4H program for all this success.  Whether I really knew it or not, 4H has always been a huge part of my life and has made a big impact on me…. 4H has helped me gain knowledge and leadership skills that I will need in the future… I personally believe every kid needs to be involved in 4H, not just the show kids.”

Jefferson County OHCE (Oklahoma Home and Community Education) meet the 3rd Tuesdays in the Waurika Sr. Citizens Center unless otherwise noted.  Dr. Lynn Null, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development, CED Comanche County presented “10 Minutes to the Table” to OHCE members at the Jefferson County OSU Fairgrounds; she prepared a delicious dish of Chicken Enchiladas Verde.  Membership to OHCE is open to any individual. Call 580-228-2332 for additional information. 

Abby Davis gets ready to serve her mother “Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches” that she learned to make during 4H Cullinary Cooking club Wednesday, May 16

Upcoming lessons:  Tuesday, June 19: “Home Invasion/Self Defense” 

Upcoming events:    July 8-10: 83rd Annual OHCE meeting

Co-Parenting for Resilience:  Divorce or separation is not an easy or favorable decision, especially when minor children are in the home.  A class for divorcing or separating parents with minor children living in the home is available monthly. Our next class is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Pre-registration is required. Call Jefferson County OSU Extension Office at 580-228-2332 for registration information.  This class is mandatory by law in Oklahoma and is also valuable for Grandparents and other relatives of minor children going through a divorce or separation.

Information is available on our website oces.okstate.edu/Jefferson and on our Facebook pages JeffersonCounty Fourh and JeffersonCounty Osu Extension.

Dicamba training videos now at county Extension offices

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STILLWATER, Okla. (May 21, 2018) – Federally mandated dicamba training is now available via video at Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service county offices.

Producers and applicators who have not yet completed the required training can view the material on video at any of the state’s 77 county Extension offices.

While there is one video per county office, multiple people may watch at the same time.

The video, approximately one hour long, also is available in Spanish. There is no charge for the training.

To receive credit for completing the video training, applicators must fill out the sign-in sheet at the county office. The sign-in sheet will be forwarded to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, which will provide a new license. Noncertified applicators will receive a certificate.

Anyone planning to use specific dicamba herbicides labelled for the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop SystemTM for soybeans and cotton must complete federally mandated and ODAFF approved dicamba training before spraying these products this year.

“It doesn’t matter if someone is a certified applicator or driving the application equipment, they must be trained,” said Todd Baughman, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension summer crop weed specialist. “Even if someone completed training last year, they’re still required to go through the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry approved training this year.”

The mandatory training covers the new regulations, including how to work with these herbicides, which are now restricted-use products with extensive recordkeeping requirements, and best management practices for applying the herbicides.

Recently introduced to Oklahoma, the Xtend cropping system for cotton and soybeans allows over-the-top application of dicamba herbicides, which traditionally had not been the case until this newest technology was developed.

With that technology, three specific herbicides – XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan – were developed for this use that are lower volatility than the other dicamba products currently on the market.

While regulations went into effect last year with the introduction of the technology, issues with drift in several states led the Environmental Protection Agency and manufacturers to develop new regulations for 2018.

For more information about dicamba training, contact the nearest county Extension office. A directory of county Extension offices is available at countyext2.okstate.edu/.

Jeffco COOP News

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Open House:  Jefferson County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services is scheduled for Friday, May 18 from 11 a.m.  – 2 p.m.  Come meet your County Extension staff who are ready and willing to assist you with your questions concerning livestock, soil, forage, Food and Nutrition and more! Food will be available and names will be drawn for Door Prizes. Our OSU Extension office is located at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 802 East D. Street, Waurika, OK. Information is available on our website oces.okstate.edu/Jefferson and on our Facebook pages JeffersonCounty Fourh and JeffersonCounty Osu Extension.

Jefferson County OHCE (Oklahoma Home and Community Education) meet the 3rd Tuesdays in the Waurika Sr. Citizens Center unless otherwise noted.  Dr. Lynn Null, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development, CED Comanche County presented “10 Minutes to the Table” to OHCE members at the Jefferson County OSU Fairgrounds; she prepared a delicious dish of Chicken Enchiladas Verde.  Membership to OHCE is open to any individual. Call 580-228-2332 for additional information. 

Upcoming lessons:  Tuesday, June 19: “Home Invasion/Self Defense” 

Upcoming events:    July 8-10: 83rd Annual OHCE meeting

Co-Parenting for Resilience:  Divorce or separation is not an easy or favorable decision, especially when minor children are in the home.  A class for divorcing or separating parents with minor children living in the home is available monthly. Our next class is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Pre-registration is required. Call Jefferson County OSU Extension Office at 580-228-2332 for registration information.  This class is mandatory by law in Oklahoma and is also valuable for Grandparents and other relatives of minor children going through a divorce or separation.

OHCE Week was May 6-12, 2018

Jefferson County OHCE Group provided Cookies and Homemade Banana Pecan Muffins to the County Commissioners and County Officers to show appreciation for their services. The group ended OHCE week by honoring Orbie Smith, member of Jefferson County OHCE for 68 years. She was presented with a certificate and bouquet of flowers for her achievement.

Melicia McFadden, President, presents Mrs. Orbie Smith with a Certificate and Bouquet of Flowers for her achievement as member of OHCE for 68 years.

Jeffco COOP News May 10 2018

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Jefferson County OHCE (Oklahoma Home and Community Education) meet the 3rd Tuesdays in the Waurika Sr. Citizens Center unless otherwise noted.  Dr. Lynn Null, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development, CED Comanche County will present “10 Minutes to the Table” – we will meet at 11:30 a.m. at the Jefferson County OSU Fairgrounds.  Membership to OHCE is open to any individual. Contact Tara Brown for additional information. 

Upcoming lessons:  Tuesday, June 19: “Home Invasion/Self Defense” 

Upcoming events:    July 8-10: 83rd Annual OHCE meeting

OHCE Week is May 6-12, 2018

Jefferson County OHCE Group will begin with providing Cookies and other goodies to the County Commissioners and Excise Board to show appreciation for their services.  Pictures will be available next week.

FCS (Family and Consumer Sciences) Educators met for their annual In-Service training and Conference April 25 -27 in Oklahoma City. FCS Educators from 14 counties of the Oklahoma West District who received their county’s Certified Healthy Department Award from Oklahoma State University Wellness Program are pictured below. Tara Brown, Jefferson County, submitted an application for the Jefferson County OSU Extension Office; Jefferson County OSU Extension office is now recognized as a Certified Healthy Department. Submitted Photo

Co-Parenting for Resilience:  Divorce or separation is not an easy or favorable decision, especially when minor children are in the home.  A class for divorcing or separating parents with minor children living in the home is available monthly. Our next class is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Pre-registration is required. Call Jefferson County OSU Extension Office at 580-228-2332 for registration information.  This class is mandatory by law in Oklahoma and is also valuable for Grandparents and other relatives of minor children going through a divorce or separation.

Open House:  Jefferson County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services staff is scheduled for Friday, May 18 from 11 a.m.  – 2 p.m.  Come meet your County Extension staff who are ready and willing to assist you with your questions concerning livestock, soil, forage, Food and Nutrition and more! Food will be available and names will be drawn for Door Prizes.  Information is available on our website oces.okstate.edu/Jefferson and on our Facebook pages JeffersonCounty Fourh and JeffersonCounty Osu Extension.

E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with romaine lettuce

Highlights

• Information collected to date indicates that romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick. 

o For the latest information about the traceback investigation, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website.

Advice to Consumers: 

Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

o Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, do not eat or buy romaine lettuce if you do not know where it was grown.

o This advice includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. If you do not know if the lettuce in a salad mix is romaine, do not eat it.

Jeffco COOP News May 3 2018

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Tara Brown, Jefferson County OSU Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences and 4-H Youth Development, provided the Tuesday, April 24 After School Program for Ringling Elementary After School participants.  23 Elementary students, 2 adults and 5 teen helpers enjoyed making their own Fruit and Cheese Kabobs as a Nutrition Education and Snack.  Most were excited and enthused to cut the fruit and cheese into smaller pieces to put on their pretzel sticks and dip into a Yogurt with cinnamon Fruit dip and eat; although there were a few that were not as excited to try some of the fruits.

Ringling girls and their kabobs.

Fruits included Gala Apple, Seedless grapes, fresh strawberries, banana and canned Pineapple tidbits in 100% natural pineapple juice. Mild Cheddar Cheese and Monterey Jack cheese were the cheeses available; the Fruit dip was made with Vanilla Yogurt sprinkled with Cinnamon and stirred to make a Cinnamon Vanilla Yogurt Fruit Dip.

The students learned to properly wash their hands prior to handling their foods; they also learned how to properly hold a Plastic Knife so they could cut their fruit pieces.  Mrs. Brown also discussed various nutrients in the fruit and cheese. Each participant received a bookmark “Veggie Challenge – Fruit Challenge” and Mrs. Brown challenged all to try different fruits and vegetables.

Thank you Ringling Elementary School for allowing Tara Brown an opportunity to provide a program to your students!

Jeffco COOP News

1

Jefferson County OHCE (Oklahoma Home and Community Education) meet the 3rd Tuesdays in the Waurika Sr. Citizens Center unless otherwise noted. Tara Brown, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development presented a “Slow Cooker Meals” program on Tuesday, April 17.  The program included Slow Cooker recipes for Zucchini Bread, Scalloped Potatoes and No-Frill Potato Soup.  Tara prepared and served Cinnamon apples which she had prepared in a slow cooker. The next meeting will be May 15 at 12 noon at Waurika Sr. Citizens’ Center.  Dr. Lynn Null, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development, CED Comanche County will present “10 Minutes to the Table”.  Membership to OHCE is open to any individual. Contact Tara Brown for additional information. 

Upcoming lessons:  Tuesday, June 19: “Home Invasion/Self Defense” 

Upcoming events:    July 8-10: 83rd Annual OHCE meeting

Co-Parenting for Resilience:  Divorce or separation is not an easy or favorable decision, especially when minor children are in the home.  A class for divorcing or separating parents with minor children living in the home is available monthly. Our next class is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Pre-registration is required. Call Jefferson County OSU Extension Office at 580-228-2332 for registration information.  This class is mandatory by law in Oklahoma and is also valuable for Grandparents and other relatives of minor children going through a divorce or separation.

Open House:  Jefferson County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services staff is scheduled for Friday, May 18 from 11 a.m.  – 2 p.m.  Come meet your County Extension staff who are ready and willing to assist you with your questions concerning livestock, soil, forage, Food and Nutrition and more! Information is available on our website oces.okstate.edu/Jefferson and on our Facebook pages JeffersonCounty Fourh and JeffersonCounty Osu Extension.

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.  Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

Save More at the Store

The smartest shoppers know that saving money is more than luck. When shopping for groceries, it’s about having a game plan and making smart decisions about what to put in your cart.

1. Ask for advice. Grocery stores, ethnic markets, dollar stores, retail supercenters, and wholesale clubs can offer good deals. Ask friends and family where they shop and find their best bargains!

2. Eat before you shop. Grocery shopping hungry can lead to impulse buying and unhealthy food choices.

3. Read the sales flyer. Sales flyers are usually released mid-week and can be found at the store’s entrance, in the newspaper, or on their website.

4. Use coupons – but only for items that you know you’ll use. If you don’t need an item right away, save the coupon and see if it goes on sale.  For more on couponing, check out Save More at the Grocery Store.

5. Look up and down for savings. Stores often stock the priciest items at eye level. You can save big by looking at the upper and lower shelves too.

6. Check for store brands. Most stores offer their own brand of products that often cost less than name brands.

7. Grab from the back. Stores typically stock shelves from back to front, placing the newest items behind the older ones. Reach in the back for the freshest items especially in the produce, dairy, and meat aisles.

8. Ask for a rain check. If a sale item has run out, ask the store for a rain check. This allows you to pay the sale price after the item is restocked.

9. Join your store’s loyalty program. Most stores offer a free loyalty program. Get special offers and discounts that non-members do not.

10. Think outside the store. Farmers markets and farm stands can be great options for picking up fresh produce at a discount.  Check the National Farmers Market Directory for locations near you.

Jeffco COOP News April 12 2018

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Jefferson County OHCE (Oklahoma Home and Community Education) meet the 3rd Tuesdays in the Waurika Sr. Citizens Center unless otherwise noted.  The next meeting will be April 17 at 12 noon at Waurika Sr. Citizens’ Center.  Tara Brown will present our program “Slow Cooker Meals”.  Contact Tara Brown for additional information. 

Friday, April 6, members of Jefferson County OHCE attended the SW District OHCE meeting held in Pauls Valley.  Carolyn Arnold, Secretary; Kimberly Morris, member; Melicia McFadden, President and Tara Brown, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development and Advisor started the day early to be at the meeting place in Pauls Valley by 8:30 a.m. Each of us attended three different sessions which included “Oklahoma Wheat Commission”; “Shabby Chic Flower Pot painting”; How to write reports; there was also a session for Presidents; and others. The large group of attendees said “Farewell and Good wishes upon retirement” to Gloria King, formerly SW District FCS Program Specialist.  It was a good informative day.

Carolyn Arnold, Secretary; Kimberly Morris, member; Melicia McFadden, President and Tara Brown, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development attended the SW District OHCE meeting held in Pauls Valley.
Submitted photo.

Co-Parenting for Resilience:  Divorce or separation is not an easy or favorable decision, especially when minor children are in the home.  A class for divorcing or separating parents with minor children living in the home, is available monthly or as scheduled.  Our next class is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Pre-registration is required. Call Jefferson County OSU Extension Office at 580-228-2332 for registration information.  This class is mandatory by law in Oklahoma and is also valuable for Grandparents and other relatives of minor children going through a divorce or separation.

 Jefferson County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services staff is ready and willing to assist you with your Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H –related questions.  Call 580-228-2332.  Information is also available on our website oces.okstate.edu/Jefferson.  Our Facebook pages are JeffersonCounty Fourh  and JeffersonCounty Osu Extension.

 Making room for this season’s garden harvest

Now that the spring season is underway, many gardeners are looking forward to getting their fruits and vegetables in the ground and hoping for a productive growing season.

For those who had a bountiful harvest last season and canned or froze their crops, it is time to clear off the shelves and clean out the freezer and get ready to preserve this year’s harvest, said Barbara Brown, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension food specialist.

“There’s nothing better than opening a jar of green beans or pulling a bag of okra from the freezer in the middle of winter and being able to taste that summer freshness,” Brown said. “If you had a particularly big garden, it’s likely you’ve still got a few jars of goodness on your shelves or in your freezer. Because the quality of home-preserved foods doesn’t last forever, it’s a good idea to clear out those canned foods in the pantry or those foods in the freezer to make space for what you’re planning to grow this season.”

Although freezing will not improve the flavor or texture of any food, it can preserve most of the quality of a fresh product as long as it is frozen properly and stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Most fruits and vegetables will last in the freezer eight to 12 months. Certainly, these foods should be safe to eat after a year, but the eating quality and nutrition may be lower. Putting dates on all your frozen foods can help make sure you use them while they are at their best. 

Some gardeners prefer to can some of their fruits and vegetables. Properly canned food stored in a cool, dry place will retain optimum eating quality for at least a year. 

“Most of us don’t have a root cellar like our ancestors did, so proper storage is a must,” Brown said. “Canned food stored in a warm place near hot pipes, a range, a furnace or indirect sunlight will have a much shorter shelf life. Also, canned items stored in a damp area can cause lids to corrode and may result in leakage, so the food will spoil. Before you get started canning this year’s harvest, go through any remaining foods from last year and check for signs of spoilage.”

Check over your home canned foods for signs of spoilage. Check the seals, make sure flats are not swollen and there is no sign of gas bubbles, mold or other unwanted growth inside the jars. Do not taste food from a jar with an unsealed lid or food that shows signs of spoilage. 

You can more easily detect some types of spoilage in jars stored without screw bands. Growth of spoilage bacteria and yeast produces gas which pressurizes the food, swells lids and breaks jar seals. As each stored jar is selected for use, examine its lid for tightness and vacuum. Lids with concave centers have good seals. 

Next, while holding the jar upright at eye level, rotate the jar and examine its outside surface for streaks of dried food originating at the top of the jar. Look at the contents for rising air bubbles and unnatural color. 

While opening the jar, smell for unnatural odors and look for spurting liquid and cotton-like mold growth (white, blue, black or green) on the top food surface and underside of lid.

“No matter which method of preservation you prefer, make sure to use proper preservation and storage methods,” Brown said. “This will help ensure you have garden-ripe fruits and vegetables all year long.” 

For information on proper canning and freezing of garden produce, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation at http://nchfp.uga.edu/index.html 

Jeffco COOP News

0

Jefferson County OHCE (Oklahoma Home and Community Education) meet the 3rd Tuesdays in the Waurika Sr. Citizens Center unless otherwise noted.  The next meeting will be April 17 at 12 noon at Waurika Sr. Citizens’ Center.  Tara Brown will present our program “Slow Cooker Meals”.  Contact Tara Brown for additional information. 

Co-Parenting for Resilience:  Divorce or separation is not an easy or favorable decision, especially when minor children are in the home.  A class for divorcing or separating parents with minor children living in the home, is available monthly or as scheduled.  Our next class is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Pre-registration is required. Call Jefferson County OSU Extension Office at 580-228-2332 for registration information.  This class is mandatory by law in Oklahoma and is also valuable for Grandparents and other relatives of minor children going through a divorce or separation.

Jefferson County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services staff are ready and willing to assist you with your Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H –related questions.  Call 580-228-2332.  Information is also available on our website oces.okstate.edu/Jefferson.  Our Facebook pages are JeffersonCounty Fourh  and JeffersonCounty Osu Extension.

Food Shopping Starts at Home

Managing food dollars wisely involves planning before and during your grocery shopping.  Some knowledge of nutrition, plus careful meal planning, skillful shopping, proper food storage, handling, and preparation will help you to serve satisfying meals while remaining within your food budget.

Check newspaper ads for special sales; Clip coupons if the item is one you would normally buy and if the item is less expensive than similar brands; take advantage of seasonal specials; Think appetite appeal since people eat all their senses, plan meals using foods of contrasting colors, textures, flavors, sizes, shapes and temperatures; Plan the use of leftovers; Make a shopping list.  

Tara Brown, Extension Educator for Jefferson County OSU Extension office has more information and programs.

Jeffco COOP News March 22 2018

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Jefferson County OHCE (Oklahoma Home and Community Education) meet the 3rd Tuesdays in the Waurika Sr. Citizens Center unless otherwise noted. Our March meeting will be Tuesday and Wednesday (March 20 and 21) 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day; Pamela Varner, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development, CED for Cotton County will lead us making “Crazy Quilt Jacket”. Contact Tara Brown for additional information and copy of the supply list needed for the Easy Crazy Quilt Jacket.

Co-Parenting for Resilience: Divorce or separation is not an easy or favorable decision, especially when minor children are in the home. A class for divorcing or separating parents with minor children living in the home, is available monthly or as scheduled. Our next class is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Pre-registration is required. Call Jefferson County OSU Extension Office at 580-228-2332 for registration information. This class is mandatory by law in Oklahoma and is also valuable for Grandparents and other relatives of minor children going through a divorce or separation.

Making room for this season’s garden harvest

Now that the spring season is underway, many gardeners are looking forward to getting their fruits and vegetables in the ground and hoping for a productive growing season.

For those who had a bountiful harvest last season and canned or froze their crops, it is time to clear off the shelves and clean out the freezer and get ready to preserve this year’s harvest, said Barbara Brown, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension food specialist.

“There’s nothing better than opening a jar of green beans or pulling a bag of okra from the freezer in the middle of winter and being able to taste that summer freshness,” Brown said. “If you had a particularly big garden, it’s likely you’ve still got a few jars of goodness on your shelves or in your freezer. Because the quality of home-preserved foods doesn’t last forever, it’s a good idea to clear out those canned foods in the pantry or those foods in the freezer to make space for what you’re planning to grow this season.”

Although freezing will not improve the flavor or texture of any food, it can preserve most of the quality of a fresh product as long as it is frozen properly and stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Most fruits and vegetables will last in the freezer eight to 12 months. Certainly, these foods should be safe to eat after a year, but the eating quality and nutrition may be lower. Putting dates on all your frozen foods can help make sure you use them while they are at their best.

Some gardeners prefer to can some of their fruits and vegetables. Properly canned food stored in a cool, dry place will retain optimum eating quality for at least a year.

“Most of us don’t have a root cellar like our ancestors did, so proper storage is a must,” Brown said. “Canned food stored in a warm place near hot pipes, a range, a furnace or indirect sunlight will have a much shorter shelf life. Also, canned items stored in a damp area can cause lids to corrode and may result in leakage, so the food will spoil. Before you get started canning this year’s harvest, go through any remaining foods from last year and check for signs of spoilage.”

Check over your home canned foods for signs of spoilage. Check the seals, make sure flats are not swollen and there is no sign of gas bubbles, mold or other unwanted growth inside the jars. Do not taste food from a jar with an unsealed lid or food that shows signs of spoilage.

You can more easily detect some types of spoilage in jars stored without screw bands. Growth of spoilage bacteria and yeast produces gas which pressurizes the food, swells lids and breaks jar seals. As each stored jar is selected for use, examine its lid for tightness and vacuum. Lids with concave centers have good seals.

Next, while holding the jar upright at eye level, rotate the jar and examine its outside surface for streaks of dried food originating at the top of the jar. Look at the contents for rising air bubbles and unnatural color.

While opening the jar, smell for unnatural odors and look for spurting liquid and cotton-like mold growth (white, blue, black or green) on the top food surface and underside of lid.

“No matter which method of preservation you prefer, make sure to use proper preservation and storage methods,” Brown said. “This will help ensure you have garden-ripe fruits and vegetables all year long.”

For information on proper canning and freezing of garden produce, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation at http://nchfp.uga.edu/index.html

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