#AskUConnExtension

Can I make my own Sausage?

UConn EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) answers this common question and more.

Three grilled sausages

In its most basic form, sausage is minced meat with salt and other seasoning.  It may or may not be stuffed into casings, can be made as a raw or cooked product and comes in all sizes and shapes.  In many cultures there are strong cultural traditions around the manufacture and consumption of sausages.  Sausage-making need not be a mystery; it is easily made in the home kitchen.

  • What meat is used to make sausage? Any meat can be used to make sausage.  Pork may be the most common source of meat for homemade products but beef, chicken, lamb, veal, duck and venison are also common.
  • Do I need special equipment to make sausage? Not necessarily.  The simplest approach is to buy ground pork and mix with salt and seasonings following a recipe.  The one piece of equipment that is very beneficial is an accurate kitchen scale.  If large quantities of meat are available to the consumer then a home meat grinder will be helpful.  Preparing sausage in a casing requires a stuffing tube attachment for a grinder or a separate sausage stuffer.
  • I am a hunter. Can game meat be used to make sausage?  Yes, game meat is commonly used as a meat source for sausage.  One important point is that the fat present on game meat tends to carry flavor that some folks find objectionable (i.e., gamey flavor).   Fat is an important component of many sausages and prevents the meat from drying out when cooked.  Game sausage benefits from the removal of natural fat with substitution of pork or beef fat (added to achieve 15% to 20% of total meat weight).  Venison meat with added pork fat makes very good sausage.
  • How do I know how much salt or seasoning to add? Similar to other prepared foods, sausage requires the use of a recipe which should be followed.  Doubling the amount of a given spice because it’s a favorite can lead to inedible products!  Recipes are commonly available online and in many cookbooks.  An alternative approach is to purchase a commercially prepared seasoning blend for a given type of sausage.   These are usually prepared for a specific quantity of meat but can be added proportionally to lesser meat amounts.
  • Can I smoke my sausage? Some grills have smoker attachments and there is a large variety of meat smokers available for purchase.  Smoke-cooking of meat requires some trial-and-error and a reliable meat thermometer is essential for a successful and safe outcome.  Hardwood sawdust/chips are available and common sources for smoking sausages are hickory and apple.
  • How do I store sausage once made? Sausage that will be consumed within 3 to 4 days can be kept refrigerated.  Otherwise it is best to freeze the meat.  In either case, it is very important to wrap the sausage in a manner that prevents moisture loss and minimizes transfer of air into the product space.  Vacuum-packagers have become more common among consumers and help preserve quality of frozen products for longer periods of time.

Extension Specialist

Cameron Faustman

Professor Emeritus, Animal Science

cameron.faustman@uconn.edu

What is UConn Extension’s People People Empowering People (PEP) Program? #AskUConnExtension

UConn Extension People Empowering People (PEP) opens doors, brings people together, provides training, builds skills, and more for participants to follow their passion and make a difference. On this week’s #AskUConnExtension Showcase meet Sheri Amechi, and learn about her transformative experience and development as a community leader in Meriden, CT.

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UConn Extension’s People Empowering People (UConn PEP) program elevates voices by empowering individuals through community-based parent leadership training. People Empowering People builds on the unique strengths and life experiences of the participants. The program emphasizes the connection between individuals and community action. 

We collaborate with community organizations to offer UConn PEP. Trained facilitators guide participants through 10 educational sessions plus additional weeks for completion of individual or group projects before graduating from the program. Over 3,110 participants have graduated from UConn People Empowering People programs located in three states.

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Meet Sheri Amechi. Sheri Amechi, a 2017 participant in the UConn PEP program, says that her initial involvement with UConn PEP was a catalyst for transformative changes in her life and for her community. From the beginning, her goal to serve on the Meriden Board of Education was a driving force in her personal and professional growth.

Stories like Sheri’s come from our amazing partnering organizations across the state and beyond.

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“When I interviewed for PEP in 2017, I had mentioned that my goal was to run for a seat on the Meriden Board of Education. I had participated in other Parent Leadership programs in the Meriden community prior to UConn PEP. These programs reinforced what I already knew, I wanted to make a difference in my community. Through People Empowering People, I learned valuable lessons in communication, problem-solving, and I improved my leadership skills. These lessons prompted me into taking the step to run for a seat on the Board of Education in Meriden in 2019. Sadly, I was not successful in my attempt to win a seat (losing by 41 votes), but I am determined to run again in 2021. To my excitement and surprise, I was appointed to fulfill a seat on the Board of Education, achieving my goal I set many years ago.”

“After graduating from UConn PEP, I continued my community involvement when I was elected to the Local Advisory Committee of Meriden Children’s First non-profit,” Sheri continues. “From this group I was eventually elected as President of Meriden Children’s First. Currently, I am the Vice President of the organization.”

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Sheri knew what she wanted, set her goals and continued until she achieved her goals. People Empowering People opens doors, brings people together, provides training, builds skills, creates connections, and opportunities for participants to follow their passion and make a difference in their communities.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources – #AskUConnExtension

For this week’s #AskUConnExtension Showcase, let’s do our part in keeping our community safe—get vaccinated today.

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Text: From UConn Extension, let’s all do our part to protect those we care about most. Visit the resources below to learn more about vaccine safety in our community:
wecandothis.hhs.gov/
pages.extension.org/excite
cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19

Controlling Black Knot – #AskUConnExtension

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Black Knot on black cherry. Photo: Pamm Cooper

What is Black Knot?

Black Knot, is a disease commonly found on plums and Prunus species. The fungus causes the plant to produce unusual galls which eventually grow to girdle twigs and branches, restricting water supply and killing portions of the canopy. It is spread to other plants via wind and water.

Control

Manage the disease by carefully pruning away the affected tissue. Use sterile pruning tools to make a cut roughly 4 to 6 inches past the lowest point of symptoms on the branch. After cutting the branch, sterilize the tools again by dipping them in a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach, 9 parts water -> e.g. 1/2 cup bleach, 4 & 1/2 cups water).  You should also spray a bit of this bleach solution on the cut wound on the tree. Repeat this process until all the black growth has been removed. Burn the branches and do not compost them. Prune during dry weather to prevent the spread of the disease. This can be done in the fall and winter if the fruit is still growing on affected branches. The client may need to repeat this process every winter for the rest of the tree’s life or until symptoms no longer appear. 

More Information

Black Knot of Plum and Cherry – CAES

Black Knot Disease of Cherry and Plum – UConn HGEC

What is a 4-H Escape, and how can I sign up? – #AskUConnExtension

This week, we put the #AskUConnExtension Showcase spotlight on “4-H Escape,” a UConn 4-H program connecting and teaching students and campers across CT.
To learn more and start your escape room journey, check out 4-h-escape.extension.uconn.edu
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Text: This summer, stay connected with 4-H and try your luck at one of their online escape rooms! UConn 4-H is excited to offer “4-H Escape,” a library of virtual escape rooms and puzzles for families and students to enjoy.
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Text: Escape rooms were first introduced to the program at the Middlesex County 4-H in 2019. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has made virtual escape room opportunities an extremely important activity for the program, with demand skyrocketing. Marc Cournoyer, a member of the 4-H team, says: “These activities help youth build skills in creative thinking, problem solving and retention of key concepts through the use of gamification. Kids are learning through play.”
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Text: Escape rooms are not only educational, but they are extremely fun skill-building exercises. Currently, 4-H Escape offers escape rooms in different subjects, such as “The Secret Clover Quest,” “Life on the Farm,” and “Under the Sea.” These activities are available to the public, and are just waiting to be solved!

Best Practices for Cooking and Storing Meats – #AskUConnExtension

On this week’s #AskUConnExtension Showcase, we answer your questions about food preparation and storage. Extension Educator Dr. Indu Upadhyaya demonstrates the tips and tricks of ideal internal meat temperatures, best practices for storage, and more.
For more food-safe information, be sure to visit foodsafety.uconn.edu

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Text: Cooking meat can be a sensitive job. But, with some insider knowledge, one can easily learn the art of cooking the perfect chicken, ham, or steak before your next big outing. Dr. Indu Upadhyaya, an Assistant Extension Educator with UConn Extension, walks us through the basics around both cooking food and storing food safely, efficiently, and in a way that will impress.

What should I do if I hear Chainsaws in the UConn Forest? – #AskUConnExtension

Extension educator Thomas Worthley says, “The UConn Forest has a long history of human intervention.”
On this week’s #AskUConnExtension Showcase, we show how Forest Managers preserve the natural landscapes and beauty of the UConn Forest as a key educational resource for students.
Learn more about CT Forestry at s.uconn.edu/forestry

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Text: The UConn Forest, located around the UConn campus, comprises several parcels of land stretching over hundreds of acres through Mansfield, Willington, and Coventry. Its natural beauty, though open to the public, is a core educational facet of the Forestry program at UConn. The Forest has been carefully designed to model ideal land-use patterns for environments in Connecticut. Stretching across the Fenton River watershed, its tree diversity keeps students informed.


Text: Extension educator Thomas Worthley says, “The UConn Forest has a long history of human intervention.” Managers of the UConn Forest plant trees that are desirable, and remove trees that threaten habitats. When these trees are removed with chainsaws, it’s important to make a lot of noise so the operator hears!

CT Trail Finder – #AskUConnExtension

For our first installment of our #AskUConnExtension Showcase, we’re covering CT Trail Finder, a great new tool to help connect you to your next adventure. Perfect for walking, hiking, mountain biking, and exploring nature in our state, CT Trail Finder has got you covered with over 2,000 miles of trails to explore. Visit cttrailfinder.com for more!
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Text: Connecticut Trail Finder, launched on June 5th, 2021, is a free, interactive website connecting trail-goers to over 2,000 miles of state trails. Kimberly Bradley, the CT Trail Finder Program Coordinator, says that the new platform will be the “go-to resource” for anyone looking to get off the beaten path in exploring nature in Connecticut.
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Text: CT Trail Finder invites you to explore walking, hiking, horseback riding, and a host of other types of trails using their interactive mapping software that directs you where to go!

What should I do if I hear chainsaws in the forest? – #AskUConnExtension

Tom Worthley, one of our Extension foresters, explains what you should do if you hear chainsaws in the UConn Forest or in a forest near your home.

Have more questions? 

Connect with one of our specialists today.

Extension specialists are here to help you, your family, and your community. We have answers to your questions ranging from livestock to farm business and regulations; climate resilience to finding community training opportunities; gardening to wildlife management; fitness to nutrition; and more.

ACE C & A Awards – UConn 2021

We would like to congratulate all of the UConn Extension team members who received awards from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE)! Thank you for your hard work and continued efforts.

All award recipients will be recognized at the ACE virtual conference in June.

 

Rising Star Award

  • Recipient: Stacey Stearns

C & A Awards

  • Gold – Ask UConn Extension – Marketing Campaign – Budget Under $1000

                       Team: Stacey Stearns, Kara Bonsack, Ivette Lopez, Zachary Duda

 

  • Silver – What is UConn Extension Video – Electronic Media, Video 5 – Educational Video

                          Team: Stacey Stearns, Mike Zaritheny, Meredith Zaritheny, Zachary Duda

 

  • Silver – On the Trail and Walk With Me Podcast – Electronic Media, Audio 2 – Podcasts
                    Neva Taylor

 

  • Silver – Annual Extension Impact Sheet – Publishing 5 – Promotional Publications

                         Team: Stacey Stearns, Kara Bonsack, Ivette Lopez

 

  • Silver – Fall-Winter 2020-21 Issue of Wrack Lines (CT Sea Grant) – Diversity

                          Judy Benson

 

  • Bronze – On the Trail and Walk With Me Podcast – Diversity 5 – Electronic Media

                             Neva Taylor

 

  • Bronze – Spring-Summer 2020 Issue of Wrack Lines (CT Sea Grant) – Writing
                      Judy Benson

 

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