At our last Grow Appalachia meeting at LCAAHC which was Tuesday night, the discussion was on Fall Planting. As every one’s garden is winding down and Coordinator Wayne Riley is making his way around to all the participants to turn the gardens under, many of our participants are eagerly waiting to start their Fall crops. If you plant by the signs, then the best time to plant the fall crops are Aug. 27, 28 & 29. Wayne passed out turnip, kale & lettuce seeds to name a few that are perfect for the cooler weather that is approaching.
We all love getting together and talk about our gardens and how well they produced. One gardener, Ricky had a 40 pound watermelon to show us, it was his first time growing them. Another, James Napier talks about how well his banana cantaloupes did. Many of us had never heard of this type of cantaloupe. It looks awesome. We also talked about trading seeds later in the year so anyone who wanted to try to grow something different next year had the opportunity. A few of our participants have heirloom seeds, such as the banana cantaloupe, that they have had for many generations

We enjoyed homemade salsa that one participant brought in, many brought jars of home canned goodies to show off. A few have been donated to the LAAHC to put of display for everyone to see. Everyone was excited to talk about what they had canned this year, many of our participants are first time gardeners and they were eager for all the information they could get. Most of our newer participants canned tomato sauce and/or juice, pickles, beans, corn. Others talked about canning zucchini, squash, potatoes, apples, peaches, jams and jellies. Canning recipes were passed around.

One I wanted to share was called:

White Chocolate and Raspberry Spread

6 cups raspberries
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1  1.75 oz. pkg. regular powdered fruit pectin
6 cups sugar
9 oz. whit baking chocolate (with cocoa butter), finely chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a 6 quart heavy pot, use a potato masher to slightly crush raspberries. Add vanilla bean. Heat raspberry mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the pectin, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, , stirring constantly. Add sugar and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute,stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. Discard vanilla bean. Add white chocolate, stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in vanilla extract.
Ladle hot spread into hot jar sterilized half pint canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids.
Process filled jars in a boiling-water bath canner for 10 minutes (start timer when water returns to boiling) Remove jars from canner, cool on towel that is on the counter.
Makes 8 half pints