Self-Sufficiency Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,788 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,160 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Self-Sufficiency Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I got out my beloved collection of Mason and Bell jars. Why, you may ask?

Are you crafting, Jane?

Making a chandelier?

Organizing your buttons?

Filling them with homemade bath salts?

Giving DIY brownie mixes away to the neighbors?

Well, I could be (and I do, because let’s face it, these purty glass jars have endless possibilities), but no. I am actually—gasp!—using them for what they were intended for: canning.

I know.


First up: spaghetti sauce. Yum! Who doesn’t love a big bowl of noodles, covered in marinara? Gosh, you could even skip the noodles part and eat a big bowl of marinara.

Call it Italian Stew. Who’s with me, farmgirls?

Anyway, though, for my most favoritest spaghetti sauce in all the land, I called up Gramma Barbie. Her newest Chihuahua, Puddles (a name she found endearing, but which turned out to be oddly prophetic), was making a real ruckus in the background, so I hope I got it right.

Gramma B’s Sketti Sauce

  • Brown 1 lb ground meat of your choice with several cloves of minced garlic and 2 T of anise or fennel seeds that have been ground in a coffee grinder.
  • Add a big pinch of oregano and two big pinches of basil, and whatever leftover wine you have opened in the fridge (even sweet wines work well).
  • Add 1 can each of organic diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste, plus 2 cans of water.
  • Simmer, along with a nice big beef bone if you have one (if not, add a couple teaspoons of brown sugar for some sweetness and depth).
  • Taste and adjust seasonings. Can according to your canning equipment’s instructions.

My fingers licked and my tummy happy (hey, somebody had to lick the bowl), I moved right along to my next feat of gastronomical genius. (Don’t you enjoy my humility? I know I do.)

Pickled Jalapeños

  • 8 jalapeños, sliced (For spicy, leave the seeds; for very mild, remove them. I suggest gloves. Little life lesson from moi to you.)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 T granulated sugar
  • 2 T fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda, like Hansen Blue Sky Lemon-Lime
  •  In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, and sugar to a gentle boil and let it bubble for a few minutes. Remove from heat. Add the citrus juices and soda and let cool until no longer piping hot, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the warm soy mixture over the jalapeños. Tightly seal the jar with the lid. Immediately refrigerate the pickled jalapeño peppers for at least 1 day and up to 2 weeks if you don’t complete the canning process, or follow the directions for canning for a longer-lasting treat.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This Sketti Sauce is interesting with the ground anise and fennel seed spices. I like that idea and no doubt it adds a deep rich flavor after simmering for awhile with everything else. This would be yummy on top of the quiona pasta available now.

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