RIPLEY – Youngsters from the Boys & Girls Club got a chance to learn about canning from an organization that teaches groups how to preserve locally grown produce at Ripley Second Baptist Church on Monday, June 17. The event was part of the club’s summer program.
Girls from BGC were visited by Winston County Self Help Cooperative (WCSHC). “WCSHC was founded in 1985 and helps small farmers sustain their farms by managing natural resources,” said WCSHC team leader Frank Taylor.
On Monday, the group visited Ripley to teach the BGC how to make strawberry jam. They were invited by BGC Advisory Board Member James Storey.
WCSHC member Rosie Harris led the canning instruction and was assisted my Lorene Gladney.
BGC girls got to be involved in the entire canning process from start to finish. They removed the leaves from the strawberries, crushed the berries, measured out the correct amount of crushed berries, added Sure-Jell, filled the sterilized jars and placed on the lids and rings. They were able to observe the cooking process and the jar canning process while being closely overseen by Harris and BGC Director Veronica Hoyle.
In all, the girls made 11 half pints of jam. Harris told the girls to visit their local Extension Service to pick up more information about canning. Mr. Storey then explained that the Tippah County Extension Service is located at the Tippah County Fairgrounds and encouraged the students to get involved in the 4-H program through the Extension Service. He stated that there are college scholarship available for students involved in 4-H.
Taylor went on to encourage the girls to take advantage of the resources and experts that are available to them. “Today is the best day of your life,” said Taylor. “Make the best of your opportunities. You are surrounded by knowledge.” He also encouraged the girls to read and expand their vocabulary. “Educate yourselves now and it will pay dividends.”
The following recipe is similar to the recipe Mrs. Harris taught the Boys and Girls Club.
5 cups prepared fruit (buy about 2 quarts fully ripe strawberries)
1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1. Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
2. Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 5 cups prepared fruit into 6 or 8 quart sauce pot.
3. Stir pectin into fruit in sauce pot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
4. Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if needed.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)