Apple Barbeque Sauce

I am getting ready to make Apple Barbeque sauce that is in the Backwoods Home Cooking cookbook. The recipe is by Richard Blunt. Do you know if this recipe can be processed, and which method should be used? I would assume that it should be pressure cooked since there is beef stock in it. If you could so kindly tell at what poundage and time or how many minutes for hot water bath, I would be indebted to you.


I’m sure you can process this barbecue sauce. But you’re right; because it has beef stock in it, it should be processed at 10 pounds pressure for 20 minutes (pints). If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning book for directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude. — Jackie

Harvesting rhubarb

I have found a lot of conflicting information in researching the harvesting of rhubarb. Could you tell me how you harvest? When do you start in the spring? How late into the year do you harvest? How much do you take from a plant at any one time? And how much time do you allow between pickings on a plant? I love my rhubarb and want to take full advantage of its abundance but do not want to risk stressing the plants by over harvesting.

Teresa Liechti
Milbank, South Dakota

Rhubarb is easy to harvest. You just grab a stalk and pull straight out away from the plant. The stalk will slip right out of its base and not damage the plant. I start harvesting when the stalks are getting some length on them but you can sneak off a few early stalks if you just can’t wait. It won’t hurt a thing. And you can harvest as long as the leaves are nice looking. When they start drooping and turning color, the stalks begin to get stringy and tough. Don’t remove more than 2/3 of the stalks from one plant at a time or it may weaken the plant. In a few weeks it will regrow new stalks and you can harvest again. I usually harvest about 4 times for canning and occasionally thereafter for pies and baking. To grow the very best rhubarb, add about a foot of good, rotted manure all around and even over the plant after the leaves have gone dormant each fall. You’ll be surprised how huge it will get! — Jackie

Potato blight

You recently answered a question as to how to identify potato blight. Some of us are wanting to become really self sufficient. How can we prevent potato blight with using NON purchased seed potatoes? Or potatoes left over from some that we have purchased that are actively sprouting? I realize that potato blight caused many to leave Ireland for the U.S. (the book Pat and the Iron Horse is one novel regarding that.)


Of course we want to be more self reliant. But if we have a problem with blight in our garden now, saving potatoes will only make it worse if we use them for seed next year. So we try to reduce and eliminate the blight in our gardens. The trouble with this is that the blight is carried by the wind so if you live in a populated area or an area where folks grow potatoes, sometimes it’s real hard to get rid of. Some things folks have used to help get rid of blight are: dusting the seed potatoes with sulfur before planting and spraying with copper-based fungicides according to the direction on the container. Be sure to remove any affected plants and burn them. After the growing season, remove all tomato and potato plants and burn them to reduce infection. Water using soaker hoses to avoid overhead watering which can spread the blight. Once your garden is truly clean of blight you can risk saving seed potato. When necessary, we do what we can, even if you don’t get the most perfect results. — Jackie


  1. Teresa, be sure you cut off any rhubarb seed stalks as soon as you see them, unless you want to save seed to start. Leaving them on the plant will cut down on the amount of rhubarb stalks it produces as energy goes into seed production. Some rhubarb varieties and growing conditions will cause the plant to bolt very early in the season, but that doesn’t mean your harvest is over. Just cut and remove the seed stalk and the plant will keep on producing. As Jackie said, the plant will tell you when it is done for the season, usually due to an increase in temperature, by producing stalks that are dry and tough. To avoid the possibility of overwintering diseases I remove all of the wilted leaves and stalks in the fall and dispose of them.

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