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Growing, canning her own

By Staff | Mar 25, 2011

Kathie Nelson puts the finishing touches on her cream cheese coffee cake recently. This is a family favorite and is even requested in place of a birthday cake by one her sons.

HUMBOLDT – Many can recall helping and reaping the benefits of their elder generations through canning fresh produce.

Although the practice of canning one’s homegrown food seems to be going by the wayside, one Humboldt County woman considers it one of her favorite pastimes.

Kathie Nelson and her husband, Roger, have four children – Kristin Nostrom, Mitchell Nelson, Leann Nelson and Garrett Nelson – and all have learned to can and have entered canned at county fairs their 4-H careers.

“I hope it’s something they will continue to do,” said Kathie Nelson.

Every year, Nelson tends to her large garden so when it comes harvest time she has a plenty of goods for canning and to enjoy the good food all year long.

Kathie Nelson, of Humboldt, considers canning a hobby and the joy of satisfaction from seeing the end result of all of her hard work.

Nelson, who works part time as a dental hygienist in Humboldt and Fort Dodge enjoys getting into her garden after being inside all day working. Her garden is primarily made up of vegetables and said she is considering growing some herbs this year.

Each year, Nelson said, she cans “a lot of salsa,” which is sold to friends and at her church’s fall bazaar where she in turns donates her earnings back to the church – St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Humboldt.

Church members gather can upward to 130 pints of meat that is sold each November at the bazaar.

“That is always a good fundraiser because people just don’t can much meat anymore,” she said.

In addition to the salsa, Nelson said she cans pickles, pickle relish, green beans, carrots, meat, beef stew and strawberry jam.

Cream cheese coffee cake.

She said she prefers canning over freezing and about the only thing she will freeze is sweet corn.

Nelson, who learned how to can from her late mother-in-law and even uses her pressure cooker for canning, said she considers the practice a hobby.

“I like the satisfaction I get from seeing it done,” Nelson said, “because it is so time-consuming and it’s also something not too many do anymore. I would really like to see more people go back to canning.”

Besides canning, Nelson said that while her kids were active in 4-H they would enter yeast products like rye bread and other entries that were usually a little more difficult.

If there is a potluck Nelson is attending, you can count on having her calico beans and deviled eggs.

Nelson is very active outside the home as president of the ladies society at her church, committee chair for the church’s gala. She and her husband are also co-chairs of the Humboldt High School’s after-prom party.

Cream cheese coffee cake

1 loaf Rhodes sweet dough (thawed) or white bread dough


8 ounce cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla


3/4 cup flour

6 tablespoons margarine

Let dough rise until almost doubled in size. Roll into a circle and place in greased 12-inch pizza pan. Shape as a pizza crust and pinch edges to form rim.

Combine cream cheese and the 1/2 cup of sugar; add egg and vanilla. Beat until well-blended and pour over crust.

Cut margarine into 1/2 cup sugar and flour until crumbly. Sprinkle on filling. Let rise 30-minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes until lightly browned.

Cover edges with foil so they don’t brown too quickly.


(An old Nelson family recipe, also known as sloppy joes)

1 pint of water

1 chopped onion (optional)

3/4 cup catsup

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 pounds ground beef, browned

1 tablespoon mustard

Mix together and simmer about 30 to 45 minutes.


1 bag Kraft caramels

1 pound jar dry roasted peanuts

Chocolate bark

Almond bark

Real chocolate chips

Melt caramels with approximately 2 to 3 Tablespoons of milk. Stir in peanuts (use judgment on how many).

Spoon onto wax paper until hardened. Melt 5 squares of chocolate bark and 3 squares of almond bark and 1/2 package of chocolate chips. Dip caramels in this mixture and let set.

Escaloped potatoes

(This recipe is from Vi Nelson, Kathie Nelson’s late mother-in-law.)

4 cups cooked potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup of milk

1 teaspoon minced onion

2 tablespoons Velveeta cheese.

Heat all ingredients and pour over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Caramel for rolls

1 stick oleo

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 to 1 cup vanilla ice cream

Combine and bring to boil. Can be boiled in microwave. Pour in pan, put rolls on top, let rise overnight and bake as usual.

Crescent rolls

2 cups warm water

2 packages yeast (dry)

1 egg

1 stick oleo melted and cooled slightly

6 1/2 cups flour

Stir everything until well mixed and cover. Do not knead. Refrigerate overnight and up to three days.

Take out of refrigerator and roll in to four circles.

Butter and cut each circle into 12 triangles. Roll each triangle into crescent. Put on cookie sheet and let rise until double.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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