Lovina’s Amish Kitchen: It’s time to harvest the garden
Canning season is still in full swing around here.
Yesterday after doing laundry, I helped daughter Loretta make Thick and Chunky Salsa (recipe below). We canned 20 pints for them. On Saturday, I also helped her and Dustin can 30 quarts of V-8. She still wants to make pizza sauce.
I came back home around 5:30 p.m., and supper had been brought in here for Dustin and us from a church family. How nice to not have to make supper after a long day. Son Joseph took some over to Dustin’s for their supper. A potato / meat casserole, mixed vegetables, fruit jello and cookies were on the menu.
Daughter Verena came home for the night, so she joined us for supper. I was glad to see her again and to catch up on visiting. She still lives by herself but has Ervin and Susan close by.
Verena has a special friend now, and I wish her God’s blessings as she travels into the unknown future. Of course she has to make it confusing and also date a Daniel. Haha! Daughter Lovina’s special friend is also named Daniel, so we need to figure out a way to name them differently, other than their second or last names.
This afternoon, we will take care of 14-month-old Denzel and 5-week-old Byron while Dustin and Loretta have dentist appointments. Verena will be here to help. She enjoys spending time with them.
I am hoping to can some more V-8 and a batch of salsa for us this week. I still have pizza sauce left, so I won’t do that this year.
It is 5 a.m., and my husband Joe and our sons Benjamin, 24, and Joseph, 21, left for work already. Loretta and her two little ones should be here soon. Dustin will work up until it’s time to go to their appointments.
Loretta is here now. She’s on the recliner feeding little Byron. Denzel is sleeping in the playpen. It is 5:30 a.m., so they should sleep several hours yet. I might take a nap until daylight after I get this written. Usually I read until I fall asleep. After the morning rush, it’s nice to take a little break.
Friday night it’s our turn to host family night. We furnish the ice cream, and the rest of the family brings in supper. I enjoy these nights. Once a month we get together taking turns to host it. October family night will be at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house.
Next week will be autumn already. The garden is clearing out fast, with only peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and muskmelon still in it. I brought in a few muskmelons and want to cut them up to see how they taste. I usually don’t grow any but was given some plants.
I need to work on my upcoming cookbook, too. Daughter Lovina is typing it for me. I was excited to see the cover. There is a lot of work and thinking involved in making a cookbook, but it’s always exciting once the first copies come out. This is the third book I will have. I was co-author in some others that are mostly going out of print, but these last three are the ones I did along with my family’s help. God bless!
Thick and Chunky Salsa
14 pounds tomatoes, scalded, peeled and chopped
10 green bell peppers, chopped
5 cups onions, chopped
2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons cumin, optional
10 tablespoons Clear Jel
3 cups water
In a large pot, mix the tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, jalapeno peppers, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, oregano, chili powder and cumin. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a separate bowl, mix the Clear Jel and water until dissolved. Add the Clear Jel mixture to the pot and cook for 5 more minutes.
To can the salsa, ladle into hot pint jars, leaving haf-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with a dampened paper towel. Adjust lids and process in a boiling-water canner for 20 minutes.
The salsa also may be frozen for later use. If you are making a smaller batch to eat rather than to can or freeze, cool to room temperature and serve.
Makes 10-12 pint jars.
Note: Clear Jel is a type of food starch you can purchase to use as a thickening agent in canning recipes. It thickens food evenly (without lumps) even when cooked at high temperatures in the canning process. You can find Clear Jel at bulk food stores and online.
Canning times are subject to change, according to USDA regulations. For the latest canning times, check your county extension office or the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.
Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight who lives in southeastern Michigan. Her newest cookbook, “Amish Family Recipes,” is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at P.O. Box 234, Sturgis, MI 49091 (include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply), or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.