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Mother, 4-H got her started

By Staff | Oct 2, 2015

-Farm News photos by Karen Schwaller JOANN GANO spreads some of her homemade jelly onto some homemade rolls. She said the jelly can be canned or simply stored in the refrigerator.



MILFORD – Joann Gano grew up learning how to cook.

“Mom taught me,” said the Clarinda native. “But because we were on the farm, she also helped Dad outside.

“I watched her as I was growing up and learned how to run the kitchen.”

Joann Gano

Gano said her mother taught her how to preserve food, and said belonging to 4-H was something that also gave her a solid start to cooking.

At that time, 4-H clubs were gender specific, and the girls in her club would study food and nutrition one year, sewing another year, and spend the entire year focusing on that subject.

“It was very helpful,” she said of the year they spent on food and nutrition.

Rearing her own family on a farm near Milford, Gano said she cooked the basic meat and potatoes menus, which she still does today for her and her husband, who are now empty-nesters.

“(When my family was growing up) they liked all those comfort foods,” she said, alluding to the recipes she submitted, “… and we always sat down together at the supper table, just like I did when I was growing up.

THIS HOMEMADE JELLY contains rhubarb, sugar, raspberry Jell-O and blueberry pie filling, giving it a rich consistency and enormous flavor.

“Sitting around the kitchen table together is so important.”

Gano said she selects her recipes carefully.

“I go after those solid recipes from all those strong women here in Milford who have raised their families,” she said. “The recipes are old-fashioned, tried and true.”

Gano and her husband, Terry Gano, live on a farm south and east of Milford, where they have lived for most of their married years.

Joann Gano is a retired teacher who got the opportunity to teach about agriculture in her middle school classroom at Terril.

-Farm News photos by Karen Schwaller BANANA BREAD is one of the foods Joann Gano’s family said it has enjoyed most over the years. Gano likes to make these mini loaves, which are great for gifting.

“Phyllis Nielsen called me one day and asked if I would teach ag in the classroom,” she said. “She sent me to Iowa State University, where I learned how to teach it.”

Gano followed that up with further ag in the classroom studies at Dickinson County.

She said not only did she get the privilege of teaching it to school children, she also learned how to teach it to other teachers, who could then implement ag education into their curriculum without changing too much of the curriculum structure.

She showed them how she taught it in her classroom of fifth- and sixth-graders, telling them she did it as she tackled Iowa history each year.

“I taught them that teaching about agriculture would fit right along with their curricula,” Gano said, “that it could be taught in language arts, reading, social studies and science.”

She said she taught about agriculture in the classroom for more than eight years, but she can’t remember how many more years than that it has been.

“I’m so thankful that Phyllis gave me the opportunity to do something like that,” Gano said. “Not many kids get a chance to experience farm life.

“It was fun because everything I would bring to them would amaze them. They would say, ‘Really?’ and that was the best part.”

After she retired from teaching, Gano said she was asked to be involved in the Clay County Fair’s Ag-Citing program, whereby elementary students come from across Northwest Iowa to the fair for a field trip, just to learn about agriculture.

She took advantage of that opportunity and has been doing it ever since.

When they were farming, the Ganos raised corn and soybeans, hogs and a few cows.

They have three children and three grandchildren.

Quick rhubarb dessert

Layer ingredients in order given in a 9-by-13-inch pan.

3 1/2 to 4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup sugar

1 two-layer white cake mix, dry

1/3 cup margarine, melted

1 3-ounce package strawberry Jell-O (dry)

Pour 1 cup hot water over all

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Rhubarb jam

6 cups rhubarb, cut up

4 cups sugar

2 3-ounce boxes raspberry Jell-O

1 can blueberry pie mix

Mix rhubarb and sugar well.

Let sit overnight.

In the morning, heat until boiling. Boil six minutes.

Add Jell-O, stir well and let cool.

Add pie filling to rhubarb mixture and mix well.

Put into jars and seal.

Also keeps well in the refrigerator.

Banana bread

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

3 large bananas

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Nuts optional

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs and beat well.

Add bananas and dry ingredients.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes in two bread pans.

Chocolate chip pancakes

1 1/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon. salt

3/4 teaspoon soda

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons butter

Chocolate chips

Combine the flour and salt.

In another bowl combine the soda and buttermilk.

Mix the two together and stir in the egg and butter.

Fry on hot griddle and add chocolate chips as they are cooking.

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