Summer is here! The gardens are growing fast and just waiting to burst with all kinds of treasures! Now is the busy time of year, as we prepare to work like busy ants and prepare for the long winter months ahead.
I enjoy making relish type preserves. Be it pickle style relish or hot pepper style relishes. A common relish made by the Amish is called Chow Chow. The recipe below is for a spicy Chow Chow. Canning steps are included.
Recipe makes 12 pints
2 quarts of green beans
1 large head of cauliflower (separated into floweretes)
3 cups of shelled baby lima beans
3 cups of fresh whole kernel corn
1 quart of chopped onions
4 sweet green peppers chopped
1 – 4 of your favorite hot pepper chopped and deveined and seeded (Note: You choose your level of pain, jalapeno pepper on up. If you want no heat, add in a sweet bell pepper of a different color other than green to the peppers above.)
2 quarts of chopped green tomatoes
3 quarts of apple cider vinegar
4 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of pickling salt
2 tablespoons of celery seed
2 tablespoons of yellow mustard seed
2 tablespoons of dry mustard
1 tablespoon of powdered turmeric
Cut the green beans into 1/2 inch pieces.
Cook the green beans, cauliflower floweretes, lima beans and corn separately in boiling water until barely tender.
Drain, mix with the onions, peppers and tomatoes in a very large kettle.
In a separate pot, bring the vinegar to boil.
Add in the sugar, salt, celery seed, mustard seed, dry mustard and turmeric into the boiling vinegar and stir until the sugar is dissolved completely.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables.
Bring to a boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir throughout the boiling process.
Ladle into sterilized canning jars leaving 1/2 inches headspace (approximately 12 pint jars will be needed).
Process your lids according to the water bath or steam bath method you are using for your canner.
Place lids and bands on a clean top canning jar and screw on tight (not like Sampson tight, but tight enough to hold well.)
Water bath/Steam bath can for 25 minutes.
Take out of the canner and let rest for 24 hours (don’t move from their resting place for 24 hours).
Listen for the glorious pop sound of the jar sealing.
If any of the jars do not seal, you can exchange lids and re-can the jar or put that jar in the refrigerator to be the first to enjoy.
Always refrigerate after opening a jar or an unsealed jar.
The sealed jars will last about 2-3 years in a cool pantry.
Dandelion Jelly, or as a friend of mine calls it “Yard Lion Honey” is not your typical seasonal treat. While it is referred to as a jelly, its really much more the consistency of honey or agave syrup. This is the way it really is supposed to be. Dandelion Jelly is a seasonal treat among Amish and Mennonite and truly lives up to the “Use what you have” standard.
My favorite way to use Dandelion Jelly is in tea to replace honey. I also use it on breads and baked goods and with buttered biscuits or in grits. Pretty much anything you think of using honey for, you can use Dandelion Jelly.
4 cups of (packed) dandelion blooms separated from all greens. This is the labor intensive part.
1. Your blooms need to be fully opened and full of “fragrance”. The bigger the bloom the better.
2. NO SPRAYING OF ANYTHING. Blooms must be from an all natural not bug spray, fertilizer spray, weed spray, etc.
3. Blooms must be fresh and separate best within minutes after picking them.
4. NO GREENS are to be left with the bloom “fluff” the greens will be bitter.
4 cups of water
4 cups of sugar
1 box of low sugar natural fruit pectin
Yellow food coloring
A large pot for Jelly Making
5 half-pint canning jars with rings and lids
Water bath canner
Fine strainer tiny, tiny, tiny holes!
After perfectly shredding your dandelion blooms to a bowl of dandelion petals. Measure out 4 cups of petals.
Boil all 4 cups of water in your jelly pot.
We are beginning the process of making your “tea”
Once up to a boil measure ot 2 cups of petals and put directly into the boiling water, stir in.
Let boil for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat, then let steep for 20 to 25 minutes.
With your strainer over a large bowl, pour the water and dandelion petals through the strainer. Press the dandelion mush to get all the water out. The water will look “dirty” it’s supposed. The Dandelion mush can go to your chickens, compost bin or garden.
Put the water back into your Jelly pot and bring back to a boil.
Repeat the process with the next 2 cups of petals.
put petals directly into the boiling water, stir in.
Let boil for about 5 minutes, Take off the heat, then let steep for 20 to 25 minutes.
With your strainer over a large bowl, pour the water and dandelion petals through the strainer. Press the dandelion mush to get all the water out. The water will look “dirty” it’s supposed.
Put 3 cups of water BACK into your Jelly Pot and bring to a boil.
I personally use any extra tea to add to kombucha brewing or save for the next batch of dandelion jelly.
Add in your 4 cups of sugar and the pectin and bring to a boil. (I actually use 2/3 of a cup of natural pectin which I get in bulk from an Amish store instead of using mass produced boxed pectin).
Have your candy thermometer in your liquid.
When your thermometer gets to 250 degrees F, start your timer for 7 minutes.
If you start foaming (and you will) add a pat of real whole butter as with any jam to deaden the foam.
Once your time is up, remove the liquid from the heat.
Add in 2 to 3 drops of yellow food color to intensify the golden color (the more pollen in the blooms the brighter the color will be).
CANNING & PRESERVING
As with anything made in season, its nice to stock up during God’s bountiful season, so you will want to preserve for the months when dandelions no longer bloom in mass amounts.
Prepare your water bath or steam canner as directed.
This recipe makes 5 half-pints of jelly so sterilize and prepare 5 half-pints, I usually have 1 or 2 4 ounce jars “just in case” ready to go as well.
Prepare your lids and make sure you have good fitting rings.
While your canner is getting ready fill your jars with the jelly leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Wipe down the rims of the jars with a wet warm towel.
Place your rings on your jars.
Tightly screw on the rings (not like Samson tight, but nice and tight).
Once your canner is ready, place your jars in the canner.
Water Bath or Steam Can for 15 minutes.
Remove from the canner and let rest for 24 hours.
Hearing that wonderful “POP!” letting you know that the jar is sealed, should happen fairly soon after the jars leave their hot canner.
Let your jars rest for 24 hours before storing in a cool place like your basement pantry.
I hope you enjoy this new seasonal treat and it finds a regular spot in your home pantry.
One of my husband’s absolute favorite pie that I make is my Banana Dream Pie. Do you remember the old soda shop Banana Milkshakes or better yet the Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding dessert from Sunday potlucks of years gone by? Well, that is exactly what this tastes like.
Baking time: 15 min | Prep. Time: 30 min | Chill Time: Over night (min 2 hours)
The Rice Family Banana Dream Pie
1 box of mini vanilla wafers
2 tsp of sugar
1 large box of banana instant pudding (Jell-o brand)
1 1/2 cups of whole chilled milk
1 8 oz. container of cool-whip topping
1 stick (1/2 cup) real butter, melted (DO NOT USE MARGARINE!)
Fresh Fruit powder (or lemon juice) to keep the bananas from browning
1 deep dish pie pan.
Preheat your oven to 325 F.
Empty 3/4 of the box of mini vanilla wafers into a food processor and pulse until the consistency of gram cracker powder.
Mix together until crumbly but in “marbles”.
Press into the pie pan, if a foil pan, fold the edges upward and press the crust evenly to the very edge.
Bake the pie crust in the oven at 325 F for 13 to 15 minutes until there is a slight golden glow to the crust. Do not over bake.
Take out of the oven and let cool.
Cut 2 bananas in thin slices and place the slices in a bag with a sprinkle of Fresh fruit or a touch of lemon juice and shake coating the banana slices. This keeps your bananas from browning fast.
Arrange your banana slices on the pie crust once the pie crust is cool.
Set your pie crust to the side.
In a large bowl add your Banana Instant Pudding and 1 1/2 cups of whole milk. Blend with a hand mixer until thick.
Add in all of the cool-whip EXCEPT for one big spoon full. Mix into your pudding mix.
Continue to mix until a thick creamy pie filling.
Spoon over pie crust and banana slices, smoothing the top.
Slice the 3rd banana and treat with Fresh Fruit/Lemon juice as you did for the pie base.
Arrange cool-whip and banana slices over the top of the pie.
With your remaining Mini Vanilla Wafers, create an edging around the edge.
Chill overnight or a minimum of 2 hours in your refrigerator, to finish firming up.
I have had requests for this yummy fruit cake several times. This is not the brick that gets passed around as the dreaded white elephant every year at the holidays. No, this is a recipe given to me by my Grandma and it is yummy!
It is also enjoyable ANY time of year! When I was little my favorite way to enjoy it was to have a slice slightly toasted and slathered with fresh butter (the real stuff). The preserves throughout really doesn’t need butter, but when you have southern family, EVERYTHING is better with butter!
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Prep. Time: 2 hours (You can not rush awesomeness)
3/4 c butter
2 c sugar
3 c flour
1/2 tsp allspice, ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 c buttermilk – REAL Honest thick creamy butter milk!
2/3 c cherry preserves — I make my own, perhaps next year I will use my cherry chipotle jam!
2/3 c apricot preserves – I make my own
2/3 c pineapple preserves – I make my own
1 c pecans, in pieces
1 tsp REAL vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325F.
Mix Buttermilk with Baking soda and set aside.
Cream butter (or Margarine), Sugar, & eggs until light, Sift dry ingredients together and add creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and baking soda mixture.
Fold in the remaining ingredients.
Bake in a large tube or bundt pan (You can also use the mini bundt pans for sharing sizes) for 1.5 hrs check at 1 hour at 325F. Cool in pan for 15 mins before removing.
I also sprinkle a little powder sugar or some of my lemon sugar over the top for a look of a kiss of frost.
Now the best part! ENJOY! You may not want to share this fruit cake!
Sandwich spread, spiced ham, ham loaf, Spam. It has many names. I’m sure as soon as you read “spam” you either thought “Yes!” or you may have thrown up a little. I will tell you that homemade “spam” is nothing like today’s cheap meat in a can Spam. Depending on the spices you use in making it, it can be different every time you make it as well.
You can also “can” this wonderful concoction and make it into a sandwich “spread”, but it will cook in the jar, as does any meat.
So, here we go:
1½ pounds fatty pork shoulder, cubed
¼ pound skinless pork belly, cubed
¼ pound ham, cubed
1½ teaspoons pickling salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon dried jalapeno powder (we like spice)
1½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon garlic diced
½ teaspoon dehydrated onion flake (or dehydrated ramp flakes)
½ cup ice water
To make the grinding easier, place the pork, spread out in the freezer on a tray until well chilled. Not frozen, just well chilled. You are working with RAW PORK, PLEASE USE PROPER FOOD PRECAUTIONS, KEEP YOUR MEAT SEPARATED AND AWAY FROM OTHER FOOD.
Once everything is chilled, process the pork in sections in a food processor, once each one achieves the texture you desire add to a large bowl. I like my ham a little bigger pieces then the pork and pork belly.
Now add all your meat together and mix with a mixer with the spices.
Slowly add in the ice water to the meat and spices. You want to mix this until it is emulsified well. Meat paste. (I do realize that sounds gross….)
NON CANNING METHOD:
Transfer into a greased small loaf pans; smooth top with a greased rubber spatula. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in a larger pan with 2-inch tall sides. Fill the larger pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 1½ hours. Let cool completely before removing from pan. Cut into thick slices and serve cold or shallow fried until crusty.
Requires a pressure caner. Make sure you understand completely how to pressure can meat before doing this method!
Prepare your WIDE MOUTH Pint Jars as you would for normal meat preserving.
Make sure your meat mixture has NOTHING FROZEN LEFT IN IT!!!! NEVER can anything that is frozen or overly cold!
Pack your meat mixture into your jars leaving 1 1/2 inch head space.
Do not add any additional moisture.
Clean the edges of your jars, place your lids and rings (tightly but not like Samson tightly)
Place in your pressure caner and FOLLOW YOUR CANER’S DIRECTIONS!
Meat MUST pressure can for 75 minutes for pints once it reaches the canning stage.
Let your caner de-pressurize, and once you remove your jars, you will need to leave sitting for at least 24 hours. Make sure they seal.
Place on your pantry shelf and you have processed spam as a quick grab.
NOTE: The canning method COOKS the meat in the jar, so it is the shape of the jar. Using the Wide Mouth jars allows you to “slide” it out of the jar and slice the spam and then fry or use as a spread, its already cooked!
It may seem like a lot of work, but the flavor is so much better than anything that is mass produced! You will never eat store bought again!