Black History Month – Week 2

Image showing black leaders through US history. Title reads " Black History Month 2023: Black Resistance, a Journey to Equality"Image featuring Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights and food justice activist.

The theme for this week is Activism. Food activism can be seen in many aspects of African American History.


👉🏾When the Transatlantic Slave Trade started, captured Africans braided seeds and grains into their hair to bring their foods with them as a way of survival. Rice, okra, peanuts, benne, watermelon are some examples of seeds and grains that were hidden and brought from their native homeland.

👉🏾During the Jim Crow era, sit-ins were staged at restaurants that would not serve Black people.

👉🏾During the Civil Rights era, secret baking clubs raised money for fund protests; Black restaurants became meeting places for African American entertainers and leaders to plan protests

👉🏾During the 1960’s, Free Breakfast programs were first started by the Black Panthers to feed hungry children in their communities.



https://www.foodandwine.com/news/black-communities-food-as-protest (accessed 2.2.2023)

https://www.bread.org/article/fannie-lou-hamer-pioneer-of-food-justice/ (accessed 2.2.2023)

https://face2faceafrica.com/article/how-hair-was-used-to-smuggle-grains-into-the-caribbean-by-african-slaves (accessed 2.2.2023)


Feb/2023 Written and created by: U. R. Taylor, MS, RDN, CDN  and Lindsey Brush


📷 Credit: https://www.dandelionridgefarmky.com


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


Husky Harvest Info Session- Regional Campus Food Pantry

Informational booth


SNAP-Ed Food Security recently teamed up with United Way to offer a info session for Stamford campus students and Husky Harvest clients.  Husky Harvest is the name for the new regional campus food pantry program. Food insecurity is rising on many college campuses and Husky Harvest strives to provide students with resources while minimizing the stigma associated with food pantries.  Read more about Husky Harvest from UConn Today.






Students gather to learn more about the program

UConn Educator taking a selfie in front of the educational booth

What are the current US Dietary Guidelines for salt intake and how do I lower my intake?

-Sharon Gray, Nutrition Education, EFNEP Associate Extension Educator

The US Dietary Guidelines recommend a limit of 2300 mg for people ages 14 and up.  That is a single teaspoon of salt.   Most Americans consume 3,400 mg or more of sodium each day which equals 1.5 teaspoons of salt.  About 70% of the sodium in American diets comes from packaged, processed and restaurant foods, not the salt shaker.

Hidden salt is everywhere in the typical American diet and it adds up quickly.

A high sodium diet puts too much strain on the kidneys .  Eventually this leads to high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and kidney disease.

-You can reduce your sodium intake by carefully reading nutrition labels on packaged foods.

  • The Daily Value (DV) for sodium is less than 2,300 mg per day
  • The percent DV shows how much of the maximum recommended amount of sodium in a single serving
  • Aim for less than 5 % DV for sodium if you are looking for low sodium foods
  • Limit or avoid foods with 20% DV or more for sodium

– When you are at restaurants, eat less and consider ordering sauces and dressings on the side

– Try using herbs and spices in recipes to season your food instead of salt

Italian Veggie Balls Recipe with UConn EFNEP

Heather Pease from our UConn Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) walks us through the process of making Italian Veggie Balls. You can make this delicious and nutritious recipe with a few simple items. It’s healthy and budget-friendly.


How to Make a Strawberry Kale Smoothie with Molly Basak-Smith

Molly Basak-Smith of our UConn Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) walks through how to make a strawberry kale smoothie as part of our Slurpie challenge with the Put Local On Your Tray program. Make your own smoothie at home and join us in the Great Smoothie Slurp!