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North Dakota Ag College/ State University Extension Service title

National War Garden Commission poster
National War Garden Commission
Poster, SHSND# 10935-P134
Freezing Vegetables and Freezing Fruits, two more circulars about the techniques of freezing also appeared during the harvest season of 1955. Freezing in glass containers is still an option, but homemakers are advised to leave 1 ½ inch head space for expansion. Vegetables must be blanched and Dawson offers details on blanching times. She also advises cooks to preserve fruits in sugar, syrup, or corn syrup to preserve color and texture. Freezers should be set to zero degrees. (Circulars A-240, A-241)

By the time Dawson wrote her circulars, there had been a couple of changes since the first NDAC Circular was published on freezing in 1940. First, no one had to be convinced any longer that freezing was acceptable for vegetables as well as meats. In addition, packaging had improved though glass jars were still being used (perhaps because long-time gardeners had shelves full of them). Finally, the 1940 circular had advised cooks to cook frozen foods thoroughly because they were not sterile in the freezer. This idea is obviously a holdover from the days of hot-bath canning and is not necessary with frozen foods. (Circular 169) It is interesting to note that circulars rarely mentioned the possibility of drying foods though Victory Garden manuals promoted drying as a great saving in costs of food preservation.

Modern Extension horticulture programs have changed in emphasis since the 1950s. No longer are farmers the assumed audience; Extension today is very conscious of the urban gardener and food preserver. New techniques such as soil testing offer gardeners more information on their prospects for gardening. However, gone is Yeager’s optimism in teaching gardeners to do their own vegetable breeding. In a 2000 bulletin, Ron Smith, Extension horticulturist at NDSU, recommended throwing out old seed, not saving seed from wonderful vegetables for the next year’s garden, and avoiding bargain seeds. Buying top-quality seeds is worth the cost, and “one way to shorten North Dakota’s winters is to go through the numerous gardening catalogs that arrive during those frosty months.” (Circular H-1185)

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