Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Thursday, September 17

canned banana peppers...handed-down, tried & true

The last few days I have been in a tizzy. Webster's Dictionary is spot on when it says a tizzy is: 

"a highly excited and distracted state of mind"

Yep, that about sums it up. 

In a frenzy.

In a panic.

Riddled with guilt.

And why? Because with canning season here and the garden overflowing, I couldn't find my grandmother's recipe for pickled banana peppers...it wasn't in the spot it's "always" in. Anxiousness set in...this was her handwritten recipe, what could I have done with it? The last time I made it was for our County Fair, but I was sure I didn't take it with me to the fairgrounds.

I looked through my cookbooks...had I tucked it away? I looked through kitchen drawers...was it with other loose recipes? I called my mom...she tried to recall it from memory, but wasn't sure, and she didn't have a copy.

Feeling defeated, I decided I had to go through cookbooks again, this time not looking for the recipe card, but looking at cookbooks I had helped write. Once upon a time I was a Cookbook Editor, and surely somewhere in those dozens of books I had written, I had included her recipe. 

I sat on the floor, and began all over again. Finally I pulled my very first cookbook off the shelf, and there it was: Maymie's Canned Peppers. I was thrilled...while I still need to find that heartfelt, original recipe, I at least HAD the recipe. And so today, the canning began!

I'll share it with you, but remember, this is an old recipe...probably 80 years-old if not older. I don't claim to be an expert at perfecting the pickling salt/water/vinegar ratios, I just know that this recipe has been enjoyed for generations and it has worked just fine.

You'll also see she listed just brine ingredients. Today I picked as many peppers as I could, doubled the brine, and had some left over. I can't give you an exact count or weight of peppers...for me, that's the beauty of this old-fashioned recipe.

My grandparents in 1918

Maymie's Canned Peppers

Banana Peppers; hot or sweet

1 cup pickling and canning salt

9 cups water

1 cup distilled white vinegar

1 garlic clove, peeled, per jar

1 Tablespoon Wesson Oil, per jar

Prepare peppers...if leaving whole, cut two slits in each pepper, or you can slice peppers into rings discarding the stems. 

Prepare a boiling water bath and sterilize jars, lids and rings. If you have never done this before, please read the step-by-step instructions shared by the National Center for Home Food Preservation by linking HERE.

To create the brine, combine salt, water, and vinegar in a stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir, and simmer until salt is dissolved. Set aside, but keep to a low simmer.

Add one garlic clove to the bottom of each sterilized jar; then pack peppers tightly into jars. Slowly pour hot brine over peppers leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add Wesson oil to each jar.

Use a small non-metallic spatula or plastic knife inside the jar between the peppers and the side of the jar to remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims, apply lids and rings.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 

When I first went to look at Mae, my 1950 Hotpoint stove, the lady selling her asked if I canned...I'll be happy to tell her that today Mae and I canned for the first time and tomorrow we'll be canning tomatoes.

If you try them, I hope you enjoy these banana peppers...salty, with a hint of garlic and oil.  I'm oh-so grateful to have jars lining my pantry again! 

Sunday, September 13

happenings on the farm...

I admit it...I am finicky when it comes to the seasons. Going through a store or receiving a catalog and seeing Halloween candy in July or Christmas decorations in August just makes me crazy...I will stop, look, and then roll my eyes.

Times like those always bring to mind the quote by Jeffrey R. Holland:

"Nature has its rhythms and its harmonies.
We would do well to fit ourselves as best we can with those cycles
rather than frantically throwing ourselves against them.
be calm, be patient, be happy with the season you are in."

Well, with that being said, I broke all my own rules a couple of weeks ago. The weather had been so hot and humid and we'd been cleaning out barns and the basement and well, I snapped. I needed Fall, so out came the pumpkin-vanilla candles and pumpkin-scented hand soaps. I just couldn't help it...I was NOT happy with the season I was in!

Ahhh, never underestimate the power of fragrance...sure, it may still be hot & humid outside as harvest and canning season begins, but somehow the scent of pumpkin and vanilla help me remember that soon sweater weather, colorful leaves, and the sound of a crackling fire are all just around the corner. Ahhh... 

And so, for us it's harvest-time, I'll take you on a little walk about the farm for a peek at what's happening in our part of the Midwest...

just-picked radishes and carrots...

sage I'll dry for Thanksgiving stuffing, peppers for canning...

flowers still bursting with cheery blooms... 

tomatoes for sauces and busy bees in pumpkin blooms.

                             And somehow...our daughter turned, gulp, 20! 


Thanks to the pandemic, we celebrated in style at home...silly style, including a candy-filled pinata, musical twirling birthday candles, and a family glow-stick selfie!

And lastly, for anyone wondering about Bailey, no worries, she's fitting in just fine!

Who rescued who?


Saturday, September 5

oven-roasted tomato sauce recipe...tried & true!

The temperature this morning was 48 degrees...ahhh, absolutely perfect to me. And because we are in the heart of tomato season, and with cooler temperatures predicted, it's a good weekend for canning garden veggies!

Just in case you're thinking the same thing, I'm re-posting the recipe...

SO easy!

SO delicious!

1 - quarter as many tomatoes as will fit a 13"x9" pan.
      (no need to core or peel, just slice off the stem end.)

2 - add garlic to taste

3 - drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper; stir to coat tomatoes.

4 - place baking pan into a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes.

5 - Cool tomatoes slightly, spoon into a blender and puree. 

6 - Add 3 T.  Italian seasoning, or fresh herbs to taste 
     (oregano, garlic chives, rosemary, basil, French tarragon); blend to combine.

7 - Add a peeled, quartered onion, and a pinch of sugar; if desired.
     Blend until smooth.

8 - Spoon into freezer containers; freeze.

That's it!

You're done!

I'll also be making canned peppers...will share that recipe with you soon.

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