San Mateo/San Francisco Counties
University of California
San Mateo/San Francisco Counties

Past Events & Recipes

MFP's at San Mateo County Fair 2018

What do dried apples, chopped tomatoes, and fresh yogurt have in common with deep fried Oreos-on-a-stick? All were tempting fairgoers at the San Mateo County Fair! In June, Master Food Preserver volunteers offered twelve demonstrations over the eleven days of the Fair, teaching members of the public how to make freezer jam from fresh berries, how to make yogurt, and how to dehydrate fruits and vegetables to prepare for a backpacking trip.


MFP's at County Fair
The San Mateo County Fair offers Master Food Preservers an excellent stage for outreach to the community and the opportunity to pursue our goal of providing up-to-date, research-based food safety and preservation information. Over the course of the week-long County Fair, more than a third of the active MFP’s were involved in teaching hundreds of members of the public. Each instructor demonstrated the basics of a particular food preservation technique, offered tasty samples to members of the public and included participants in hands-on activities. Visitors hand-cranked ice cream, mashed berries for jam, and chopped vegetables for salsa. They compared low sugar jams with full sugar varieties. They compared the crunch of refrigerator pickles with that of pickles canned in a boiling water bath. Families joined in the fun and children in the audience were enthusiastic about using the microphone to ask questions. MFP’s raffled off jars of freshly made preserves to lucky audience members.


Each demonstration was offered twice in an afternoon and the ice cream instructors found that two women who enjoyed the first show stayed through the two-hour break, asking questions, gleaning information and helping to prepare for round 2. The women stayed through the second show asking more in-depth questions.


To respond to the growing interest in food waste reduction, each MFP instructor included information not just about safety, but about ways to limit food waste. Make watermelon sorbet and you will have some leftover rinds that are perfect for quick pickles. Trim strawberries for jam and the hulls can be used to flavor water or can be thrown into a healthy green smoothie. Fairgoers who spent time in the Culinary Arts department went home with information, inspiration, recipes, and the confidence to try their own food preservation projects.


Here are a couple of recipes we shared:

Watermelon Sorbet

            from "The Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz


3 cups (750ml) watermelon juice/pulp (See Note)

1/2 cup (100g) sugar

Big pinch of salt

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime

1 to 2 tablespoons vodka (optional)

1 to 2 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips

In a small, nonreactive saucepan, heat about 1/2 cup (125ml) if the watermelon juice/pulp with the sugar and salt, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and stir the sugared syrup into the remaining 2 1/2 cups(625ml) watermelon/juice pulp in a medium bowl.  Mix in the lime juice and vodka (if using). Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Note:  A 3 pound (1 1/2 kg) chunk of watermelon yields about 3 cups (750ml) watermelon juice/pulp.  Cut away the rind and save for Watermelon Rind Pickles (recipe on back).  Remove any seeds, and then cut the juicy pink flesh into cubes and purée them in the blender or food processor. Any extra juice/pulp can be frozen for other uses, such as slushies.


Watermelon Rind Refrigerator Pickles

            adapted from ""

4 lbs watermelon rind

2 cups vinegar (white)

2 cups water

4 cups sugar

3 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1 lemon, sliced thin

Pare watermelon rind and remove all pink portions. Cut rind into 1 x 2 inch pieces about 1 inch thick or into 3/4 by 1 inch cubes. Weigh. Soak rind overnight in brine made by dissolving 1/4 cup salt in each quart of water (make enough brine to cover).

Drain rind, wash in fresh water and drain.

Combine remaining ingredients and boil together 5 minutes. Add rind a few at a time and cook until rind is clear (simmer about 30 minutes). Pack rind in clean jars. Cover with boiling syrup and seal. Spices may be tied in cheesecloth bag if desired.  Store pickles in refrigerator for up to one month.

Cantaloupe rind, pumpkin or winter squash rind may be cut into pieces and pickled in the same way.

Yields 5-6 pints.



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