Category Archives: Jams and Jellies

September Brings Baptisms, Birthdays, and a Recipe for Hot Pepper Butter

September has arrived already. How can we be in the ninth month of the year already? 2023 is flying by much faster than we want it to. This week I have lots of tomatoes to put into V-8 juice. We are out of V-8, so we will be glad for a fresh supply. We also want to can hot pepper butter and serrano peppers. Nephew Benjamin and Crystal brought supper in Friday evening and brought us a pint of fresh hot pepper butter and a quart of salsa with the meal. We are already almost done with the hot pepper butter. It is good on a slice of homemade bread with tomatoes sliced on top, or on scrambled eggs or haystack meals (lots of ingredients piled onto a plate).

Friday, September 2, was the 18th birthday of the youngest of our eight children (Kevin). Happy birthday, Kevin! That is also hard to think of, that he’s that old already. I baked him a cake, but nothing fancy like daughter Lovina makes. He didn’t care that it tasted better than it looked. Haha!

On Sunday, our church was well attended. Many friends and family gathered in honor of the three young souls that were baptized. Son Joseph and daughter Lovina were among the three. When we moved to Michigan nineteen years ago, Leroy was our bishop, but then the church was divided because of the growth and we had another bishop, then again later on through the years. Leroy and Clara were such a help to us and welcomed Joe and I, with our six young children. Then, shortly after our move, I ended up in the hospital with complications and had Lovina by emergency C-section. After a week in the hospital, we could finally come home, and Leroy and Clara were among the first to come see baby Lovina. Now, nineteen years later, Leroy baptized her (and Joseph), and that was special to me.

Brother Albert and Sarah Irene, and their son Marvin and Lori and their three sons, came here after the baptismal services to visit and enjoy some popcorn. We wanted them to stay for supper, but they had a driver and are from another community, so they didn’t.

Son Joseph bought chicken to grill for supper Sunday night. He invited friends and family, with the total being around sixty people. I made a pot of chicken noodles, and they also grilled small red potatoes from the garden. Everyone brought food in as well and the table was loaded with more than enough food. We all sang “Happy Birthday” to Kevin.

September 10 will be granddaughter Abigail’s seventh birthday. She is a joy to have around and is quite the talker already. She made Joe and I grandparents for the first time. She wants craft items for her birthday, too, so we will get her the same gift we gave Kaitlyn.

Yesterday (Labor Day), Dustin, Loretta, Denzel, and baby Byron (four weeks) took Joe and I along on their pontoon to the lake. We spent the afternoon on the lake. Joe and Dustin did some fishing but the fish weren’t biting much. Denzel enjoyed being on the pontoon and looking at the water. Last time he was on the pontoon he couldn’t walk. Now he walks all around, looking into the water. He especially liked when the motor was running and the water was splashing out the back. Byron ate and slept mostly, and we kept him shaded from the hot sun. It was a warm day. I must get busy. God’s blessings to all!

Hot Pepper Butter
40 hot peppers
6 cups sugar
1 quart vinegar
1 pint yellow mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups water

Grind peppers and mix with the sugar, vinegar, yellow mustard, and salt. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup water, then slowly add to above mixture. Boil 5 minutes or more. Stir often to keep from sticking. Put in jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Note: Canning times are subject to change according to USDA regulations. Please check with your county extension office.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here

Midnight Delivers Her First Foal

This column will wrap it up for June 2023. Another month down in history. What did I accomplish? Not nearly as much as I had anticipated. Life gets so busy but let us take time from our busy lives and remember to thank God for the many blessings he bestows upon us. Our great and loving Creator and Comforter!

It’s 6:30 a.m. and a foggy morning. We received a half inch of much-needed rain. The grass was brown and is looking greener already. It has been very hazy this last while. They say it is from the Canadian wildfires. The sun looks so red at sunset from the smoke. I hope they will get the fire under control soon and that everyone will be safe.

After I get done with this column, I want to go get some rhubarb in. Daughter Lovina mixed up a batch of monster cookies yesterday and is getting ready to bake those. I want to bake some pies.

Next week is already the Fourth of July.

Our horse Midnight had a little colt on June 22. He is a nice lively one with three white feet and one black. Midnight is a good mother and very protective of her foal! This is the first foal she delivered, so we were very thankful everything went well for her.

Son Benjamin is training his two-year-old horse, which is the daughter of his other horse Beauty. He named her Star since she has a little white spot on her head. We can’t use Midnight until she can be away from nursing her colt, so Benjamin let Joe and I use his horse Beauty to go to church Sunday. Beauty is a good horse and has put in many miles. Midnight and Beauty are half-sisters on one side and also related on their mom’s side. They were born a month apart here on our farm in 2015. I love watching the little foals run in the field. This little one has very long legs.

Sunday church services were held at the house of daughter Verena’s neighbors. After lunch, our whole family, sister Emma’s whole family, and sister Verena all spent the afternoon at daughter Verena’s house. Verena made popcorn and set out snacks for us all. It was enjoyable.

Grace and Daniel (Joseph and Lovina’s special friends) were our supper guests. I made BLTs for supper, but I also fried eggs to go with that. I fry the egg until the yolk isn’t runny so it can be put in the BLT sandwich.

Last Thursday, Ervin and Susan and I cleared out everything from the upstairs bedroom at daughter Verena’s house. Ervin took it all over to their place. Verena made lunch for us so we could keep working. They are so relieved that it is now all at their place to sort through. It all takes time.

Michael and Rose Ellen had a nice wedding day. Their menu included dinner rolls, strawberry butter, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, grilled chicken, salad, peanut butter pie, pecan pie, fresh fruit mixture, and candy bars. I will share a recipe for strawberry butter, although I’m not sure this is the recipe they used at the wedding.

God bless!

Strawberry Butter
6 large fresh strawberries (stems removed and room temperature)
1 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup powdered sugar


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

An Update on Daughter Susan

It is time to get this column written and on its way. Although the mercury on the thermometer is already up to 79 degrees, a breeze is coming in the windows. Yesterday was different and much warmer, and there was less breeze with higher humidity.

Daughter Elizabeth and Tim and four children and daughter Loretta and Dustin were here for supper last night. Daughter Lovina made a taco supper for everyone. That is a nice meal on a hot day. Of course, with ice cream afterward. Elizabeth said when two-year-old Allison heard they were coming, she said, “I’m excited to go to Grandpa and Grandma’s.” Her blond hair and blue eyes have such a sparkle to them. She’s little but mighty, and nothing stops her from doing whatever her older siblings do. Tim’s double buggy, which we call a surrey, is being repaired so they brought their two-seated open wagon. As warm as it was, Allison saw her daddy (Tim) put on socks, so she thought she had to also wear socks.

Our family had a very nice time camping for three nights at a local campground. Lots more memories were made.

Sister Verena also went with our family to the campground. Our cabins had AC, so I think she enjoyed that on the hot days.

We all gathered at our cabin to have brunch together in the forenoon, then again for supper. Lots of s’mores were made later at night while sitting by the campfire.

Daughter Susan, 26, is dating a 28-year-old widower now. Ervin has three children and lost his wife Sarah to cancer three months before Mose died. Ervin and Susan have found comfort in each other, and both went through a lot of grief losing their first loves. Their friendship with each other seems to be strengthening. They both know how it is to be a single parent with children.

Ervin is a nice man and a good father to his children. Susan’s children and Ervin’s children blend well.

We have grown attached to his children Kaitlyn Rose, five; Isaiah Edward, four; and Curtis Dale, two. They are so sweet and easy to love. Kaitlyn and Isaiah both remember their mother. So when Ervin and Susan get together, they have two two-year-olds, two four-year-olds, and a five-year-old. Not a dull moment.

Mose and Sarah will never be forgotten, but we do know they will never come back. We do not always understand God’s ways, but we know his ways are not always our way.

I am glad to see Susan laugh again and live life. With God as their guide, I wish the couple his many blessings.

Susan has met Sarah’s family and appreciated the support they offered. This can’t be easy for the families of Mose and Sarah, but hopefully they can all accept the new partners they have and wish them a good future together.

Ervin lives in a community 45 minutes from here. He lives with his parents so his mother can take care of his children while he works. Ervin has plans to move to our community here in Michigan in the future.

With Ervin’s three children and our six grandchildren, there were a lot of little ones five and under at the campground.

If there are readers out there that have lost a partner and remarried, I am sure Susan and Ervin would enjoy hearing from you.

Susan wants to thank all of you readers for all the encouragement and gifts, money, etc., that have been a great help to her with no income since Mose died. You have no idea how this helped her be able to keep up the payments on her property and be able to stay living there.

Daughter Verena also helped move in with her and the children and was there when she needed support when night times became harder. Jennifer’s, four, biggest concern about Susan having a friend is that she wants Aunt Verena never to move away. She has grown so attached to Verena and shares a bedroom with her. She loves when Kaitlyn comes, though. God bless!

A reader requested a dandelion jelly recipe so that they have it for next spring. Here is one to try.

Dandelion Jelly
1 quart dandelion blossoms
1 quart water
1 package fruit pectin
1 teaspoon lemon extract
4 1/2 cups sugar

In the early morning, pick blossoms without stems attached. Boil blossoms in water for 3 minutes. Drain off 3 cups of liquid. Add fruit pectin, lemon extract, and sugar to the drained liquid. Boil for 3 minutes. Put in jars and seal according to guidelines provided by your local extension office.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Putting up freezer jam, Virginia visitors, and a young overnight guest

Another hot week in July! Last week we had over an inch of rain but it didn’t cool off much.

Today son Kevin had a therapy appointment so I took him to town. With the heat I didn’t want to take the horse and buggy. Our friend Beth took us.

The photo caption should read: Using no-cook pectin allows freezer jam to be prepared without any cooking–an especially welcome option on hot July days.

We put 12 quarts of strawberries into freezer jam. Still need to get more, as we all love strawberry jam. I use the no-cook fruit pectin so there isn’t any cooking involved.

When we were almost done our friends Ray and Lucille from Virginia stopped by for a visit. We knew they would be stopping by so we were trying to have the jam done before they came. We still had some left to do and the women pitched in to help us. Ray and Lucille brought three other couples along. They are Old Order Mennonites, and it’s always interesting to compare our customs and communities. We served them popcorn, peanut butter swirl bars, and fresh lemonade and were rewarded with gifts from Ray and Lucille. The cheese and peaches were much appreciated. They milk cows and their milk goes to this cheese company. We sure will enjoy it. As always, we enjoyed the visit from them.

On Sunday, son Benjamin had his 20th birthday. Our family gathered at daughter Susan and Mose’s for a birthday supper for Benjamin. With the evening being hot we ate outside on the newly built deck. The deck and ramp were built one day by my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, sons-in-law Mose and Timothy, and Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin. They did some fast, good work. The ramp makes it so nice for the girls and Kevin to use instead of steps. Little Jennifer loves to run up and down the ramp.

Our 26th anniversary was on Monday, July 15. We kept the three grandchildren here in the evening while Tim and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan ran some errands. It’s always fun to have them here.

Tim and Elizabeth came for supper tonight. With it being so hot the girls made supper out on the grill, which helped keep the house cooler. Tim and Elizabeth will leave two-year-old Abigail here for the night. She is excited to stay and has her little overnight bag. She showed me her little toothbrush. She wants to sleep upstairs with the girls. They are much more fun to her than Grandma—smile!

Tomorrow is Tim’s 94-year-old grandmother’s funeral. She leaves to mourn her children, 67 grandchildren, 255 great-grandchildren, and 30 great-great-grandchildren, if I have it correct. A lot of the family is in this community, so the funeral will be largely attended, I’m sure. It sounds like it will be another hot, humid day. Tim and Elizabeth decided to leave Abigail here instead of taking her to the funeral. It was a little hard for them to leave without Abigail, but she never changed her mind and wanted to stay the night. She told Elizabeth to not be sad, “because you still have baby T.J. to hug.” T.J. is seven months old today and is such a lively, happy baby.

We received our new Michigan Amish Directory, which is so interesting to look through. The directory is renewed every four years. Michigan now has 47 Amish communities, with two being in the Upper Peninsula. It is always interesting to look through the updated information. It also says in these 47 communities that there are a total of 114 church districts and 2,673 households. In 1975 there were three Amish communities in Michigan and six church districts and 127 households.

It is later in the evening now. Abigail brushed her teeth with daughter Verena and went up to bed. She is settling down well and happy to stay all night here. I am ready to call it a day as well.

Good night to all, and God bless!


Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup water, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin
1 quart (4 cups) stemmed and sliced strawberries
1 (9-inch) baked pie shell
Whipped cream or topping

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup water with the cornstarch. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and slowly add the cornstarch mixture. Cook until clear. Remove from heat and add gelatin. Allow to cool. Add sliced strawberries. Mix to coat. Pour into baked pie shell, then add whipped topping.

Note: Peach pie can be made in this same way. Substitute peach gelatin and 4 cups sliced peaches.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Apple-butter-sweet memories in times of loss

It’s a beautiful Tuesday morning with a lot of sunshine. How we treasure mornings and days like this. We didn’t wash laundry yesterday due to the dreary, rainy weather. Now today we were blessed with a nice day to dry the laundry. This afternoon I will take son Kevin for his therapy appointment and get some groceries while I’m in town.

Last week Joe’s Uncle Phillip was laid to rest, and now we receive the sad news of another family member that passed away. My Aunt Lizzie, age 85, died yesterday forenoon, and her funeral will be held on Thursday in Bryant, Indiana.

Aunt Lizzie was my mother’s only brother Chris’s wife. Uncle Chris and her son Danny preceded her in death. She leaves to mourn nine more children, 73 grandchildren, and 99 great-grandchildren.

I have so many memories of Uncle Chris, Aunt Lizzie, and family from my younger years. We would help each other with hog butchering, putting up hay, and so on. And every year we would make gallons and gallons of apple cider at Uncle Chris’s house. The evening before we would all gather around their big kitchen table and peel apples for apple butter day the next day. Uncle Chris would cook down the apples in his big outdoor copper kettle, making the perfect-tasting apple butter! The apple butter would be processed into canning jars, and everyone took their share home. In my growing-up years we always had a dish of apple butter on the table. Apple butter sandwiches were also a snack we would have when coming home from school hungry.

It takes many hands to schnitz—peel, core, and slice—enough apples for apple butter. Apples, cider, and sugar are traditionally cooked in a kettle over a fire for many hours until the mixture is reduced to a thick, creamy consistency. Photo Credit: Grant Beachy/©MennoMedia

Another fond memory I have of Uncle Chris and Aunt Lizzie is driving with them to church with their team of horses and their big bobsled. They would come driving in on a cold snowy Sunday morning on their way to church and take our family along. Uncle Chris would be standing in the front driving the team. He would always wear a long black wool overcoat in the winter. Bales of straw were stacked on either side of the bobsled where my mother, dad, Aunt Lizzie, and all of us children snuggled under big buggy robes to keep us warm.

After Joe and I were married, Uncle Chris and Aunt Lizzie would stop in for a short visit if they were driving by. Aunt Lizzie was always more quiet but always friendly. She will be missed by many. Our sympathy goes to the family. How well I know what they are going through to be without parents. God helps us through these trials of life.

My sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob, brother Albert and Sarah, and Joe and I have plans to all drive together to go to the funeral. I am so glad that we have others to go along with us so the cost isn’t so much. Traveling to Ohio alone was quite expensive, but we want to attend the funerals if we can to show our support. God will bless us in another way if we do a good deed.

We enjoyed helping to package 7,000 gift/care packages last week for the Christmas Behind Bars program. For over three hours we filled bags. The care packages usually include Bibles, devotional books, hygiene items, and snack items. After the bags were filled, they were all loaded into a semi-trailer ready to travel south to a prison. If I remember right, I think they said Alabama. It was a good experience for Joe and I and the children. So often we get busy with our own lives and don’t take time to reach out to others.

Apples destined to be cooked down into apple butter—the perfect sandwich spread for an afternoon snack. Photo Credit: Grant Beachy/©MennoMedia

This week I am sharing the recipe for cider apple butter that is in my mother’s words, so it might not be a recipe you will make in that amount, but for sentimental reasons I felt led to share it with you readers. God bless!

Cider Apple Butter

12 gallons schnitz apples*
20 gallons cider
12 pounds sugar

Makes 9 gallons apple butter. It takes 2 bushels of apples to schnitz the 12 gallons. Greens are good for cooking but McIntosh apples seem to cook up better.

*Schnitz refers to peeling, coring, and slicing apples.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

God’s blessings as we travel into the unknown future

Where should I begin? This week is going much too fast for me.

Friday and Saturday were spent helping out at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. The tent was set up and benches set up under the tent. Friday was Elizabeth’s birthday, although she didn’t take much time to think about it.

Benches set up for Sunday services. After the service, the benches serve as tables for the lunch meal. Photo credit: Grant Beachy/©MennoMedia

Sunday morning brought many visitors from other church districts and communities. The tent was filled to capacity. After the services the benches were used to make five tables to serve the meal. The tablecloths were rolled out on the tables; glasses, coffee cups, and silverware were placed at each setting.

It was Father’s Day, and I hope all fathers out there had a nice day with their family. In honor of Father’s Day, ice cream was served to everyone after the lunch. On the menu for lunch were homemade white and wheat bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, ham, pickles, pickled red beets, hot peppers, fresh garden lettuce, strawberry jam, butter cookies, and coffee and iced tea (also made fresh with tea leaves from sister Emma’s garden). Popcorn was served as visiting was done, and the dishes were washed and packed up to put back in the bench wagon for the next service.

Sunday evening we received the sad news that my husband Joe’s Uncle Phillip from Dundee, Ohio, had passed away. Phillip’s death was a shock to all of us. He was never married but left to mourn many siblings and nieces and nephews. Phillip was a brother to Joe’s dad. They were 17 siblings, with Phillip being the sixth one laid to rest. Phillip, age 67, enjoyed spending time with family and friends and fishing trips to Canada. Rest in peace, Uncle Phillip! You will be greatly missed.

We spent several days in the Sugarcreek, Ohio, area and attended the viewing/visitation on Tuesday and the funeral on Wednesday. Joe’s sister Esther and brother Benjamin both live in that area, so we got to visit with them. Also his sister Carol from Tennessee and his sister Loretta from Michigan and their families. And many uncles, aunts, and cousins of Joe’s were there. I met some more of my readers and appreciate the encouragement! We arrived home last night.

This morning seems hard to get started after all the traveling, but I need to make a salad to take to the visitation/viewing of a man from our community. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are taking a dessert. I will drop the food off on my way to town for son Kevin’s therapy appointment. I won’t be able to stay and help, as we already have plans to help package gifts for the Christmas Behind Bars program.

The wagon loaded with benches for the Sunday service. The wagon travels from home to home as families host Sunday services. Photo Credit: Grant Beachy/©MennoMedia

We will travel to Shipshewana, Indiana, for this with other members from the community that are also volunteering to help. Joe and I, sons Benjamin, 19, and Joseph, 16, and daughter Lovina, 15, will go along to help.

The girls will have granddaughter Abigail here today, which they will enjoy. Daughter Elizabeth is going to a workday at Tim’s sister’s house. Not having to keep an eye on Abigail, 2, will let her get more work done. Abigail is at the age where she can be in one place one minute and in another so fast.

It is another rainy day here in Michigan. We have had so much rain. We saw a lot of flooding while traveling. Makes us appreciate the sunny days so much more. I need to get busy. There’s much to do, and time does not stand still.

I want to wish all of you God’s richest blessings as we travel into the unknown future. As the minister at Uncle Phillip’s funeral reminded us, death is final, and there isn’t any limit to how young our age is when our time here on earth is done. Let us pray for one another and for peace in the world! Take care!

Try this version of rhubarb jam. It has pineapple added to it. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Jam

4 cups chopped rhubarb4 cups sugar
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (6-ounce) package strawberry-flavored gelatin

Bring rhubarb, sugar, and pineapple to a boil in a saucepan. Boil gently for 12 minutes. Add gelatin and boil for 1 additional minute. Place into sterilized jars and seal.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

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




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