It’s Out of the Jar: Ms. Whiston’s Sweet Story

Lean Mean Spanish Speaking Machine. Garden Grove High School’s very own Ms. Whiston is more than what meets the eye; with not only her fluency in Spanish and passion for the language, many are surprised when they learn our sweet Spanish teacher was apart of the Army! With this, people are further blown away for her passion in the hobby of preserving food; it is not well heard of but it is very charming and tastes great. With many grand and interesting characteristics Ms. Whiston has under her belt, she astounds the student body and all those she encounters.

Argolog asked a few questions concerning the army and her hobby; as every student walks into a door, it’s satisfying to get to know more about what great people our faculty are. Everyone is interested and a little nervous, but don’t fret — we did all the hardwork for you.


> What branch of the military did you serve in and why did you choose to do so?  

I was a Quartermaster in the Army.  I joined AROTC in college because a sorority sister needed money to pay her tuition, and the Army was offering scholarships to qualified applicants.  She said they were very nice to her and asked her to give an interest postcard to a friend.   I was that friend.  I went in for an interview when they called, and in the end I was offered a three year scholarship because I had good grades in high school, was physically fit and scored well on the ASVAB.

> What was your position in the military and essentially what did you do?

As a Quartermaster I worked with supply.  I was a part of units that supplied maps, machine parts and water.   As an officer, I oversaw the training and performance  of my soldiers.

> How long did you serve? >

I was contracted for a bit more than three years in ROTC and then served 8 more years in the Reserve.

Do you have any fond memories or interesting stories / experiences?

I did many things in the Army I would not have done otherwise.  I very much enjoy rappelling and I can plan and execute a mean ambush!   I enjoyed the travel and challenges of  all training exercises.  Mostly, I am so very grateful for having had the opportunity to have worked with fabulous people, patriotic, selfless and brave.

> What kind of jam do you make! >

I make all kinds of jams and jellies…  strawberry, peach, apricot, apple, plum, cranberry, marmalade, watermelon, red pepper, jalapeño, mint,…


>Why do you make jam? >

I like to make jam because it is simply beautiful in the jars.  I hate wasting food since there are so many people who go hungry in this world.  Jamming is a method of preservation.  If my family and friends cannot eat all the produce we grow, then I can turn it into something that will last longer.  It makes a fabulous gift…  people appreciate the jam….  fresh, without preservatives and tasty!!

> Do you make other types of foods or condiments?

I preserve a number of foods…  I can green beans, beets, kohlrabi, cauliflower, corn, apple pie filling, ​and tomatoes.

I make pickles too…   sweet, bread and butter and dill pickles, watermelon pickles, cantaloupe pickles.  

I also dry chilies, apples and tomatoes.

I freeze homemade tomato sauce as well and make dozens of loaves of zucchini and apple bread each summer.

> How do you make jam?

Jam can be made a number of ways, but mostly it’s a matter of adding pectin which thickens liquids with sugar and fruit.  The reaction occurs when the mixture reaches a boil, so there’s a bit of science involved.  It’s a quick process now for me.  There is commercial pectin available and you can also use apples or other fruits high in pectin as well.