Category Archives: Canning and Freezing

Ice cream ensures that back-to-school open house pleases even the littlest attender

Ice cream ensures that back-to-school open house pleases even the littlest attender

Happy birthday to my sister Verena, whose 52nd birthday was August 22. We wish her God’s richest blessings and many more happy, healthy years!

This is Thursday morning, and it seems the hours are going faster than I can keep up! School doors opened Tuesday, August 21, with son Kevin in seventh grade and daughter Lovina in eighth. Lovina decided that she would like to attend school again instead of doing another year of homeschooling. I think she missed her school friends. Kevin is also glad to have his sister back at school.

We were helping Susan yesterday. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail were also there helping. We washed her laundry and washed off her kitchen walls, ceilings, and cupboards. We also did some other odds-and-ends. Baby Jennifer was fussy this week, so it’s hard for Susan to get her work done. I think Jennifer senses that her mother is extra busy. On Saturday we canned pizza sauce and hot peppers for Susan.

Last night was the open house at the school. Little Abigail cried when we were leaving Susan’s house, so we decided to just take Abigail with us. Daughters Verena and Loretta told Elizabeth they would bring her back home after the open house at the school. There was an ice cream social at the open house, and Abigail loved the birthday cake flavor. She also loved playing on the swings and slides at the playground. She didn’t want to leave. It is so precious to have her come home with us. Needless to say, she gets a lot of attention here!

This week Lovina and crew canned 24 quarts of homemade vegetable juice; she shares the recipe.

We did our first canning of tomatoes this week. We canned 24 quarts of homemade vegetable juice. I will share the recipe with you at the end of the column which comes from my earlier cookbook, The Amish Cook at Home. This is a good drink for breakfast or anytime of the day. It is healthy, given all the different vegetables it contains. I don’t always add every vegetable in the recipe. Sometimes I add potatoes, and sometimes I don’t. I add more hot peppers than the recipe calls for because we like it with a spicy flavor. Daughter Elizabeth doesn’t add many hot peppers so she can use it in soups and it won’t be hot for little Abigail.

Today we will wash laundry and then can some peaches. I have a bushel that needs to be done today. I’m not sure yet, but I may also freeze some that we can use for lunches.

Son Joseph, 16, started his new job at the RV factory. He is only allowed to do some small jobs because of his age. He enjoys it and is excited about having a job again and earning money. My nephew Benjamin also works there, so the cousins enjoy spending their breaks and lunchtime together.

I really miss Joseph’s help here at home, but I understand that he needs to get a job. It’s part of growing up. So many people take for granted that everyone can work any job. But when you have a disability, jobs are limited. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair to our girls that they can’t go out and earn money like other girls. Life isn’t fair, and God has a reason for everything. We don’t always understand it, but someday we will. Keeping our trust in God is the best thing we can do.

My husband Joe is on four-day work weeks this month, so he can help Mose with his work. Things are falling in place in preparation for hosting church services there on Sunday. The church tent will be set up at Mose and Susan’s house tomorrow. Services will be held under the tent since they don’t have enough room in the buildings for the service.

I’ll share the vegetable juice recipe I used this week.

The process of making homemade vegetable juice is quite involved, but rewarding.

Homemade Vegetable Juice

15 pounds tomatoes, cut into chunks
4 onions, diced
4 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
6 large jalapenos, diced
6 small potatoes, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cucumbers, sliced 
2–3 teaspoons garlic powder
salt

Combine all ingredients except the salt in a 3-gallon stainless steel pot over medium-high heat. Cook until soft enough to go through a Victoria strainer, about 30 minutes. Strain and put into sterilized quart jars and add 1 teaspoon salt to every jar. Process according to your canner’s directions. Makes 14 quarts.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Hosting church spurs Eichers to finally add trim and wainscoting

Hosting church spurs Eichers to finally add trim and wainscoting

Another busy week! Yesterday was a long day. Sister Emma and sons Jacob, 18, and Steven, 11, daughter Elizabeth with Abigail, and daughter Susan with Jennifer assisted us with our work.

Steven had his eleventh birthday on Monday, July 30. Son Kevin and Steven always enjoy spending time together. They both have muscular dystrophy, so they are limited with what they can do. Other children at that age don’t always want to take the time to play with someone that is slower at walking. It’s the age when others are active and want to run and play sports. So most of the time these two boys keep each other entertained at school, church, etc. Until I had handicapped children I never thought so much about it but once you are at this end of it you really appreciate the people that are considerate of your children. It is hard for boys this age to sit back and watch the other boys running and playing games that they can’t participate in. God helps us through our trials.

Yesterday our back entrance was cleaned from top to bottom. Some kitchen cabinets were also cleaned out. I sure was glad for what all was done. Everyone who came to help had a breakfast of biscuits, sausage gravy, fried eggs, cheese, chocolate chip cookies, watermelon, coffee, milk, and juice. For lunch we had vegetable soup and hot dog sandwiches.

In the evening my husband Joe, sons Joseph and Kevin and I went to Menards (a large lumber and supply store) to pick up our order of trim and wainscoting. Yes, we are finally getting our trim on. One year after another slips by since we moved in our new house. It seemed we could always use the money somewhere else and that is still the case but Joe said we need to get it done. It will look a lot better I’m sure. We have the family coming to help us with it on Saturday. Then we have one more week after that to be ready to host church services.

Daughter Verena, 20, is disappointed to be out of a job again. Nephew Emanul shut down his woodworking shop where she was a secretary. She had found some work suitable for her and it was working so good for her. Again we will trust God to lead the way. I sure am glad for her help with the cleaning but I understand that helping her mother doesn’t pay.

Last Friday my sisters Verena and Susan spent the day here helping. They cleaned a lot of windows. They used white vinegar in water to wash them and use cheese cloth towel to dry them. It made the windows nice and sparkling. Joe made grilled hamburgers and French fries for our supper before they left for home. I sure appreciate everyone’s help.

We were invited to a fish fry at neighbors Joas and Susan’s place last night but couldn’t attend as we had to go to Menards.

I have pickles that need to be canned today. I will also make freezer pickles with them. For canning pickles, I use the recipe that a lady in our church gave me called sweet dill pickles. I will share the recipe with those of you that like canning your own pickles.

God bless!

Sweet Dill Pickles

Cucumbers, (sliced, enough for about 3 quarts, or double plus extra for 6-7 quarts)
2 cups white vinegar
3 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons canning and pickling salt
2 cups water
4 garlic cloves (per quart)
2 dill heads (per quart)
pinch of alum (per quart)

Put sliced cucumbers, garlic, dill, and alum in jars. Heat vinegar, sugar, salt, and water together then pour over pickles. Cold pack according to your guide for water bath canning. Makes 3 quarts.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Using up scraps to make matching dresses for the grandbabies

Using up scraps to make matching dresses for the grandbabies

The sun is out! The sky is so lovely today. What a great master artist we have. Only He could paint a picture like this. The temperature is at 36 degrees.

The Eicher sewing machine gets plenty of use!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan spent the day here yesterday and of course sweet little Abigail and Jennifer. My daughters were occupied cutting out and sewing baby dresses. They were using up some scraps of material I have. It seems so much of the time I have just enough material left that I can’t make a shirt for the boys or a dress for the girls. So now it can get used on the little grandbabies. The girls decided to cut out matching dresses for Abigail and Jennifer to wear to church on Sunday.

I went with Susan to Jennifer’s one-month checkup at the doctor. She weighs 10 pounds 7 ounces now. She weighed 8 pounds 10 ounces at birth so she’s doing well on gaining. She was 20 inches at birth and is 22 inches long now. Monday she will be six weeks old. I miss not seeing her every day since they moved back home. It’s good for them to be able to be back in their own house now.

Daughter Verena was glad for the extra activity yesterday and entertaining Abigail and holding Jennifer. She has days when she gets bored with her cast on. Once the weather gets nicer outside and warmer, she can go outside more often. She had some visitors Sunday afternoon. Timothy and Elizabeth told us to come for supper. Timothy grilled hamburgers and Elizabeth made macaroni and cheese, chips and ice cream. They also told Mose and Susan to come over so they drove the two miles. The whole family was there and it was an enjoyable evening. The boys put Verena in the buggy for the drive to Timothy’s. It was refreshing for her to go on a buggy ride.

Saturday husband Joe and the boys plan to dress and hang our beef. Timothy and Mose will come help too. One half of the beef will go to Mose and Susan. We have another beef we are raising that we still need to butcher yet this winter. We decided to butcher one at a time. It will be nice to have that big job done. We will cut up, can, and bag the meat for the freezer at our house.

The mail just came and had a card and letter from sister-in-law Nancy’s sister Sharon (Nancy and Sharon are cousins to my husband Joe). Sharon said in her letter that Nancy hasn’t been sleeping well at night which is understandable. Wish I could be closer to visit more often. I am glad Nancy’s parents and her siblings all live close to her.

Daughter Verena has been writing and sending cards to Nancy and her ten children. It gives her something to do. She looks forward to mail time.

I answered a lot of reader mail this morning. I was getting behind like usual. A big thank you to all you readers that sent the recipes I requested. I will share them in future columns. I will not be able to share all of them but will look through them.

Our sympathy goes to the family of Marcella, age 88, from Minnesota. She was daughter Elizabeth’s pen pal for over three years. Marcella and her niece Rachel traveled from Minnesota in 2015 to come here to Michigan for Elizabeth and Timothy’s wedding.

Lots of flu going around. Stay healthy everyone!

God’s blessings to all!

Tomato Jelly

4 cups peeled chopped tomatoes
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is okay too)

Boil ingredients together 20 minutes. Turn off and add a 3-ounce box of strawberry jello. May be canned or frozen.

Note: One recipe says to add one 3-ounce box of jello and another one said two.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

After buying wedding groceries, groceries for church services are “nothing”

Monday after we were done hanging out the laundry we took time out of our busy schedule to watch the solar eclipse. We didn’t have any special glasses but held three pair of dark sunglasses together to see the moon pass in front of the sun. It was amazing to see! Only God can arrange how such a wonderful universe works.

It didn’t get too dark in our area but it almost looked like it was evening after the sun starts going down. It was worth it to let our work set for awhile as we watched. It seemed like the day was extra hot and humid. Then the rain we had during the night cooled everything off. Now we are having chilly mornings. The temperature showed forty-seven degrees this morning.

Yesterday our order for one-hundred broiler chicks came. These are butchering chickens for meat. Fifty are for us and fifty for Mose and Susan. It will be good to have chicken in the freezer to use. With our chilly mornings the chicks need a heat lamp yet to keep them warm. They are very active and can make quite a bit of noise.

Tuesday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came to help us. Also sister Emma and son Jacob. Jacob is almost eighteen and has muscular dystrophy like some of our children do. He keeps busy making a lot of different things from wood. He carves out names or makes Aggravation board games, shelves, picture frames, and a variety of things.

A lot was accomplished Tuesday. The back entrance to our home was cleaned from top to bottom—windows, doors, etc. Also forty-eight quarts of tomato juice were canned. The next tomatoes we get will probably be put into salsa for daughter Susan.

We have more sweet corn that is almost ready. We planted three different times so it’s not all ready at once.

On Tuesday Kevin had his first day of school. It sure was different to see him be the only one getting on the bus. Today we will get the rest of Lovina’s seventh grade books for homeschooling.

Last Saturday, daughter Elizabeth and Timothy and little Abigail helped here all day, getting ready for the church services. Also sisters Verena and Susan. As if we didn’t have enough to do, our two bushels of peaches were ready to be canned and frozen. I always freeze a lot in small containers to put in lunches. It’s like a small ice pack for the other food in the lunch bag and will be thawed and ready to eat by lunch time.

Today, Thursday, a few of the girls and I will go get groceries for our church lunch on Sunday. I used to think it was a big task to go shopping for church groceries. After two weddings in our family the last two years, this seems like nothing.

Tomorrow we will do laundry, mop the basement floor and clean a few more windows down there. That should wrap up the cleaning for church.

Our gas stove and propane-run refrigerator need a good cleaning. I am hoping to do that after I get home from getting groceries. Son-in-law Mose has been getting the garden weeds under control and tilling up the ground that is done for the season.

Mose’s sister Esther will be baptized on Saturday. (Sometimes a baptismal service is held on a Saturday if too many other church districts also have someone following instructions for baptism.) So Mose and Susan will go to his parents’ house where the baptismal church services will be held. This will make two days of going to church for them.

I will share my recipe for frozen peaches. God bless you!

Frozen Peaches

20 pounds sliced peaches (or crushed)
7 cups sugar
3 12-ounce cans frozen orange juice concentrate

Mix peaches, sugar and orange juice concentrate together well. Put in containers and freeze.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovina’s family enjoys fall’s bounty with fresh venison, grape juice, hot pepper butter  

Another chilly morning! The temperature is 48 degrees at 7 a.m. The propane lights throw off heat which makes the house feel cozy and warm.

We are in the process of getting things around to put up a chimney for where Mose and Susan have made their living quarters in our pole barn. We will burn hard coal in there. Right now it is chilly out there but usually warms up during the day. Hopefully the stove will be hooked up for them before it gets too cold.

Deer hunting season for bow is open now. Mose was a lucky hunter on Saturday, and so had fresh venison steak to grill one evening. Joe and all the children loved it! I grew up with beef and have a hard time getting used to the venison taste. I think sometimes if I wouldn’t know it was venison, I might like it better. I am glad the children like the meat because it is plentiful in this area.

Cooking the grapes to make grape juice.
Cooking the grapes to make grape juice.

Leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. Gardens are looking empty. We canned six bushels of grapes as grape juice. Two of the bushels were for Mose and Susan. We used the steamers to steam the grapes. The concentrated juice is put in jars to seal.

We also have apples waiting here to be made into applesauce. Those will have to wait awhile. Too many things on our list for this week.

Monday we washed our laundry. Tuesday we went to daughter Elizabeth’s and washed their laundry. Both were nice sunny days so that makes it so much easier to dry laundry.

Baby Abigail is doing well. I went with Elizabeth to Abigail’s one-month doctor appointment. She weighed eleven and one-half pounds at four weeks. She was eleven pounds at birth but lost some weight at the hospital. She still has lots of black hair and her eyes are blue. When I give her a bath and her hair is wet, it curls up. Needless to say she does not lack attention. She loves the baby swing that daughter Verna gave to them. Elizabeth is doing well and getting used to doing her work between Abigail’s naps. They will come to spend today with us. We are looking forward to having her and Abigail here.

Saturday we attended the hog roast held at our local feed mill for their customer appreciation day. We were canning grape juice that day so I appreciated not having to make lunch.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday was Saturday, October 8. He invited our family to his parents’ house this Saturday for a hog roast in honor of his birthday.

Dustin has been a great help to Loretta. He sees past her handicap and has really brightened up her life. He has a good personality and is always cheerful when he’s around.

Yesterday I made hot pepper butter with the abundance of jalapeño and serrano peppers we have from the garden. We like this spread on a sandwich or even with breakfast, on toast. It’s a little spicy for those of you who don’t care for spicy foods. I will share the recipe for those who do enjoy “hotter” foods.

God bless each one of you!hotpepperbutter

Hot Pepper Butter

40 hot peppers (fewer can be used; some only use 14 hot peppers)
6 cups white sugar
1 quart vinegar
1 quart yellow mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups water

Grind peppers and mix with sugar, vinegar, mustard, and salt. Boil 10 to 15 minutes. Mix the flour and water, and then slowly add to above mixture. Boil another 5 minutes. Stir often to keep from sticking to pan. Can be processed in jars and sealed according to instructions on your canner.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Wedding work frolic planned; sister promises eggs to help make wedding noodles

FrontPorch
Not much time to relax on the porch these days …

Today, 17 years ago, our oldest son was born to us after having three daughters. I remember seeing the look on my husband Joe’s face when he told me “It’s a boy!” He loved his daughters too but was excited to have a son. Benjamin was only four pounds and thirteen ounces at birth and caught the flu at a few weeks old. He ended up in the hospital and went down to four pounds. He was just a tiny baby but now he is far from that. We will give him a tool chest on wheels with various tools tonight. He enjoys working with tools and doing construction work.

Tonight in honor of Benjamin’s birthday, 20 to 25 youth will gather at our local Pizza Hut. Benjamin loves pizza so he will enjoy that and also being with his friends. Daughter Verena called Pizza Hut to reserve seats for all of them. I will need to make a cake for Ben but might wait until Saturday to have cake and ice cream since he won’t be home tonight.

Benjamin didn’t have to go to work yesterday so he and our son Joseph were mowing our pasture field with our big walk behind mower. It helps keep the weeds out to mow it down every once in a while.

Saturday we are having a “work frolic” for anyone who wants to come help us prepare for the wedding. Joe ordered material to insulate and finish the other end of the pole barn. We will use both parts of the building for the wedding and be able to spread out. Mose will be here to help but none of his family will be able to make it. Mose’s older brother Joe is getting married September 2 and that wedding will be at Mose’s parents’ house. They put up a new pole barn and are working on finishing that too. Hopefully we will get plenty of help to get a lot done.

We also want to have someone put a roof coating on our barn roof. We are springing a few leaks, so that should help. Joe also ordered stain for our ramp and deck. We wanted to let the wood season awhile before we apply the stain. The wedding is three weeks away so we need to keep busy. Joe has to work Saturday in a week so that’s one Saturday less for him to get ready.

I still haven’t made noodles for the wedding. Our chickens have not been laying so well. We have new ones started but they won’t lay eggs for a few months. We will butcher the older chickens and can the broth once the new hens are laying eggs. We like to get new hens every two years. I will use all my chicken broth I have left at the wedding so I will need more. The broth is used in the noodles and dressing.

Sister Emma and sons were here assisting us with our work yesterday. She said I can have some of their eggs to make noodles for the wedding.

I have had enough pickles to make three batches of freezer pickles. I am clear out of any canned or freezer pickles. Hopefully my plants keep doing well so I can restock with those. Plans are that church will be here in October so I want to have plenty of pickles.

Today I want to try and get started sewing my dress for the wedding. I once again have put it off too long.

Friday sisters Verena and Susan will come help me with some more cleaning. Daughter Elizabeth plans to come as well.

On Friday, July 15, Joe and I will have our twenty-third wedding anniversary. Twenty-three years! How can that be possible? I am blessed to be married to a kind, loving husband. Every marriage has ups and downs but with God’s help it all ends up making our love stronger for each other. Without God in a marriage, I can’t imagine it working well. God’s love for us is unconditional. May He bless each of you!

Cucumbers are the crop of choice in Lovina’s garden right now, and this week she shares a favorite recipe for cucumber salad.
Cucumbers to make a few batches of Freezer Pickles.

Freezer Pickles

Makes about 4 pints

I store these in large containers in the freezer so when I have church I can serve them for the meal afterward. But I can also freeze them in smaller containers so we can eat them at home on sandwiches. It is really surprising how crisp they are. These pickles will stay good in the freezer for up to a year. They taste so fresh and crunchy. The making of these pickles does stretch out over three days, so plan accordingly!

4 to 5 cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons salt
1 large onion, sliced
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

Day 1: Put the cucumbers, salt, and onion in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Day 2: Drain the juice from the cucumbers. Combine the sugar and vinegar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Day 3: Take the pickles out of the refrigerator and pack into a freezer-safe container(s). Pour the syrup over the pickles and freeze until ready to use.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.