This year our pumpkin patch is truly worthy of a visit from the Great Pumpkin himself. We have been very blessed with beautiful perfectly sized pie pumpkins.
While most think of baked goods when it comes to pumpkins, there is a hidden gem that a waits. Pumpkin Soup. Here is my recipe.
1 tsp Coconut oil
1 large onion coarsely chopped
4 cloves of garlic diced
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon (I like cinnamon so I use more like 2 tsp)
1 tsp of fresh crushed ginger (Again, I tend to be heavy handed on the fresh ginger root. You can also used ground powdered ginger.)
2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of heavy cream (you can also use a heavy coconut cream, this does change the flavor a bit.)
1 four pound pumpkin
pinch of salt
grind of pepper
Sharp Large Knife
Sturdy large spoon (for scooping out pumpkin guts)
Halve your pumpkin, scrape out “guts” (save your seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds if you like).
Peel your pumpkin:
TIP: Peeling a pumpkin is hard work. If you have a microwave you can “cheat”. Quarter your pumpkin halves. Place on a microwave safe platter, cover with a microwave save cover and use your potato setting for 2 potatoes. Repeat for the other half.
Remove from microwave and cool. At this point you can just peel off the rind of the pumpkin. Easy peasey.
Chop your pumpkin in cubes and set to the side.
In your Dutch Oven, on medium heat; add in your coconut oil, garlic and onion and saute until golden.
Add in your pumpkin cubes, broth and water.
Bring to a steady boil for about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat and add in Ginger, Cinnamon, Brown Sugar and stir until well mixed and the sugar is dissolved.
Simmer until pumpkin is fork tender. So you can easily pierce with a fork.
Remove from heat.
With your Immersion blender, blend until the contents are smooth.
Fold in your cream until well mixed. DO NOT return to heat.
Add in a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in Bowls with a drizzle of cream.
Side Note: My husband likes to add a touch of heat to this soup. As a suggestion use a sauce or Pepper that has a Citrus overtone, such as a Lemon Drop Pepper.
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.
While potatoes can remain stored in a cool place for a fairly long time, its always a good idea for back up.
Potatoes are perfect for dehydration & long term storage and only take about 15 to 20 minutes to rehydrate for use.
This method can be used for both sliced & hashbrown shredded potatoes. However, do NOT skip over any of the steps.
Wash your potatoes well.
Cut out any blemishes, soft spots & the eyes.
I do not peel my potatoes, but if you wish to do so, go for it. The peel is where the vitamins are.
Slice in thin slices OR shred your potatoes. Dont do both in the same drying session.
Immediately place in cold ice water to prevent browning & discoloration.
THIS IS IMPORTANT DO NOT SKIP! When all of your potatoes are done. Rinse from the cold water. And place potatoes in a large pot of boiling water with about 1/2tsp of canning salt. This will prevent the potatoes from turning a funky black during the dehydrator process.
Blanche your potatoes for about 5 min. You want them still very firm but easy to stick a fork in. To soft and the fall apart.
Drain potatoes well away from hot water.
Layer slices on your dehydrator shelves. Slices should not overlap. Hashbrowns can touch bgg but dont pile.
Dehydrate at 160 degrees F for at least 6 hours.
Check often as you want absolutely no moisture at all in them. Many times I do this step overnight.
To store, I put in Mason jars and vacuum seal my jar lid then store!
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.