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Gardeners make good friends, especially during the holidays when they give out foods preserved from their gardens.
The top five canning recipes used during the holidays are for applesauce, cranberry sauce, jalapeno jelly, apple pie filling and sauerkraut, according to a recent survey by Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball-brand mason jars.
There appears to be a distinctive second season for food preservation a spike from late November into December made by canners who want to share homemade gifts in jars.
Many consumers can syrups, jellies and sauces to give away as holiday gifts, along with crafting and decor use for the holidays, said Jeff Marvel, a Jarden spokesman.
The jars themselves can be collectors items, and serving accessories on tables or sideboards.
People prefer to see the vibrant colors of their fresh-packed tomatoes or peaches in clear glass, said Judy Harrold, Jardens Consumer Affairs manager. Things like granola and layered cooking mixes tend to look better in colored jars. The same goes for non-food items like candles, potpourri, bath salts and collectibles.
Gardeners holiday gifts are driven in part by the kinds of edibles harvested late in the growing season, and in part by traditional holiday menus.
Younger canners are using ingredients from all over, Harrold said. They rely more on farmers markets than they do backyard gardens for their produce. And they only go to the grocery store when they dont have an ingredient to fit into their recipes, she said.
All of the food preservation techniques canning, freezing, dehydrating, fermenting and cold storage delay or stop spoilage while sealing in flavor and nutritional value. But home canners must use the proper techniques so they dont pass along any food-borne illnesses.
Under-processing canned goods could lead to bacteria in the food without any outward signs of spoilage, said Elizabeth Andress, a University of Georgia food safety specialist.
Gift giving is not a good time to experiment or try new procedures, Andress said. If youre talking canning, dont experiment with anything in the low-acid realm at all. That would include meats and vegetables.
Also, ensure that the jars you use are meant for canning.
Some jars are intended for non-canning purposes, like crafts, and cant withstand the heat or temperature changes of the canning process, Andress said.
Be descriptive with jar labels. You can make your own or find labels made to order online.
In addition to letting the receiver know exactly what the food is by listing the ingredients on the label, its a nice touch to recommend how to use it, Andress said. Things like apple rings or chutneys or pepper jellies. The latter is especially good with cream cheese.
Gardening events calendar(Photo: Gannett file photo)
Fall in the Native Plant Garden,UW Madison Arboretum, Madison.Color, fruits, seeds, late blooming plants, late-season insects. Susan Carpenterwill lead this tour. 1 to 3 p.m.,arboretum.wisc.edu, (608)263-7888.
Harvest Happenings,Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan.Farm, food, and festivities to learn about local food culture with heirloom seed demonstration, apple tastings, hands-on activities. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., bookwormgardens.org, (920)287-7895.
Autumn Fest,Monk Botanical Gardens, Wausau. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pumpkin decorating, bingo, food, drinks, a bake sale, letter-boxing, tours, storytime, reading in the tree house, math, and face painting. Each child will receive a free pumpkin; $1 per person. rwmonkgardens.org, (715)261-6309.
End of the Season Tea,Hoard Historical Museum, Fort Atkinson.Jefferson County Master Gardener Volunteers teach what to do at the end of the gardening season: cleanup, seed collection, late season products. Part of the museums education series. 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., free, but registration required. (920)563-7769, hoardmuseum.org.
Sept.24 to Nov.6
Fall Harvest Fest Floral Show,Mitchell Park Domes, Milwaukee.Bring in the autumn harvest of fall flowers at the Domes, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and major holidays; $3 per person. Free for children age 5 and under. For details, http://bit.ly/152PvwK, (414)257-5611.
Bulb Planting,Rotary Botanical Gardens,Janesville. 6:30 to 8 p.m., $3, members; $5 nonmembers, (608)754-1779, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville.
Medicinal Plant Symposium. 1p.m. - 6p.m. UW Madison. Ebling Auditorium and Allen Centennial Garden, Madison.
African Violet Show and Sale. Annual show and sale of Wisconsin African Violet clubs. Trinity United Methodist Church. 300 Church St. Lomira.
Family Nature Nights: Seeds Galore. 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Green Bay Botanical Garden. 2600 Larsen Rd. Green Bay.www.gbbg.org.
Fall Floral Arranging Class. 6p.m. - 7 p.m. Green Bay Botanical Garden. 2600 Larsen Rd. Green Bay.www.gbbg.org.
Holistic Flu Tips. 6p.m. - 8p.m. Green Bay Botanical Garden. 2600 Larsen Rd. Green Bay.www.gbbg.org.
Photography: Fall Colors. 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Green Bay Botanical Garden. 2600 Larsen Rd. Green Bay.www.gbbg.org.
Fall Garden Seminar. 8a.m. - noon. Fall gardening seminar featuring guest speakers and more. UW Marshfield. 2000 Fifth St., Marshfield.
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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A Piedmont woman wants to warn others to be careful when hiring for home repairs. She believes workers who came to her home stole money and jewelry from her.
Lois Barnes, of Archdale, says she hired a company to install new carpet in part of her home. She withdrew $800 cash and had it in a kitchen drawer to pay the men when they were done.
But the money disappeared, along with jewelry from her bedroom. Barnes filed a police report. The case could be hard to prove because tracing the cash could be nearly impossible, she said. She had to pay the bill anyway.
We cant name the company because charges havent been filed, but Barnes still wanted to warn other elderly people about what she learned from this ordeal.
Whoever's out there that's got elderly people needing something done in the home, have a loved one there with them at all times while them people is there, she insisted. Youve got to have somebody there with you or you're going to get ripped off somewhere along the line. I don't care what the company is.
Kevin Hinterberger is the president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Central North Carolina. If there are seniors in your family and they're having work done, it's great to volunteer to be there with them as the work is being done, maybe help them do the research,Hinterberger said.
But, he said, home repair advice goes for consumers of any age. Get at least three estimates. Paying with a credit card will always offer the most protection for the consumer. That way they can dispute the charge if they need to, if things don't go the way they planned, they can dispute the charge with the credit card company.
Barnes is relieved her home insurance helped cover her losses, but said she'll be more careful who she lets do work on her home in the future.
When you think of home repairs, you probably think of guys with tool belts, dirt and mess, and lots of hassle. But finding a contractor to complete the job can be a daunting and frightening task on its own. Understanding whats a fair price and handling the negotiations with the contractor also introduces a whole new level of hassle.
The one thing you probably dont think about is the way getting y