Author Archives: Fuller Sasser

How to Propagate Succulents

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Succulents love the sun and thrive when grown in proper light conditions. But you’ve probably seen or grown a succulent that gets leggy and stretched out. These leggy – or etiolated – succulents aren’t getting the light they should in the space you have it. This phenomenon happens with all indoor plants, not just succulents. You may notice how your plant bends toward the sunlight, stretching to get as close as it can. Succulents continue to grow taller as they stretch toward the sun, leaving more space between each leaf. While etiolated succulents won’t go back to their prior compact shape, you can give them a haircut and propagate the cuttings to get even more succulents.

Remove leaves. Use pruners or snap off roots and healthy leaves from the bottom half of the succulent. Get as clean of a break as possible to encourage new growth. If your leaf tears, get rid of it. Remove leaves until you’re a little more than half way to the top. See step three to learn how you can snip and replant the stem and the remaining rosette at the top.

Let leaves dry. Allow leaves to dry for a few days after removal, until the raw ends have calloused.

Repot the stem. Planting the stem deeper, where the leaves were removed, will allow to grow new roots. If your stem is too long for your pot, simply trim it 1-2 inches from the base of the plant. If you have no stem at all, it’s ok. Just nest the rosette in the soil so it doesn’t fall out.

Get ready to grow. Place dried leaves on top of a tray, saucer or container filled with Espoma Cactus and Succulent mix. Do not bury leaves in the soil. Place the container in a spot where it will be protected from full sun exposure.

Spray soil until it’s moist, without being drenched. Water again when soil is dry to the touch.

Wait. In about a month or so new baby roots will appear

Replant. Once your propagated succulents have taken root, they can be replanted. Show them off in a cool planter.

Lastly, be sure to check the roots every six months to see if you need to move your plants to a bigger pot. Feed your succulents regularly for best results.

Amos’ Red Eye Gravy

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Country Biscuits

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Real country biscuits can’t be beat.  Slather ’em in butter and molasses and serve with a slice or two of Country ham.  Doesn’t get any better than that.

The Bobbitt family on the front porch at “Cleveland”, the old home in Palmer Springs, VA.  This biscuit recipe is from the little girl on the steps…my Mom.
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour, measured after sifting (White Lily or Martha White is best)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cups shortening (use 1/3 for shorter biscuits)
  • 2/3 cup milk
Sift dry ingredients together and cut in shortening. Add milk all at once, stirring until all flour is moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead dough gently 5 or 6 times, then roll or pat to a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut biscuits and place on an ungreased baking sheet, touching each other. Use a light colored baking sheet as dark pans make the bottoms overbrown. Prick each biscuit 3 times with a fork before baking. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 16 2-inch biscuits.  Tip: Cover the surface of the measuring cup with a drop of oil. This allows shortening, molasses, and honey to come out with ease. 

The Southern Art form of Country Ham

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Reprinted with permission of Everette and Jean Barefoot.

Proper curing and aging of real country hams is truly a Southern art. Whether salt-cured, aged in sugar and salt or smoked, the high quality hams of North Carolina have come to be regarded as some of the finest in the nation.

For many years in the area of hearty farmland near Johnston County in eastern Carolina, the neighborly invitation from Jean and Everette Barefoot to their friends to “come on over for ham and eggs” was a welcomed treat not to be refused. Everette Barefoot had long been known for his deliciously-aged hams, though he only processed a number of hams sufficient for his own family and a few select friends and relatives at Christmas time.

Folks telephoning from far away often requested Jean Barefoot’s expertise in advising them of the real “Southern” method for cooking these hams. Following are a few of her hints for preparing a NC Country ham.

Everette Barefoot preparing his County Hams

To Bake the Ham: For Sunday dinners or holiday meals, whole hams are baked and sometimes garnished with cloves, pineapples, cherries and brown sugar. There are many ways to bake a country ham, though it is necessary to soak the salt-cured ham for 12 hours prior to baking in order to remove the salt. Simply soak the ham in water overnight before baking. (Extra aged hams which have been cured for 12 months or more can require as much as 48 hours in water.)

After soaking, scrub the ham well, place it skin-side up in a deep roasting pan and fill the pan at least half-way with water, wine, ginger ale or champagne. Cover tightly and place in a 300 degree oven. Never let the ham boil, but simply simmer it slowly instead. If you use a meat thermometer, remove the ham when the thermometer reaches 160 degrees. If you don’t use a thermometer, you can always tell that the ham is done when the aitch (hip) bone becomes loose! After removing from the oven, let the ham cool slightly and and remove skin before slicing. Cooking requires about 25 minutes per pound.

Another traditional method of baking a country ham includes an overnight soaking in water plus one cup of dark molasses.  (Be sure to cut both ends off and remove any edges which seem exceptionally hard from the curing process prior to soaking the ham.) After the ham has soaked for at least 12 hours, pour off the water, then cover again with an additional one cup of molasses and water and bring to a boil on the stove. Then, return to a very slow boil until thick blisters appear on the ham. Cooking requires about 25 minutes per pound.  Once more, let the ham sit in the same water and molasses another night. Before serving, pour off the water, trim the crust, and cover the fatty side in brown sugar before browning in the oven. This is the traditional “grandma’s way” of baking country ham.

The final recipe for baking a whole ham requires soaking the ham in water for 24 hours. After soaking, scrub the ham with a soft brush. Remove the “shank” end and place the ham in a covered roaster with seven cups of water. After preheating the oven to 500 degrees, bake the ham for fifteen minutes. Then, turn off the oven and leave the ham inside for three hours. Again, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and cook again for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the ham remain for for eight hours. IMPORTANT! Do not open your oven door at all for the total eleven hours. Once you’ve aged as much as your ham in cooking it this way, remove the ham from the broth and let it cool. You may slice as is or you can remove the skin before slicing. Garnish with brown sugar, spices, etc. and brown slightly in the oven. You’ll be delightfully surprised at the wonderful flavor.