• UAF Cooperative Extension Service publishes ‘An Alaska Herb Garden’

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The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has published a comprehensive Alaska guide for herb enthusiasts.

“An Alaska Herb Garden” features information about cultivating, harvesting, storing and using herbs. The 74-page guide includes color illustrations, recipes and detailed information on 25 herbs and general information on nearly 40 more.

The guide is a collaboration between the UAF Cooperative Extension Service and the Georgeson Botanical Garden. The garden’s director, professor Pat Holloway, wrote the section about cultivating herbs, which includes research conducted by the garden and by volunteers.

The publication is dedicated to Barbara Fay, a longtime gardener who taught community herb classes in Fairbanks for more than 20 years. She worked with Holloway on herb research at the garden and enlisted other gardeners to join her and tend the herb beds.

Fay’s notes and class materials formed the guide’s framework. Extension home economist Roxie Dinstel and two of Fay’s fellow herb enthusiasts, Virginia Damron and Marsha Munsell, provided information on preserving and storing herbs, edited the guide and tested recipes.

Holloway said the guide will be a great asset to gardeners and others interested in growing and using the herbs. She credits Fay.

“This is her idea, her baby,” she said. “She is the one who got us all riled up about herbs.”

Copies are $15 and available online at the UAF Cooperative Extension Service website, at local UAF Cooperative Extension Service district offices, or by calling (toll-free in Alaska) 1-877-520-5211. The Sitka District Office is on the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, and it can be reached at 747-9440.

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• UAF Cooperative Extension Service to give presentation on antioxidants in Alaska’s wild berries

OWL Happy Health Hour specific July 28

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service‘s Happy Health Hour talk this month will be about antioxidants in Alaska’s wild berries.

The talk takes place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 28 (Happy Health Hour talks are the fourth Monday of every month) and is available at libraries statewide on the OWL Network. In Sitka, these talks usually are accessed at Kettleson Memorial Library. But this month’s talk will be available for Sitka residents in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, because Kettleson Memorial Library is closed while it moves into temporary quarters for the upcoming library expansion project.

Roxie Rodgers Dinstel of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service will talk about the health benefits of antioxidants, the levels of antioxidants in a variety of Alaska’s wild berries, and how different preservation methods affect antioxidant levels. Many wild berries in Alaska, such as blueberries, are considered super foods because of the high levels of healthy antioxidants in them, and Alaska wild blueberries are even richer in antioxidants than wild blueberries from the Lower 48.

To learn more about the Happy Health Hour and this presentation, call the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 1-877-520-5211 or go to http://www.uaf.edu/ces/.

• SEARHC, UAF Cooperative Extension Service to host ‘Basics of Food Preservation’ classes

University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service Tanana District Agent Roxie Dinstel demonstrates proper home canning techniques (Photo courtesy of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service)

University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service Tanana District Agent Roxie Dinstel demonstrates proper home canning techniques (Photo courtesy of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service)

Are you looking for ways to safely put up your grub? Do you have extra salmon or veggies you want to preserve for eating this winter? Two “Basics of Food Preservation” classes will be taught Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Sitka.

The first class takes place at noon on Aug. 31 at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Litehouse Cafeteria conference rooms. The second class is at 7 p.m. at Kettleson Memorial Library.

Both one-hour classes will be taught by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service Tanana District Agent Roxie Dinstel of Fairbanks, who will cover safe canning and preserving for various types of foods. Roxie helped create the UAF Cooperative Extension Service‘s new Preserving Alaska’s Bounty online tutorials for home canners, which can be found at http://www.uaf.edu/ces/preservingalaskasbounty/. (Note, Adobe Flash Player required to view tutorials, but it can be downloaded from the site.) She also helped write several of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service’s publications on canning, which are available from your local UAF Cooperative Extension Service office (at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus in Sitka) or can be downloaded online at http://www.uaf.edu/ces/publications/.

In addition to the two classes on home canning, Roxie also will be available to test pressure gauges for home canning equipment owned by Sitka residents. These tests can tell you if your gauge is still accurate, or if it needs to be replaced for safe canning.

These classes are sponsored by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, Kettleson Memorial Library and SEARHC Health Promotion. All are welcome to attend, and the classes are free. For more information, please contact Martha Pearson at 966-8783 or martha.pearson@searhc.org.