Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dried Cilantro and Jalapeno Peppers

My friend, Becky, gave me a bag of Jalapeno Peppers that she and her family grew in their lovely garden. (Someday, I might be able to have an awesome garden like they have.) I was grateful to receive such a gift. I could not use all those peppers up before they would go bad, so to preserve them I either had to can (jar), freeze or dehydrate. To can them would mean more time than I had. My freezer is full at this time, thus the best option for me was to dehydrate.

I also received a large bunch of Cilantro from another person. The Cilantro is an herb that is used in a lot of Mexican dishes. I enjoy this aromatic herb in mostly Salsa. I generally make and home can all of the Salsa that we consume during the summer months when tomatoes are plentiful. So, by drying this herb I will be able to use it next summer, along with the Jalapenos to make fresh homemade Canned Salsa. Just by re-hydrating with all the other ingredients for Salsa.

How does one go about dehydrating these two items? It is really an easy process. Here goes:

 1. Wash peppers and remove stems.

 2. Cut in half and remove pith and seeds (most of them anyway).
 3. I slice mine into strips. They dry faster this way. Then place on drying rack.
 4. Wash Cilantro  and spread out onto the drying rack.
 5. Place racks into dehydrator. I turn my dehydrator on to 125 degrees for about 12 hours.
 6. After they peppers have completely dried they will shrivel up to less than 1/2 their size and be leathery.
 7. The Cilantro will be very brittle and break easily. Place rack over a towel or you will loose a lot of the herb on your counter or floor when placing in you container.
I place by dried items in extra glass jars, this way they stay moist free and last longer.

Some may wonder about the background. That is my Canning Wall where I store a lot of my Dried and Canned goods. This wall is 8 ft x 8ft x 6 in. It is on a wall in my Breakfast Room. I made it myself a little over a year ago. It really looks like an Old Country Store with all the jars and their displays of color, due to the varieties of food in them. May be some day I will post about it.

 Have you ever dehydrated anything? I would love to hear about it.  Did you know that you could dehydrate items even if you do not have a dehydrator?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Difference Between Fruit Butter and Jam?

Fruit Butter ~ Is a type of smooth, sweet, thick spread made from fruit stewed with spices and either mashed, pureed, or sieved.

Browning due to being in fridge a few days.

Fruit Jam ~ Is a type of fruit spread made with whole fruit that is cut into pieces and boiled with sugar to activate the natural fruit pectin until thick.

To further illustrate let's make some of each. First we need an abundance of fruit. I had a very generous person give me a large amount of bananas this last week, so lets use those.

Banana Butter

11 medium fully ripe bananas, might take more or less
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon fruit fresh or other brand, optional
6 cups of sugar
1 box Fruit Pectin
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Mash bananas really well in bowl. Measure out 4 cups of mashed fruit and then add to a 6 qt. heavy bottom sauce pan.

Measure and pour lemon juice and fruit preservative over bananas and stir well.

In separate bowl, measure out all the sugar and set aside.



Gather remaining ingredients. Measure and stir into sauce pan with bananas.

Stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil over high heat.

Add all of sugar at one time. Stirring well to incorporate.

 Bring back to a full rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam off with spoon.


Ladle into hot sterile jars.  Wipe rims, add lids and rings, place into hot water boil bath. Process for 10 minutes. Adding additional minutes based on altitude. See canning book or website for exact times in higher altitudes.

Banana Jam

4 cups diced firm ripe bananas
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
2 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water

(I doubled this recipe for my batch)

Add lemon juice to bowl. Dice bananas right into the bowl. Stirring so juice coats fruit.

Measure water and sugar into saucepan. Stir until dissolved.

Bring to a full rolling boil. 

Cover for a minutes or so to let steam melt sugar from sides of pan.


Add bananas and juice. Bring back to a boil.

Boil on low heat for 30 minutes. Stirring regularly to keep from sticking to pan.

While waiting for fruit to cook down, take a break.
Just don't leave the kitchen.
Check and stir mixture often to keep from sticking to bottom of pan.


Boiling down. Remove from heat. Remove foam with spoon.

Ladle into hot sterile jars.

Wipe rims, add rings.

Place in hot water boil bath. Process for 10 minutes. Adding additional minutes for higher altitudes.

Remove from boil bath and allow to cool. Listen for the "ping" as each jar seals.
Banana Butter are the jars on the left. The butter is darker because of the added spices.
The Banana Jam are the jars on the right.

So there you have it.
The difference between Fruit Butters and Fruit Jams.
They are very similar. The process is the same for most fruits
even though recipes will be slightly different.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Home Canned Carrots

Get a sizable quantity of carrots given to you by some generous person
(you know who you are)...Thanks a Million! We will be eating
on these all winter long.

1. Wash. This is only 1/2 of what I received.
I had already "skinned" the other 1/2
before I remembered to take a pic.
2. Peel or Skin carrots.

3. Slice, chop or julienne. Set aside.
4. Wash Jars in hot soapy water.
5. Rinse well and let drain. You do not have to keep them hot
unless you are going to pre-cook your carrots and pack them hot
into the jars. I do not do that step. I Cold Pack mine.

6. Fill jars with carrots.
7. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. (optional)
8. Fill with water, leaving 1 inch head space.
9. Use chop stick or wooden skewer to remove air bubbles.
You might need to top off with a little more water to keep it at 1 inch head space.
10. Wipe rims, add lids and rings, then place into Pressure Canner
with recommended amount of water for your canner.
Yes, my canners are OLD...The larger one is a Burpee Aristocrat Cooker.
The smaller one is a 1930's Kook Kwick Steam Pressure Cooker Canner.
11. Close and bring to pressure (10 lbs.) according to the directions for you canner.
Hold at 10 lbs. pressure for 30 minutes for quart jars. I did quarts.
Turn off heat, let canner pressure come down to zero on its own.
12. Beautifully Home Canned Carrots. All ready for consumption this winter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mmm, Mmm Good!

Okay, so I made a huge batch (2 gallons) of this chili and took it to an event for my work. I got soooo many compliments about how delicious it was and how the flavors lingered on the palette. There were several who asked me for the recipe so I thought I would share it here for everyone to have.

Serina's Awesome Venison Chili

Ingredients needed:
2 lbs. coarsely ground venison
2 tbsp. oil, for browning venison meat
1 lb. bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 jalapenos, chopped
2 Large green bell peppers, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
1/3 cup chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed/ground cayenne pepper (depends on how spicy hot you want it)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (I used home canned diced tomatoes w/onion and peppers)
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
6 cups water (don't add it all until you see how thick it is - if you like thick chili use less)
2 (15.5 oz) cans pinto or kidney beans (I used pinto, since that is what I had on hand)

Brown venison in a little but of oil. In separate pan, brown bacon then add jalapenos, bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic and saute' until onions are translucent. Drain both the venison and bacon/veggie mix. Combine into one pot and add all other ingredients except for beans. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add beans and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes. This makes about a gallon of what some say is the most AWESOME chili.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Goodwill Store Coupon

Courtesy of Goodwill

I love shopping at the Goodwill Store. I find all kinds of items that are in great condition and easy on the pocket book. The inventory is always changing, thus I never know what kind of bargain or treasure I will come across.

Each week they have a "tag color" (the barb or sticker) on sale for Buy One Get One Free. I have found some really great items (name brand clothes, designer purses, home decor, sheers & curtains, kitchen items, books, picture frames, furniture, etc.).

Today I received an email from Goodwill (subscribe to get email updates on their website or link to them on facebook) with a coupon attached. The coupon is for $5 off Purchase of $20 or more. The coupon doesn't expire until 10/31/10. This makes their great prices even better.

Awesome! Coupons to use at a Thrift Store. It can't get much better that this...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

U.S. Capitol Building Once Home to 4 Churches?

Check out this video...It tells of how the U.S. Capitol was used by 4 different Churches to hold services there.

Did you know that the Marine Corp used to play the Worship music for the church services?

Did you know that President Garfield was also a minister of the gospel and during his Presidential Term preached a revival and baptized 31 people?

Did you know that 29 of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence held a Seminary or Bible School Degree?

Four of the paintings in the U.S. Capitol Building depect our Nation's heritage of belief in Prayer, Bible, Baptizim and God....

It breaks my heart that we, the People, as a nation have let our governement stray us away from the Christian Heritage that our Founding Fathers built this Nation upon.

God Forgive Us!

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.         2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Deer Ones......

I love Venison!  I was raised on this low fat wild game meat. Each year I look forward to the Deer Hunting Season in hopes that I will be able to have some of this delicacy at a meal or two over the winter months. 

I know, I know some of you out there think that all deers are Bambi. I don't mean to step on your toes, but it is what it is.....Wonderful Delicious Tasty Venison.

Today my 15 yo son and his father (my ex) went out before daylight this morning to the deer woods to try and bring home a prize deer. (That would be a Buck with lots of horns, so they can have bragging rights with all their buddies.) This was the first year that Kendall, my son, would be "hunting" by himself. Sitting up his own spot and being on his own to watch for, listen to, and read the signs of the deer in the peaceful woods.

Well, he surprised all of us. Not only did he get a Doe, but he also got a 5 point Buck. He said, "I even had to shot them left handed, because they were on the opposite side of the tree and he couldn't get  turned enough to use his dominate hand. I did not want to scare them away by moving."
Kendall, the Buck (L) and the Doe (R).
He was so excited. He called me to tell me about them. I initially did not believe him, because he sometimes jokes with me. But he said, "Honest Mom. I got two so you better get your supplies together we will be packaging meat later, as soon as we turn the tags in." That is when I got excited. He was bringing both of them to my house for our freezer.  Woo Hooo!!! Venison and lots of it.

We will be able have deer steaks, deer roast, deer burgers, deer chili, deer ?.....and this should last us nearly all winter. Thank you Lord for providing once again the needs and desires of our hearts!

Now to just get it all cleaned, cut up, ground up, packaged, labeled and put into the freezer. 

Oh, Kendall has talked about this all day long.....He is on cloud nine, ten, and eleven.

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