Category Archives: Canning & Freezing

Concord Grape Jelly


food 029

This recipe must be shared. It really must. It is really cool and really good. No pectin needed AND it uses equal parts of sugar to fruit juice. Which is still a lot of sugar, but many jams/jellies we make have MORE sugar then fruit.

Have you had concord grapes before? If not, let me tell you a bit about them. They are grapes. Tho not like the grapes we buy from the grocery store. They are purple, a deep purple. The skin is a bit thicker then regular grapes, the inside is like the inside of a regular grape, sorta. Tho these guys can be crazy tart, you might just make that pucker face. Apparently you can eat the seeds, tho my throat will not let me.  Well ~ that is my non-professional explanation of them. Oh yeah, you will most likely be able to find them at farm stands and farmers markets this time of year, perhaps into October yet.

Back to the jelly. It is like the stuff we buy from the store. But so much better. I do not buy grape jelly generally (unless those fabulous meatballs that call for it are on the menu!) ~ we just don’t really like it. But this ↓ stuff is sooooo good. IF you like pb&j (ugh…) you should try this, if you like toast you should try this, if you like to eat jelly by the spoonful you should try this…….maybe you should just try it!! 🙂

~Before beginning, take the grapes off the stem and wash them.
~ A FINE mesh strainer is very important for this recipe, regular noodle strainers will let too much grape skin or seeds pass through.
~ Do make your batch bigger then 4 c. juice and 4 c. sugar, if you have more than 4 c. juice ~ just make a whole separate batch.
~ The batch I made was 3 1/3 c. juice and 3 1/3 c. sugar and it yielded me about 5 1/2 pints of jelly.

Concord Grape Jelly 

8 c. concord grapes
3-4 c. sugar

Heat the grapes in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. When the 5 minutes is up, pour the grapes into a FINE mesh strainer, over a bowl! Press the juice out, leaving the skins and seeds behind in the strainer. Measure how much juice you have and add back to the sauce pan, then add an equal amount of sugar. (example ~ 3 1/3 c. juice and 3 1/3 c. sugar! easy peasy!)

Bring the juice/sugar mixture to a boil, a full boil, and boil again for a full 1 minute. Carefully pour into jelly jars, cover with top and ring. Then process for 10 minutes. Take out and let set (without moving) for 24 hours.


Recipe adapted from Prized Recipes to Cook and Savor Cookbook


The Foamy Cleaner & Canned Tomatoes


“Back to School” also means “Back to Business”. The “business” of Fall Cleaning and Canning!  I like to “fall” clean/organize instead of “spring” clean. SO, since fall is a wink and a blink away, it seems like a good time to share a cleaner “recipe”

Here is a cleaner, I like to use. It came from either “ask Heloise”  OR from the “Amish Cook” column from the newspaper. I read it years and years ago, before it really ment anything to me and now it comes in handy!!! (often.)

food 1068

(NO before and after picture, as I am pretty sure there is NO room for a toilet picture on a food blog.)

This will spruce up and freshen up your toilet real nice, use it around the bottom, on the hinges of the seat (remove seat for best results) and the part of the bowl were the water comes out.  A little goes a long way, too much and you will be scrubbing gritty paste away for a little while.

This cleaner also works great around your faucets and anywhere where there is hard to reach places to clean. Use it to freshen up the drains in the kitchen and bathroom as well!

The Foamy Cleaner

equal parts water and baking soda
splash of vinegar

Mix together the water and baking soda, as much or as little as you need. Mix to form a paste, the consistency of toothpaste. Brush paste on the areas you want to clean. Let set till dry, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle or spray with vinegar, add enough vinegar till it foams. Let set another 5-10 minutes. Wipe clean with a damp cloth (may need to wipe it a few times) and dry with a dry cloth.

Happy “Fall” Cleaning!

On to some food.

Canning. Do you enjoy canning??? It can (pardon the pun…) be a chore, but a rewarding one at that. If your garden is giving you a lot of tomatoes and you don’t want to make sauce or salsa……. just can TOMATOES. Use your canned tomatoes in place of store-bought diced tomatoes. You will need to drain it a bit (just as you do the store-bought).

If you prefer not to use all the onions, peppers and celery that is fine. I just find it add nice flavor and I usually add those veggies to my sauces anyway.

food 1067

Canned Tomatoes

about 20 medium tomatoes
1 c. diced celery
2 c. diced onion
2 c. diced green pepper
2 TB. sugar
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
good dash of garlic powder

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place the tomatoes (a few at a time) in the boiling water, boil for about a minute ~ then take tomatoes out and place in a sink of ice water. When cooled down a bit,  peel ~ the skins should come right off. Cut the stem out as well. Cut the tomatoes up into bite size pieces.

Add the remaining ingredients to the tomatoes in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer about 10 minutes. Carefully pour into pints or quarts and process. 10 minutes for pints, 15 for quarts.

Recipe yields about 5 quarts (give or take).

Candied Jalapenos


food 1070

My family really REALLY enjoys these jalapeno peppers on nachos, tacos, sandwiches, salads, etc. They are sweet and very spicy. IF the sweetness is too much, just pat them off a bit.

Now, I do have some tips. Really just “don’t do what I have done” tips.

*First off, be sure to put your patient pants on for these. Lots of slicing, lots of seeds flying, lots of canning jar wiping, lots of finger burning…..which leads me to the next tip.

* PLEASE wear gloves. I know I know. I am telling you to do something I never do. I reek. I paid. My. hands. burned. (literally) for about 10 hours yesterday. From holding all those peppers, my left hand was ON fire for a long time. PLEASE wear gloves. THEN my lip began to burn………

* PLEASE do not remove contacts anytime around the time you have cut jalapenos. I removed mine at LEAST 10 hours later and this morning, when I put them BACK in. OUCH.

Just a few more tips….

* Take out as many or as little seeds as you want, you can remove them all if you wish, I leave about half in. See picture ↓ below. I take a paring knife and cut out about half of the white middle and whatever seeds come out with that chunk. It still leaves plenty o’ heat, but it can be tolerated.

food 1069

* There will be extra juice, I do not save it, but if you want to then click on the link below ~ she saves hers and has some other uses for it.

Candied Jalapenos

Yield 9 ~ 1/2 pints. 

5 lb jalapenos
2 c. cider vinegar
6 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. celery seed
3 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Trim off the stems of the jalapenos. Remove as much or as little of the seeds, I like to remove about half of the seeds. Slice into 1/4″ rounds.

Mix together the cider vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery seed, garlic powder and cayenne. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and bring back to a boil, simmer for 4 minutes.

Pour peppers into a strainer SAVING the juice!!!! Bring the juice BACK to a boil, boil for 6 minutes. Pack the peppers into canning jars (I like to have the jars soaking in hot water for a little while, then dry off). When the juice has boiled, pour CAREFULLY over the peppers (I like to use an 8-cup measuring cup with a spout) .

Wipe the rims and sides of the jars. Top with lids and rings on top, screw on. Process for 10  minutes.


Recipe adapted from Beth’s Favorite Recipes.

Apple Butter


food 338

I was first introduced to Apple Butter years ago during a trip to Shipshewana, never thinking it was something I would make. I wasn’t sure if Apple Butter was a type of butter or jam…..a taste told me that it was like a jam, a cinnamony apple jam ~ almost like applesauce. My friend shared this recipe on Kat’s Kitchen and I gave it a whirl. Yum.

I do not enjoy it with peanut butter and bread, but that is cause I just don’t. like. PB & J. period. Not a fabulous combination, though I know I am in the major minority with THAT opinion!!!

I DO like it on a toasted piece of  “sturdy”  bread and then top it with deli sliced turkey and some cheese (mozzarella or cheddar or pepperjack) and then broil that till melted and browned. (Don’t knock it TILL you try it, I probably did  my mock gagging move the first time I heard about this…..WAY back in my less mature days of course 😉Now it is a very favorite lunch of mine!)

* I like to cook this over night, so I do not stir it the hours that I am alseep, cause….well….I am sleeping and it turns out fine.

* As you can see from the above picture that I left SOME apple chunks in, but mostly made it nice and pureed. Really just go for whatever consistency you like. I used my emersion blender for this, if you use a regular blender then please blend in small batches. Or leave it more on the chunky side!

* I used pumpkin pie spice the first time I made this as I had no cloves, which the original recipe called for, I liked the flavor of pumpkin pie spice ~ if you don’t like that flavor or you don’t have pumpkin pie spice then use  this exact recipe.

* I DO realize this is a very fallish recipe. BUT it can made it every season, so here on this VERY summery day is a wonderfully fall recipe!!

Apple Butter 
5 1/2 lb. apples ~ peeled, cored and chopped
2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
Combine all in a crock pot, cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Then turn to low and cook for 9-11 hours, try to stir 1 – 2 times, though if you make this overnight, don’t worry about it ~ it will be fine. Uncover and cook on low for 1 more hour. Blend, in small batches,  to the consistency you like, then put back in the crock pot and  cook on low for a few more hours to thicken up a bit more (mine was quite thick, so I skipped this last hour or so of cooking). Cool and store in containers, put one in your fridge and freeze the rest. Enjoy.

Recipe from Kat’s Kitchen.

food 339

Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Apple Butter.

Raspberry Jam


Two things. 
1. I have found COLOR!!! Brace yourselves…….
2. A few of my friends have said they had trouble “following” favoritefamilyfoods, they signed up ~ but never received the e-mail updates. Sad. If this has happened to you, sorry. You can also “like” here on Facebook ~ and there I will give a notification of a new recipe posted….that way you do not have to miss any recipes! 
3. I know I said two…..3. THANKS as always for reading. 

My favorite jam is raspberry jam. I would pick seedless, IF I can pick. So when I saw this recipe in an old church cookbook  (sorry, no clue the name of it) ~ I knew I had HAD to try it!!! My curiosity was 100 times increased when I saw the main ingredient….green tomatoes!!! WHAT else are you gonna do with those babies at the end of the season?!?!?

* Don’t expect the taste to be “smuckers” or anything, I mean we are talking about raspberry jello here….but it got 2 thumbs up from those I shared it with!! AND passed the kid test when they had it for breakfast on english muffins. 

* The jam will NOT thicken up till 100% cool, don’t be nervous that it failed….just give it time. (This jam is NOT super thick, it just “THICKENS”…..) *UPDATE* A few days later I took the jar out that was in my fridge and it had thickened more!! Yeah!

* I liked this on English Muffins.  I will NEVER try it with PB&J, not my thing….ugh.  It might not be thick enough for that….but PLEASE if someone does try it, let me know how it is!!!! (Thanks.)

* I doubled this recipe and it  yielded me ~ 3 cleaned  sanitized peanut butter jars full and 1 cleaned sanitized maraschino cherry jar full. IN CASE you choose to store yours another way….though I have no IDEA why you would 😉 ….. I would guesstimate this DOUBLE batch equaling about 8 cups.

* This recipe can also be canned. Just put in your canning jars, twist on the lids and process for 15 minutes. 

Raspberry Jam 
2 c. pureed green tomatoes
2 c. sugar (can use 1 1/2 c. for less sugar)
1 pkg. raspberry jello (the 4 serving size box)
Combine the pureed tomatoes and sugar and bring to a full boil, add the dry jello powder and bring BACK to a full boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Put in your freezer safe jars of choice (not glass..I used one glass jar cause I wanted it RIGHT in the fridge to eat RIGHT away). Let cool all the way. It will set with cooled. Freeze. Spread on toast or english muffins or those things called PB&J’s. Enjoy.

Recipe from a delightfully old church cookbook.

Pepper Jelly


THIS STUFF IS FANTASTIC.  It makes for delish sandwich spreads, makes for delish appetizers (when poured over cream cheese and served with crackers), it makes for delish main dishes ( a recipe or 2 to follow….some day), it makes for a delish dip with crackers or pretzels. PROMISE me you will make this or buy some next time you are in Shipshewana, please? I do not think you will regret it!!

* IF your jelly does not set up, just put the sealed jars in your pantry. You can still use it, it will just be a bit more liquidy, still having a delicious flavor. I had a batch that did not set, I put it away and a few weeks later ~ they had SET up!! (This recipe makes more of a “thickened “jelly” then a “firm” jelly, which makes for good dipping.) Fun.

* Yields about 3 1/2 pint size jars.

Pepper Jelly     
1 1/2 c. red bell pepper, chopped finely
1 1/2 c. green bell pepper, chopped finely
1 c. jalapenos, chopped finely
1 c. apple cider vinegar
1 box of Sure Jell
1/2 tsp. butter
5 c. sugar
Combine the peppers, vinegar and sure jell. Add the butter too, this will help it not to foam up. Bring to a full  boil, stirring always. Add the sugar and stir well, bring back to a FULL boil, stirring always. Boil for a solid minute. Stirring constantly or it may burn. (Skim off any foam there might be.) Put into pint size jars. Process 15 minutes.

Recipe from Kelly.

Here it our favorite way to serve pepper jelly, with cream cheese and crackers.

Avocado Ranch Dip, Yellow Summer Squash Relish & Whole Grain Waffles


Aldi Sales for the week of Sept. 12-18.

Sorry for my lack of Aldi “recipes” this week. I only have one to share. That is Avocado Ranch Dip. I also wanted to share a canning recipe, it IS harvest time!!! 🙂 Also, school is back in session and I know that it is important to give those kids a good hearty breakfast so they have energy for the day of school ahead of them.  So look for those recipes here too! I hope you enjoy!(~ and missed me  recieving new recipes a little bit during my “break” from the computer, I am happy to be back at it!!!)

* Avocados are $0.49 each. A recipe using avocados coming up…..
* Roma Tomatoes are $0.69 for a 1 lb. pkg. I like to use Romas A LOT. Here are some of the recipes I like to use them in.Pico de Gallo (grab some avocados and you can make quac too….) (I know I am a broken record when it comes to guacamole, saying over and over that it is good ~ but really, it is fantastic and a great side to tacos!), BLT Dip,  Grilled Veggies and remember that Romas are great on sandwiches and pizza too!
* Mangos are $0.59 each, they are not only delicious as a snack but also in Ranch Chicken Wraps.

I recently saw this recipe at Beth’s Favorite Recipes. It jumped out at me and I had a ripe avocado just waiting to be used, so I made it and we had it for lunch and it was very good. It does get brownish after a day or so ~ I had a feeling that would happen so I halved it. I think it would be a nice sandwich or tortilla spread as well.  I did not have chives, so I left those out as well. Check the recipe out here! I hope you enjoy too!

My family in a family of pickle eaters, they enjoy relish too ~ so I knew that this recipe would be a fun one to try out. Not only is it delicious but it is also pretty in the jars. This is an easy canning recipe, not too intimidating ~ just remember that it DOES start the night before, ELSE you might just be disappointed when you go to make it one morning and realize you CANNOT cause you should have started the day before……

* I used a mixture of zucchini (about 2 cups) and yellow summer squash (about 8 cups). IT made it really pretty.

* Please do not use any bowls or cups or mugs that you REALLY love, cause the tumeric WILL turn those things yellow….I now have a lovely 1/2 yellow 1/2 white mug that I am pretty sure will either be really COOL to drink out of or be the one that everyone avoids….

* This yields about 6 1/2 pints.

Yellow Summer Squash Relish
10 c. shredded yellow summer squash
2 large onions, chopped finely
2 large green  peppers, chopped finely
6 TB. canning salt
4 c. sugar
3 c. apple cider vinegar
1 TB. celery seed
1 TB. ground mustard
1 TB. tumeric
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. pepper
Combine the 1st 4, mix well and chill overnight. In the morning drain well, rinse, drain again. In a large pot mix together the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add the squash mixture and bring back to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Ladle into pint size jars and process for 15 minutes. Allow to set on your counter for 24 hours. Check to see if they all sealed. IF any did not they need to go in your fridge to be eaten right away, the others can go in your pantry to enjoy all winter long. Enjoy.

Recipe from Country Women magazine.

If you like waffles, you will like these. They cook up nicely in the waffle iron and are  good for you! Top with your choice of waffle topping~ syrup or butter, powdered sugar, whipped cream or strawberries ~ however you top it, it should be a hit!

Yields about 6 waffles, so we always double.

Whole Grain Waffles
1/2 c.flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1 TB. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 c. milk
1 TB.oil
1 egg
Heat your waffle iron. Whisk the egg, oil and milk together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix just till combined. I usually let the mixture set for about 5 minutes.  Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and cook according to your waffle iron’s instructions.  Enjoy.

Recipe originality unknown, a recipe I have been using for years.