Home Insteading With Cooperative Extension (Week 21)

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4-H at Home
Camaryn Byrum, 4-H Agent 

Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat enough vegetables? The amount of vegetables you need depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. The amount each person needs can vary between 1 and 3 cups each day. Kids are more likely to eat vegetables if they have the opportunities to taste and experience them in different, fun ways. Below is a kid-friendly recipe using fresh or frozen broccoli.

Cheesy Broccoli and Ranch Smashed Potatoes

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Servings: 8


  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 ½ cups frozen broccoli florets
  • ¾ cup of low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 6 tablespoons of low-fat ranch dressing
  • ¾ cup low-fat milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Wash your hands and clean your cooking area.
  2. Scrub the potatoes.
  3. Place the whole potatoes in a large microwave-safe dish.
  4. Add the frozen broccoli on top.
  5. Completely cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid.
  6. Microwave on high for 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  7. Use a towel or oven-safe gloves to carefully take off the lid and remove the dish from the microwave. (Be very careful to avoid the steam.)
  8. Use a potato masher to break up the potatoes and broccoli.
  9. Stir in cheese, ranch dressing, and milk.
  10. Taste the dish and then add salt and pepper as needed.
  11. As an option, you can sprinkle cheese on top of the potato mixture.

cheesy broccoli and potatoesClick for photo and recipe

Family and Consumer Sciences at Home
Preparing for a Power Outage
Submitted by Mary Morris, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, ice storms and other natural disasters can cause power outages or water damage that can put refrigerated, frozen and dry foods at risk. From power outages to flooding, the impacts can pose significant challenges to everyday life.

How can you prepare for power outages? Find guidance on making water safe, cleaning up after a flood, and handling frozen and refrigerated food, among other timely tips. Click for more disaster preparedness tips.

Horticulture at Home 
Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent

Saving Seeds

NC Extension Gardener Handbook 

Saving seeds dates back thousands of years and is the practice that moved humans from a hunting and gathering existence to the agricultural one we are familiar with today. Saving seeds from a garden can be a fascinating, fun way to develop an improved strain, with better qualities and better adapted to the conditions of your garden. Seed-saving also saves money and provides another way to share your bounty. To maximize your success, follow these guidelines.

Select parent plants carefully. Avoid hybrid plants, which are often sterile or do not reproduce offspring similar to the parent. Many plants are self-pollinating so they produce seeds like the parent plant. Beans, eggplant, lettuce, peas, peanuts, peppers, and tomatoes are usually self-pollinating and remain true to type. Open-pollinated plants that are pollinated by wind or visited by insects can cross-pollinate with plants from their own family and could produce disappointing offspring. Basil, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, kale, melon, mustard greens, onions, parsley, pumpkin, spinach, squash, Swiss chard, radish, and turnips are open-pollinated plants. To ensure you have the original variety of these vegetables, grow only one type and be sure there are no other varieties within several hundred feet. This is often impractical for the home gardener, so cultivars can be isolated in screened cages or individual flowers can be covered and hand-pollinated. Timed isolation or timing plantings so that different varieties are flowering at different times is another strategy. Determine the characteristics you want to select for (flavor, color, fragrance, size, harvest time, vigor) and select fruits of plants that best express the traits you want to save. Select fruit from disease-free plants.

Harvest at the optimum point. Seeds are ready when the fruit is ripe, and in some cases, overripe.

Store seeds safely. Package the seeds in paper envelopes or glass jars labeled with the cultivar name and date. Plastic bags may cause the seeds to rot. Store in a cool, dark place. The fridge is ideal. Most seeds stay viable for several years.

For more information about saving seeds, contact the Ask A Master Gardener Helpline at (252) 482-6585.seed saving