Canning with the Mennonites

 Canning with the Mennonites

What do you learn when you can with old world Mennonites? First you have to have the courage to ask them to teach you, that’s hard enough. Walking into the local Mennonite owned farmers market to ask if someone can teach you  to can you have to wonder what they are thinking of you. Silly English woman doesn’t know the basic stuff about a kitchen, her mother must not have taught her anything. Well at least that’s what I figured was going through the young women’s head as I stood there.  Just two weeks earlier I had walked into a Mennonite owned bakery not far from my home to ask if anyone could hem a dress for me, which turned out nice too. So I was hoping that I would have a similar experience.  The young lady took my name and number and said she would ask around and get back to me. About a week later I got a call from a wonderful older woman who was willing to teach me.  We started with salsa, she grew the tomatoes herself and we used Mrs. Wages salsa mix for the rest because she said when she makes it from scratch it doesn’t taste as good.  She showed me how to blanch and peel tomatoes and that plumb tomatoes are the best for canning.  She showed me how to scald the jars and set up your water bath canner which she just uses a pressure canner without the seal. As we worked we talked about gardening, children, family size and what all I wanted to learn about. She had nine children only one of whom still lives at home. This turned out to be the nice young lady from the farmers market I spoke to a week earlier. She used to can a lot more when all the kids were still at home now she only does a few things.  We talked about gardens, I went on about mine explaining that this was my first year and it wasn’t nearly big enough, she talked about hers which was huge but provides for her family and some of her children’s families that share the same property. She mainly tended the flower gardens now and left the food growing, up to the younger people. We found we have more in common than we thought; we have the same views about TV, and cooking from scratch and living a more simple life when you value the land.

A mini lesson in patients

A mini lesson in patients

 As wonderfully delicious as it smells you can’t drink it before it cools or you get burned. This applies to our lives in many ways, you don’t always get physically burned but there are always consequences for impatience. For example if you lose your patience with you child you will have the consequence of a grumpy baby.  Have you ever tried to rush through baking? You end up with an underdone mess. The main issue here is to be patience and wait stop trying to rush though life and enjoy what each day brings like the cup of coffee in the morning it’s worth it.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

2-3 medium acorn squash

1 pound sausage

2-3 apples peeled, cored and cut into small chunks

½ large onion chopped

½ cup plain bread crumbs

½ cup maple syrup (pancake syrup will work too)

 

Cut squash in half turn upside down and place on greased cookie sheet

Bake at 350 for 40-50 minute

Brown sausage

Add apple and onion continue cooking until onion has gone translucent

Add ½ the maple syrup and all the bread crumbs

Remove from heat

Turn your cooked squash over and drizzle syrup over the halves then stuff with sausage mixture.

Drizzle any remaining syrup over the stuffed squash

Cover and bake at 350 for 20 min.

 

 

Cookies – Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin

Cookies – Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin – Grandpa’s Favorite       TWC

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter (with salt added) – softened

1 cup firmly packed light Brown Sugar

2 Eggs (medium)

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

¾ cup all-purpose Flour

¾ cup White whole-wheat Flour

1 ½ teaspoon Baking Soda

½ teaspoon Salt

3 ½ cups Rolled Oats (instant/quick oats)

1 ¼ cups (1/2 box) or ½ pound Golden Raisins*

¼ cup Orange juice (with lots of pulp)

 

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt; mix well.
  5. Stir in oats; mix well.  (By hand or power depending on mixer capacity – very stiff.)
  6. Add raisins and orange juice; mix by hand until raisins about evenly distributed.
  7. Drop by slightly rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets (dough is quite sticky).
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes (until just beginning to brown – bordering on not fully cooked by touch test)
  9. Cool at least a minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 5 dozen.

*Substitute regular raisins, chopped nuts, chocolate chips or butterscotch morsels, or mix as desired.

Cookies freeze well.  Thaw in refrigerator.  They store well in refrigerator too.

 

CookiesOatmeal.

Cookies – Lemon Squares

Cookies – Lemon Squares                                                                            NCC

 

6 Tbsp   Butter

½ cup Sugar

¼ tsp Salt

1 cup Flour

Cream butter, sugar, salt – beating until fluffy

Add flour

Put dough in bottom of 8 x 8 x 2 pan

Bake at 350 for 15 min.

 

In meantime:

2 Eggs beaten

¾ cup Sugar

2 Tbsp Flour

¼ tsp zest of Lemon

3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

¼ tsp Baking Powder

Beat 3 minutes

Pour over baked layer

Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 min. more

Cool

Cut into squares

CookiesLemonSqr.

Cookies – Hungarian Butter

Cookies – Hungarian Butter                                                                        TWC

 

1 cup Butter, softened

2/3 cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 tsp Vanilla extract

2 ½ cup All-purpose flour

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp grated Lemon zest

Chopped Walnuts

Apricot preserves

Powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar

Beat in egg and vanilla

Add flour, salt, lemon zest and mix in

Chill dough

Divide in two

Roll out thin

Cut equal number of disks and rings (donut cutter with and without center)

Bake at 375 for 8-10 min. on greased sheet

While still warm, place ½ tsp preserves in center of each disk

Add ring

Sprinkle chopped nuts on preserves

Sprinkle powdered sugar on top

Finish cooling

 

CookiesHungBtr.

Cookies – Golden Lemon Bars

Cookies – Golden Lemon Bars                                                                   LHC

 

1 ½ cup Flour

½ cup Margarine

½ cup Brown Sugar

Combine with pastry blender and pour into 9 x 13 pan – press evenly

Bake at 275 for 10 min.

Filling:

2 Eggs beaten

1 cup Brown Sugar

2 Tbsp Flour

½ cup Nuts (if desired) chopped

½ tsp Baking Powder

¼ tsp Salt

½ tsp Vanilla

Beat well, pour over baked pastry evenly

Bake at 325 for 15 – 20 min.

Remove from oven and glaze with mix of:

1 Tbsp Butter melted

2 Tbsp Lemon juice

1 cup Powdered Sugar

Cool and cut into small bars or squares

 

CookiesGoldLem.

Oh Bats!

Oh Bats!

We have a beautiful little Brown living in our garage. Whenever I go out there I look forward to seeing him (I don’t know its gender but I have been calling him a boy). After discovering him I decided to learn a little more about bats. Bats come out at night and hunt insects. They like aquatic insects which mean they eat mosquitoes. We have a small pond on our land which most likely attracted him here in the first place. Bats are the only mammals capable of flight. Some species of bats live up to 30 years.  Generally bats live in cave or other dark places so in this case our garage works out well for him.

Cookies – Fruit Squares

Cookies – Fruit Squares                                                                                                NCC from an old Pillsbury Cookie Book

 

Filling:

1 ½ cup cut Prunes          or 1 ½ cup Raisins             or 1 ¼ cup chopped Dates

½ cup Sugar                        or ½ cup Sugar +               or ½ cup Sugar +

¼ cup Flour

½ cup Water                       or ½ cup Water                 or ¾ cup Water

1 tsp Lemon rind

¼ cup Lemon juice

½ cup Nuts

Combine in saucepan stirring until thick [implies with heat]

Set aside

½ cup Butter

½ cup Brown Sugar packed

¼ tsp Salt

1 cup Flour

¾ cup Rolled Oats

Cream butter and sugar

Mix in dry ingredients

Set aside 1 cup for topping

Press remaining crumb mix to 9” square pan

Spread filling

Sprinkle with reserved topping, press lightly

Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 min. to light brown

Cut 24 squares

 

CookiesFruitSqrs.

Cookies – Dolly Bars

Cookies – Dolly Bars                                                                                       LHC

 

¼ lb. Oleo

1 cup Graham cracker crumbs

1 cup Coconut

1 cup (or less) chopped Nuts

1 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 cup Chocolate bits

Melt oleo, add each ingredient one at a time, stir well

Spread in greased 7 x 11 pan

Bake at 350 for 20 min.

Cut in squares

So easy, but rich

 

CookiesDollyBar.