Home Insteading With Cooperative Extension (Week 29)

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4-H At Home
Camaryn Byrum, 4-H Agent 

DIY Bath Fizzies

Bath fizzies are expensive to buy, but they are inexpensive to make at home! These homemade bath fizzies make great gifts for any occasion such as birthdays, Christmas, or Mother’s Day.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 4-10 drops of essential oil (scent of choice)
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ½ cup citric acid
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Cellophane bag + ribbon


  1. Mix olive oil and essential oil together in a bowl.
  2. Mix baking soda, corn starch, and citric acid together in a separate bowl.
  3. Make an indentation in the center of the mixture and drizzle olive oil mixture into indentation; mix well.
  4. Add water, a little at a time, and blend – adding water causes fizzing. Absorb water in cornstarch as much as possible so the fizzie does not fizz while you are mixing ingredients.
  5. Once blended, scoop out 1 tablespoon of mixture. Shape into a ball, squeezing tightly. You can also use a mold, like a decorative cookie mold. Allow to dry overnight before packaging.
  6. Place in cellophane bags and tie off with ribbon.
DIY bath fizzies

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

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is by far the favorite winter squash and with good reason. Its sweet, nutty flavor and smooth texture, reminiscent of buttered sweet potato, make it a great multi-use squash for fall dishes, including those that call for pumpkin. It is also very nutritious (Vitamins A and C), including the seeds.

Like all winter squash, butternut squash have a thick, hard skin and a seed cavity inside with large seeds. If you’re new to squash, it might be a bit intimidating to select, peel, and turn a hard-shelled squash into something delicious. It doesn’t have to be.

Choose squash that has a firm exterior and no soft spots, or cracks. Unlike some fruits that develop a softer exterior as they ripen, the rind of winter squashes becomes even firmer as they mature. The skin should be matte and hard to pierce with your fingernail, not shiny and soft, which would indicate an unripe squash. A squash with soft areas, or a moldy stem is well past its prime. You can also use the tap test. Knock on the skin with your knuckle: if it sounds hollow, it is ripe; if it sounds dull, the squash may either be unripe or spoiled.

If you have purchased an unripe squash, place in a warm sunny spot. Plenty of sunlight is key for the squash to ripen. If it is mature and ripe, store the squash in a cool dark area in your kitchen but do not refrigerate. Although some squash may last several months in the right storage conditions, it is recommended to use them within one month for best flavor. One pound of squash becomes roughly 2 cups of cooked squash or 2 cups cubed.

There are a number of ways to peel it. The method really depends upon the intended use. If it is to be used as a puree, it is not necessary to peel it at all. It can be sliced in half length-wise, seeds removed, placed face-down in a lightly oiled baking dish, and baked in a moderate oven (350°F) until tender; it can also be microwaved or cooked in the Instant Pot in the same manner. After cooling, the soft flesh can be scooped out and used for pumpkin pie, soups, breads, and desserts. You can also use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin if you plan to cube your squash to roast in the oven. Butternut Squash is delicious roasted try this recipe from the “Med Instead of Meds” website.

Try this Oven Roasted Butternut Squash recipe.

Horticulture at Home
Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent 

Horticulture Happenings

As things continue to change in the world, so does our programming. Below are some of our Fall 2020 Happenings

  • New to gardening and/or new to gardening in the area? Try your thumb at Gardening in the Albemarle. The course is offered every other year through the Chowan-Gates-Perquimans County Horticulture Program. This year’s course is free and completely online. Participants should register through the Gardening in the Albemarle website. N.C. Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity provider.
  • Lilly Bunch is the 2020 recipient of the Katherine G Shook Master Gardener Scholarship sponsored by the Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Chowan, Gates, & Perquimans Counties. The recent graduate of John A. Holmes High School plans to pursue an agriculture degree through College of the Albemarle and NC State University. Funds from the annual Spring Garden Show support the $1,000 award.
  • Soil Samples are still free! (But only for another month) Determine the pH and fertility of your soil by submitting a soil sample through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Chowan County office can mail you a free test kit along with instructions. Test results will aid in plant selection, soil preparation, and fertilization while reducing waste and pollution. For a free kit, call (252) 482-6585. Shipping fees may apply.
  • Don’t forget to call the Ask A Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Helpline with your gardening questions, (252) 482-6585.
Lilly Bunch