Home Insteading With Cooperative Extension (Week 14)

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4-H at Home
Camaryn Byrum, 4-H Agent 

Fizzy Foamy Fun

Do you like conducting science experiments? Then this activity is for you! This 4-H STEM Lab experiment introduces chemical reactions. Chemical reactions are impacted by a catalyst. A catalyst is a substance or material that helps speed up a reaction. In this activity, youth will create a colorful foam fountain.

This activity is an exothermic reaction (one that gives off heat). If you touch the bottle or foam after the reaction takes place, you will notice that it is warm. This heat is caused by the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. This reaction usually happens slowly over time, but when you add the yeast, a catalyst, it speeds up the process. The oxygen that is being released, combines with the dish soap to create lots of colorful foam.


  • (1) 20 oz. bottle, rinsed out and dried
  • Dish soap
  • Food coloring (of choice)
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • Small Bowl
  • Funnel
  • Large rectangular baking pan (keeps mess minimal)
  • Measuring Cup
  • ½ cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 packet active dry yeast


  1. Combine the warm water and yeast in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Put the bottle in the rectangular baking pan.
  3. Using the funnel (or a sheet of paper rolled into a funnel), pour the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.
  4. Add a few drops of food coloring.
  5. Add a couple of squirts of dish soap.
  6. Use the funnel to pour the water/yeast mixture into the bottle.
  7. Take the funnel out quickly and stand back. Record your observations!


  1. What did you observe before adding in the water and yeast mixture?
  2. What changed when you added in the water and yeast mixture?
  3. What do you notice if you touch the bubbles?

Fizzy Foamy Fun

Activity and photo

Family and Consumer Sciences at Home
Mary Morris, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent 


Someone asked me this morning what can I do with all of these cucumbers I have so many I am running out of ideas? Anyone who has ever planted cucumbers would know that one day there is nothing and the next the vine is covered.

If you are from anywhere in the South, refrigerator pickles at a summer meal is a staple. These are made daily with a cut-up peeled cucumber, vinegar, water (to dilute the vinegar), a little sugar (1 Tbsp), and salt and pepper. Prepare and put in a bowl to chill while you are making dinner they will be perfect by the time the food is ready.

For years, cucumber was considered to be primarily “diet food” because of its low caloric content. Recent research, however, has shown this water-laden vegetable contains significant amounts of phyto-nutrients that have a wide array of human health benefits. Cucumbers are commonly grouped into three types: burpless, slicing, and pickling. Greenhouse cucumbers are also classified as a cucumber cultivar and can be included in this list.

Other ways you can prepare cucumbers of course are in green salads, just to eat raw as a snack, and they are great in pasta salads. The only real way to preserve cucumbers is to make pickles, they don’t freeze or cook well.

Preparing Pickled and Fermented Foods

The many varieties of pickled and fermented foods are classified by ingredients and methods of preparation.

Regular dill pickles and sauerkraut are fermented and cured for about 3 weeks. Refrigerator dills are fermented for about 1 week. During curing, colors and flavors change, and acidity increases. Fresh-pack or quick-process pickles are not fermented; some are brined several hours or overnight, then drained and covered with vinegar and seasonings. Fruit pickles usually are prepared by heating fruit in a seasoned syrup acidified with either lemon juice or vinegar. Relishes are made from chopped fruits and vegetables that are cooked with seasonings and vinegar.

Be sure to remove and discard a 1/16-inch slice from the blossom end of fresh cucumbers. Blossoms may contain an enzyme that causes excessive softening of pickles.

Caution: The level of acidity in a pickled product is as important to its safety as it is to taste and texture.

  • Do not alter vinegar, food, or water proportions in a recipe or use a vinegar with unknown acidity.
  • Use only recipes with tested proportions of ingredients.
  • There must be a minimum, uniform level of acid throughout the mixed product to prevent the growth of botulinum bacteria.

Pickles with Reduced Salt Content

In the making of fresh-pack pickles, cucumbers are acidified quickly with vinegar. Use only tested recipes formulated to produce the proper acidity. While these pickles may be prepared safely with reduced or no salt, their quality may be noticeably lower. Both texture and flavor may be slightly, but noticeably, different than expected. You may wish to make small quantities first to determine if you like them.

However, the salt used in making fermented sauerkraut and brined pickles not only provides characteristic flavor but also is vital to safety and texture. In fermented foods, salt favors the growth of desirable bacteria while inhibiting the growth of others. Caution: Do not attempt to make sauerkraut or fermented pickles by cutting back on the salt required.

For recipes or more information on pickling or fermenting foods call or email Mary Morris at 252-482-6585/ mary_morris@ncsu.edu.

Quick Fresh-Pack Dill Pickles

    • 8 lbs of 3- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers
    • 2 gals water
    • 1¼ cups canning or pickling salt
    • 1½ Qts vinegar (5 percent)
    • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tbsp whole mixed pickling spice
  • about 3 tbsp whole mustard seed (2 tsp to 1 tsp per pint jar)
  • about 14 heads of fresh dill (1½ heads per pint jar)or4½ tbsp dill seed (1½ tsp per pint jar)Yield: 7 to 9 pints

Please visit this website and read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first-time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slice off blossom end and discard, but leave ¼-inch of stem attached. Dissolve ¾ cup salt in 2-gals water. Pour over cucumbers and let stand 12 hours. Drain. Combine vinegar, ½ cup salt, sugar, and 2 quarts water. Add mixed pickling spices tied in a clean white cloth. Heat to boiling. Fill jars with cucumbers. Add 1 tsp mustard seed and 1½ heads fresh dill per pint. Cover with boiling pickling solution, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process 10 Min in Hot Water Bath according to the recommendations.



Horticulture at Home
Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent 

Two Steps to Controlling Fire Ants

Fire ants can be serious pests for gardeners, and are best managed with a two-step chemical control method. Gardeners should also follow best management techniques to discourage mound development. The following is recommended for home lawns.

Step 1:  Treat individual mounds with an approved bait. Bait is usually applied by sprinkling the recommended amount around each mound, not on top of the mound. Do not disturb the mound by poking or kicking. It is best to apply the bait in the early evening and when the ground is dry. Bait, which usually contains a mix of insecticide and food, is carried to the mound by worker ants and shared with the brood and queen. Examples of ant baits include Amdro, Extinguish, Come and Get It, and Ortho Fire Ant Killer. Some baits are organically acceptable.

Because baits can be slow acting, gardeners may need to repeat application or follow up with Step-Two 5 to 7 days after Step 1.

Step 2:  Treat with a contact-type insecticide. These products are usually applied directly to the mound and watered in. To be effective, the drench must trickle down and contact most of the remaining fire ants in the colony. Follow all directions for use. Products are most effective when temperatures are between 70 and 85 degrees F. Examples of contact insecticides include Sevin, Over n’ Out, Spectracide Fire Ant Killer Plus, and Bayer Advanced Fire Ant Killer.

Follow all label directions and keep children and pets away from treated areas. Discourage fire ant mounds by reducing weedy areas, keeping shrubs pruned away from the home, emptying trash cans regularly, and inspecting new plant material. Non-chemical methods for controlling fire ants include boiling water and mint oil. Although foraging fire ants will collect grits, there is evidence that grits will reduce the number of ants in a colony.

For more information on fire ants or other garden pests contact Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent, at (252) 482-6585.

fire antsPhoto Credit: M. Waldvogel – NC State