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How to preserve fresh berries

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While having an abundance of fruit on hand is a happy problem to have, keeping your berries from going bad does present a challenge. Here are four great ways to preserve them.

1. Make jam. To turn your berries into jam, all you need is a pot, your fruits, some sugar and pectin. Make certain you properly seal your jars to ensure the jam’s safe to eat for up to a year. Homemade jams are perfect for spreading on toast or slathering over a bowl of ice cream.

2. Dehydrate them. Turn your oven into a dehydrator. Place berries on a baking sheet on the middle rack, and set your oven to the lowest heat possible. In a few hours, you’ll have dried berries to snack on, mix into trail mix or even bake with.

3. Make freezer jam. Freezer jam is thinner than the cooked variety, but tastes more like fresh berries. First crush the berries and then mix them with sugar and no-cook pectin (available at most grocery stores). Spoon the mixture into small jars and freeze it.

4. Freeze them. Having frozen berries on hand is great for making smoothies, oatmeal and baked goods all year round. You can also try them thawed and topped with heavy cream and maple syrup for a decadent dessert. Before freezing, lay them out in a single layer in a freezer bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible.

These preserving methods will allow you to enjoy fresh berries long after the season has ended.

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Scary mummies with devilish dipping sauce

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This spooky twist on pigs in a blanket is fun to eat and even easier to make. Kids of all ages will be delighted.

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 20

Ingredients

Mummies

• 12-ounce package of crescent roll dough
• 10 hot dogs

Dipping sauce

• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Red food coloring (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Cut the hot dogs in half to make two shorter pieces (or you can keep them whole and make ten bigger mummies).
4. Unroll crescent roll dough and cut it into strips that are about half-an-inch wide.
5. Wrap the strips around each hot dog, leaving a portion unwrapped near the end to make the “face.” Place the dough covered hot dogs on the baking sheet.
6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.
7. While the hot dogs are baking, in a bowl combine all the dipping sauce ingredients.
8. Let the mummies cool for 5 to 10 minutes and then serve with the sauce. Enjoy!

Give your mummies eyes by using cream cheese and black peppercorns — or any other ingredients you have on hand. Happy Halloween!

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How to pick apples like a pro: tips for visiting the orchard

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October is National Apple Month, and there couldn’t be a better time to visit your favorite orchard. Are you ready to pick some apples? Make the most of your next visit with these tips.

• Do some investigating. Conduct a bit of research to find the orchard that can provide you with the experience you’re looking for. Do you prefer to pick organically grown apples? Are your kids eager to try a hay maze and tractor ride? Or perhaps you’d like to have a nice lunch first? Each orchard offers different activities, so find the one that best meets your needs.

• Decide how you’ll use your apples. Determine ahead of time what you’d like to do with your apples and choose the right type for your purposes. For example, Granny Smith and Cortland are best for making pie, McIntosh and Golden Delicious are ideal for cooking apple sauce and Honeycrisp and Gala are perfect for snacking on.

• Choose your fruit wisely. Always opt for shiny, blemish-free apples, and remember to be gentle when picking fruit off the branch. Simply point the apple towards the sky and twist. Never shake the tree and definitely avoid collecting fruit that’s fallen on the ground.

• Bring a little extra spending money. Apples aren’t the only thing for sale at the orchard. Bring some extra cash for buying apple cider doughnuts, fresh-pressed apple juice, apple butter and any other apple infused goodies.

Back at home, it’s important to store your apples properly. Keep those that will be eaten right away in a bowl and store the rest in their own drawer in the fridge. Apples produce ethylene gas, which is harmless but makes other fruits and vegetables ripen faster.

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Taste the harvest

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With all of these beautiful autumn fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables, the possibilities for delicious home-made dishes are endless.

Fall’s here and soups, salads and hearty meals are now on the menu, chock full of delicious.

An array of vegetables are at their best at this time of year. Fill your basket with squash, pumpkins, garlic, mushrooms, beets, potatoes, cabbage and many other foods that ripen in the fall.

Many fruits are also ready to be enjoyed now. Don’t forget to head to your nearest orchard for

a day spent picking your own apples, pears and plums. It’s a perfect excuse to make pies, sauces and deliciously sweet cakes and breads.

If you’d prefer not to do the cooking yourself, head to a local restaurant. Many are highlighting the best that autumn has to offer in their seasonal menus.

This fall, indulge in the amazing goods that you’ll find at the market, the farm, the grocery store and your local eateries. Bon appetit!

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A brief introduction to canning

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Do you have more produce on hand than you know what to do with? If so, canning is a great way to make sure your food keeps all winter long.

Preparing food for canning
Here are some ways of preparing produce before it goes bad.

• Cooking. Turn your fruit into jam, make tomato sauce or blanch your vegetables before canning them.

• Pickling. Vinegar helps produce become acidic enough to be canned in a water bath. Try cucumbers, carrots, green beans or even peaches in a brine of vinegar and water.

Methods of canning
Home canning involves using sealed glass jars to conserve your food. There are a couple of ways to do this.

• Water bath canning. This method uses boiling water to heat jars and seal them. Only foods with high acidity like berries, pickles and tomatoes can be safely canned this way.

• Pressure canning. This technique involves using high temperatures to can meat and vegetables that aren’t acidic enough to be safely water canned. You’ll need a pressure canner, which is similar to a pressure cooker.

No matter what canning method you use, make sure to sterilize your jars and always use rings that are free of rust and lids that are brand new.

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Apple crumble

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Apple crumble with fresh apples

Maple syrup makes this subtle twist on a fall classic an instant crowd pleaser.

Start to finish: 1 hour and 15 minutes (30 minutes active)
Servings: 10

Ingredients

Filling
• 7 Cortland apples, peeled and diced
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 1tablespoon lemon juice
• 1teaspoon ground cinnamon

Crumble
• 2 cups quick-cook rolled oats
• 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup softened butter

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F and butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.
2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the filling and transfer to the baking dish.
3. In another bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crumble topping.
4. Cover the apple mixture with the crumble topping, taking care to cover completely.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the apples are tender and the topping is golden brown. Let cool, then serve and enjoy.

For a dessert that’s ultra-decadent, serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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The ABCs of IPAs

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Of the myriad varieties of craft beer, none are more popular than IPAs. Here’s what’s so special about this trendy brew.

What is an IPA?
To put it simply, an India pale ale is a beer made with a ton of hops. The abundance of this flavoring agent provides a distinct bitterness, which is usually complemented by citrusy, fruity, floral, earthy or piney notes — or some combination of these flavors.

There are a number of IPA types, but the two most popular in North America are East Coast IPAs and West Coast IPAs.

West Coast IPAs
These beers are known for being intensely, unapologetically bitter. Washington is hops central, and West Coast brewers love to load up their brews with this state’s diverse and flavorful hop varieties.

In the Northwest, the beers have earthy and piney notes. But as you move further south, fruity, citrusy flavorings rule the day.

East Coast IPAs
These brews are more well-rounded than their West Coast cousins. They have a stronger malt component, which balances out the hops, and the bitter notes aren’t as dominant.

The quintessential East Coast IPA is the New England style IPA, which is cloudy and has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Typically, this beer’s flavor profile is enhanced with citrusy notes.

If you’re a newcomer to IPAs, it’s best to order an East Coast IPA for your first pint. This way you won’t be too overwhelmed by the hops. Cheers!

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Oct
22
Tue
10:00 am Acrylic Painting: An Individuali... @ Art in the Valley
Acrylic Painting: An Individuali... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Acrylic Painting: An Individualized Approach @ Art in the Valley
With an emphasis on individuality and creativity, this acrylic painting class welcomes all skill levels. Some concepts we will explore include various paint application techniques, color theory, and composition. Within these basic parameters, we will[...]
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I – Fal... @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I – Fal... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 22 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply washes,[...]
Oct
23
Wed
10:30 am Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Oct 23 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Art Class "Fall is Here" @ Art in the Valley
We are offering classes for children ages 7-12 who would enjoy expressing themselves through art. The students will expand their creative side with drawing, painting and constructing, using various mediums such as acrylic, pastels, watercolor[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Oct 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four session course will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings[...]
Oct
24
Thu
10:30 am Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
Oct 24 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
The forum will provide participants with an overview of U.S. Small Business Administration and USDA/Rural Business Cooperative-Services (RBS)’s financing programs and services.  Participants will have the opportunity to field questions to lenders and learn more[...]
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 24 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful oil paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with oils necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
Oct
25
Fri
9:00 am Virginia Department of Veteran S... @ Able Forces Foundation
Virginia Department of Veteran S... @ Able Forces Foundation
Oct 25 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Virginia Department of Veteran Services @ Able Forces Foundation
Able Forces Foundation is hosting Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Virginia Department of Veteran Services, to assist veterans, their spouses, and dependents with questions regarding Veteran benefits and in filing claims[...]
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 25 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful acrylic paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with acrylics necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
Oct
26
Sat
9:00 am Walk to End Alzheimer’s @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Walk to End Alzheimer’s @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Oct 26 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Walk to End Alzheimer's @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Join the Northern Shenandoah Valley Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Together, we can provide care and support to improve the lives of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia (including family, friends, and caregivers), and[...]