Tag Archives: canning

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.

 

 

Placid evening after family devotions a fitting finale for the day

Supper is over and we have had evening devotions. All the children have gone their own way now—some to bed and some reading, writing or just relaxing. I love evenings like this, when everyone is close by. Every mother has those moments, I’m sure.

Making my day even more complete was having daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their sweet little daughters, Abigail and Jennifer, home for the day. This grandma actually fell asleep holding the baby on the recliner. Jennifer loves being held and cuddled.

Elizabeth hasn’t started potty-training Abigail, but today I started asking Abigail if she has to go to potty. She even comes up to me and tells me she needs to go potty. Well, we go through the whole routine and then she just sits there. I told Elizabeth she will eventually get the hang of it. I don’t think Elizabeth is too enthused to start the potty-training process. I keep asking myself why I’m so happy to help potty-train my granddaughter when I dreaded it with my own children! Maybe it’s because I can do it for a few hours and then quit when they go home. My dad always told us if he had known that grandchildren were so much fun he would have had them first. It was just one of his many jokes.

Back to supper tonight: our menu was biscuits, sausage gravy, eggs, potatoes and cheese. Son Benjamin and nephew Henry went after a new bearing for the buggy wheel on our one buggy. Then nephews Benjamin and Steven and niece Emma came over with some pon hoss and fresh sausage. They butchered pork on Saturday.

The Eichers were happy to can and freeze food staples such as this beef, which is customary among most Amish families.

Our beef is all canned, bagged and frozen. Freezers are filled to capacity. Do we appreciate that we have plenty to eat? There are so many in this world who are less fortunate. Let us pray for those less fortunate and also pray for peace in the world. There is so much hatred. God can be our only comfort at times when all else seems to go wrong.

My husband Joe and several of the children made around 300 hamburger patties, which are all frozen individually so they can be taken apart and put right on the grill. The rest of the hamburger was bagged and canned. I like using the canned hamburger for casseroles when I’m in a hurry. I went shopping with daughters Elizabeth, Susan and Loretta on Saturday. I felt so happy coming home to find out that this big job was all done—and maybe slightly guilty for not helping!

On Sunday church services were held with Dustin’s (Loretta’s special friend) parents being hosts. Loretta, Lovina, Benjamin, Joseph and Henry attended church in their district. Joe and I were also planning to go but Joe wasn’t feeling well during the night so we changed our plans. Joe was also home from work one day, running a fever and just not feeling well at all. The next day he felt good enough to go back to work, but he was still ready to see the weekend come. Those early mornings come around so fast! So often we take our good health for granted.

Several of our children and I went to visit sister-in-law Nancy one day this week. So much sadness. I have such a hard time going there and not seeing my brother Amos come walking to greet us. He was always so overjoyed to see us when we’d stop in for a visit. Amos and Nancy’s daughters—Lovina and her daughter and Elizabeth and her son—were home for the day. And Lisa, Laura and Sam were home, so we visited with everyone.

We were happy to hear we have another nephew, Seth Paul, born to Joe’s sister Loretta and Henry on March 2. Seth makes child number eleven for them. Their oldest son, Henry, has lived with us for almost seven months now. He went home to greet his newest little brother on Friday night. That makes 59 grandchildren for Joe’s late parents. Joe’s mother died at age 54 when we only had Elizabeth. She would be so happy to see all her grandchildren now.

Daughter Verena seems to be doing okay with her cast on her leg. She is getting a little impatient and tries to busy herself writing letters to others who need cheering up.

A reader shared with me her recipe for hot wilted lettuce. She says they eat this on top of boiled potatoes.

God’s blessings to all!

Hot Lettuce

1/2-1 pound bacon
1 heaping tablespoon flour (or a little more if needed)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
1 head of lettuce, torn

Fry bacon in large skillet. Remove bacon. Stir flour into grease and brown. Put egg in medium bowl and beat a little. Add salt, sugar, vinegar and water and then add this mixture to skillet. Add lettuce (you can use more or less than a head, as desired) and crumbled-up bacon and stir briefly in skillet until lettuce wilts slightly. Serve immediately.

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

Horse-and-buggy trip to Indiana caps the end of summer

We had a nice rain tonight. Our rain gauge shows that we had more than a half inch. Our garden still has tomatoes, cabbage, green peppers and hot peppers left in it. Yesterday we canned almost eighty pints of pizza sauce. We gave twenty pints to Mose and Susan. We also canned hot peppers. Susan wants to make pizza casserole tomorrow night to try out the sauce.

As summer winds down, the Eicher family has been busy picking tomatoes from their family garden.
As summer winds down, the Eicher family has been busy picking tomatoes from their family garden.

Mose and Susan are getting more settled as the weeks pass by. They have been helping Mose’s parents, as they are hosting the wedding for Mose’s brother Joe and his fiancée, Mary, next week.

I was asked to be cook at the wedding and to go help bake pies, etc., the day before. Mose and Susan will be table waiters at the wedding. Susan still needs to cut out and sew her dress for the wedding. With her working every day, I will probably have to help her get it sewn.

Saturday Joe and I and the six children here at home attended the picnic for the RV factory where Joe works. It was interesting to tour all the RVs and motorhomes that they make. We were served a good meal, and lots of door prizes and awards were given to the many, many employees. The grand prize was a Howard Miller grandfather clock. It rained and rained after lunch, but they had plenty of tents set up for everyone to stay dry.

A very happy birthday goes to sister Verena. She turned fifty on August 22. Mose, Susan and most of the children went over to sing “Happy Birthday” to Verena that evening.

Tomorrow morning I leave with daughter Susan for a town around 45 minutes away. Susan needs to get her married name put on her Social Security card, and she wants me to go along.

Tonight Mose grilled banana pepper poppers and I made chicken noodle soup. We still don’t have all the water lines hooked up to Mose and Susan’s living quarters, so it’s easier for her to use my kitchen. Most often they just eat the evening meal with us.

The boys and Mose are often spending their free time having bow practice. Mose has a big target set up, so it’s an easy place to test out their skills. Hunting season will be here before we know it. The boys passed their hunters’ safety class earlier this year.

Saturday evening Timothy and Elizabeth came for supper. After supper Timothy, Mose, Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, and son Joseph practiced shooting their bows. The girls and I just relaxed and visited. Joe has been working longer hours, so he’s always glad to rest and get to bed earlier.

Daughter Verena and son Benjamin, with some other young folks, drove to northern Indiana with horses and buggies. They spent the night at niece Susan and Joe’s house. The next morning they drove to brother Albert’s. Church services were held at Albert’s home. Their daughter Emma was baptized at the service.

Sunday afternoon Verena and Benjamin started the journey home. They had around twenty miles to go to get to niece Susan’s house, and around seventeen miles to get home from Albert’s house. Our horse Mighty handles these long trips really well. They do take their time, and let Mighty walk a lot of the time.

School doors will be opening in less than two weeks. Our school starts September 6. All three children will be in middle school. Joseph will be in eighth grade, with this being his final year of schooling. Where does time go? Lovina will be in sixth grade and Kevin in fifth. Kevin will be eleven next week. It seems like he was just born, and now he’s already turning eleven!

The Eichers canned pizza sauce using tomatoes from their garden.
The Eichers canned pizza sauce using tomatoes from their garden.

This is a recipe for breadsticks niece Elizabeth shared in our family cookbook. Our children like to dip them in pizza sauce.

Until next week, God bless!

Breadsticks

1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, divided
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 egg, beaten
pizza seasoning

Heat the milk, sugar, salt and 4 tablespoons butter; remove from heat as soon as butter is melted. Add the flour, yeast, garlic powder, oregano and beaten egg. Let rise until double. Roll out and cut the size you want. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a pan, and sprinkle pizza seasoning over it; roll breadsticks in this mixture. Place breadsticks on cookie sheets and let rise again until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 15–20 minutes or until done. Breadsticks can be dipped in pizza sauce or cheese sauce when eating. Yield depends on the size of the breadsticks.

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.

 

Winter tastes like homemade soup and jerky at the Eichers

We have had quite a few inches of snow this week. Along with the snow we have also had colder temperatures. The mercury on the thermometer dipped down to 13 degrees this morning.

Yesterday daughters Verena, Loretta and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. We helped her process 38 quarts of vegetable soup. She told us to come for breakfast so we did all our morning work and headed for her house. She made Egg Dutch for our breakfast. It was delicious. My mother fixed Egg Dutch a lot. It’s a simple and easy breakfast dish.

For our lunch Elizabeth made chili soup along with crackers, chips, dirt pudding, and ice cream. We were done with the soup around 2:00 p.m. We spent a few hours relaxing and visiting with her before coming home.

Canned vegetable soup makes for easy meals and quick lunches to take to school and work.
Canned vegetable soup makes for easy meals and quick lunches to take to school and work.

Earlier in the week we processed 46 quarts of vegetable soup for us. It is so handy to open up a few quarts of soup for a meal when you’re in a hurry. It also is nice to have on hand for school or work lunches.

After we came home, Elizabeth called and said Timothy had come home from work with a cut-up foot. Somehow he cut it at the sawmill where he is working. He will be off work for a few days. It sounds like it was pretty painful last night. It’s hard for Timothy to have to take it easy! I hope it will heal fast.

Our three school-age children will be home tomorrow and Monday. It’s their midwinter break. The girls are making deer jerky, which can be time consuming. Every batch takes a few hours of baking in a 200 degree oven. We are making several different kinds, such as hickory, cajun, and jalapeño. Joe wants to make summer sausage with the venison sausage too. He will add sausage from our hogs we butcher.

The Eicher girls were busy making venison jerky this week.
The Eicher girls were busy making venison jerky this week.

Our plans are to butcher our hogs February 20 since Joe has to work this Saturday. Last Saturday we attended a funeral of a local Amish man, so we postponed the hog butchering.

Last Friday, February 5, was the birthday of Mose, daughter Susan’s friend. A happy birthday to him. Also, I want to wish my friend Ruth a happy birthday, which was on February 9. I won’t mention her age in the column but she is getting to that “over the hill” part of life. I owe Ruth a big thank you for all she has done to help me with this column and in a lot of other ways. True friends like her are hard to find.

It is a relief that all the beef is done now. Once the pork is done I hope to find time to start sewing again. I still didn’t get all the clothes sewn that were given as Christmas gifts.

I hope all of you readers are staying healthy this winter. We can’t complain too much. So far we’ve been only battling colds. I started with a nagging cough a few days ago. I’m trying all my home remedies to get rid of it, and it seems better today.

I’ll share the Egg Dutch recipe for the readers who are new to the column. God bless all of you!

Egg Dutch

5 eggs
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Put into a bowl in the order given and beat. Pour into a heated, greased skillet and cover with a tight lid. Place over medium low heat. Cut and turn when half done and finish baking. I usually put cheese on top when almost done. Bacon bits can also be added.

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.

Maple syrup spring gives way to Amish wedding season

March 31—the last day of March! Hopefully April will bring us nicer, warmer weather.

On Saturday Mose cooked up the rest of the sap into maple syrup. Our trees are done now for this year. I think we have more than a year’s supply of maple syrup now. It sure takes a lot of work and time to cook maple syrup!

The Eichers finished making maple syrup last week.
The Eichers finished making maple syrup last week.

Saturday evening we attended the annual spring program for the school. Around 40 youth were in the program. It takes a lot of work for these boys and girls. It was held at our local community building and lasted three hours. They did a good job! Everyone was treated to popcorn after the program.

Sunday forenoon Joe and I and daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina and sons Joseph and Kevin headed for Berne, Ind. Sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, her husband Jacob, and their sons, Benjamin and Steven, also went with us. We attended the viewing and visitation of a friend. Our sympathy goes to the family.

We visited with sister Liz and family at the visitation. We stopped in at brother Amos and Nancy’s house and visited with them. Our next stop was with sister Leah and Paul. We had nice visits with everybody and were served good snacks at both places.

It was good to see everyone again. We also visited with some friends, uncles, aunts and cousins at the visitation. We arrived back home around 9:00 p.m.

Daughter Verena is mopping our floors and then plans to bake cookies. Her cookies don’t last too long around here. This time she plans to make peanut butter cookies. Tomorrow she is starting a new job, so I will miss her help on the days she will work. She isn’t sure how it will work out, but hopefully she’ll like it.

Next week our four school-aged children will be home for spring break. Joe and I and some of the children plan to attend the wedding in Rochester, Ind., on Good Friday. Our blessings to Joe’s cousin Benjamin and Elizabeth. May God be their guide as they unite in holy matrimony.

Three more couples in our community have been published for May and June weddings. It looks like wedding season is in full swing.

Easter is on Sunday. Hopefully the children can color some eggs on Saturday. A blessed Easter to everyone. Let us remember what this day is about—that Jesus died for all of us so that our sins can be forgiven.

This week I’ll share my rhubarb jam recipe. I have had several requests for it, so I want to share it before the rhubarb is ready to use.

 This week Lovina readies readers for spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb jam.
This week Lovina readies readers for spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb jam.

Rhubarb Preserves

5 cups rhubarb, finely diced
4 cups white sugar
1 3-ounce box strawberry gelatin

Combine rhubarb and sugar and let stand in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until dissolved. Pour into jars and seal while hot, or freeze.

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.