Sweet and Spicy Pickled Peppers




The first day of fall has hit the Midwestern region and it seems that gardens are producing a bounty of veggies that need to be picked and processed before the cooler temperatures set in.  Once again, a few local growers were kind enough to share an abundance of beautiful produce that was beyond what they could consume.  I was thrilled to see a small bag of assorted hot peppers in the mix.  The orange, red, and green, color combination would make for a beautiful display in canning jars. Because I would only have enough to fill one large jar, I decided to make refrigerator pickled peppers rather than canning them with a water bath method.  This is a quick and simple way to make the great tasting flavor of the peppers last as they sit on the refrigerator shelf and marinate in the sweet and spicy vinegar solution.  Use these peppers to top an Italian salad or to add some flavor to a grilled sandwich. Simply delicious!






Sweet and Spicy Pickled Peppers

2-4 cups sliced peppers

2 cups white vinegar

1⅓ cup water

1 tablespoon canning salt

2 tsp sugar

Canning jar(s) with tight fitting lid(s)

Wash jar(s) with warm soapy water; air dry.  Pack the sliced peppers in jar(s).  Set jar(s) aside.

In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar completely.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Pour mixture over the peppers making sure they are completely covered. Twist on a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. As the peppers sit, the flavors will develop. Store refrigerated for 4-6 weeks.





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Homemade Concord Grape Juice

Well, it’s that time of year again!  Ready for the picking are clusters of deep purple grapes hanging off of the vines in my back yard.  While the last couple of years have brought bumper crops to our lot, this year’s pickings have been a bit slim. This didn’t stop me from making a few of our family favorites…flavorful grape juice and grape jam.

There’s no greater satisfaction than to grow and process your own produce.  Several years ago I planted two Concord grape pods and they have grown to cover a large open area with a plentiful bounty of fruit.  Fresh air, rain and sunshine nourish the plants throughout the summer months until the gorgeous fruit are ready for picking.  I don’t water, fertilize, trim or fuss.  This is my kind of gardening!  The reward for leaving the plant to do what it naturally does; lots and lots of grape jam and juice that will last throughout the year.


Above is the recipe from the Ball Blue Book published by Alltrista Corporation.

Here is another method that produces similar results…
Homemade Concord Grape Juice

TO EACH STERILIZED QUART JAR
2 cups washed and cleaned concord grapes

1/2 cup sugar

Boiling water

In sterilized jar place 2 cups grapes. 

Add 1/2 cup sugar.  



Fill with boiling water leaving 1/2″ headspace. 

Seal jars at once with 2 piece lids. Process in water-bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove from canner and let sit for 24 hours.  Remove metal lid-bands, and label with date and contents.  Let juice stand 3 to 4 weeks before using. (The longer you let it sit, the greater the concentration.) Strain juice from grapes and use juice. Refrigerate after opening. 

For a great tasting homemade Grape Jam, try this Ball Blue Book recipe…



Piper’s Homemade Biscuits



We were recently invited out for a daylong boat ride during this year’s Air and Water Show in Chicago.  Everyone contributed drinks, appetizers, desserts, and other munchies.  As I prepared for the outing, I realized that our hosts would be bringing along their dog, Piper.  I quickly searched on-line sites for an appropriate recipe to make dog biscuits for our four-legged friend.  I remembered the owners mentioning that their dog liked peanut butter so I looked for recipes that focused on this crunchy treat. Here are a few of the recipes that I found…

https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/nutrition/recipes-for-quick-and-healthy-dog-treats#link2

http://www.pauladeen.com/gus-peanut-butter-dog-biscuits

http://www.rachaelray.com/2011/11/make-your-own-dog-biscuits

I decided to make the easiest of the bunch, Gus’ Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits. (I called them Piper’s Peanut Butter Biscuits.)  The recipe includes whole wheat, peanut butter, milk, and an egg.  I laughed as I shared the recipe with the owners and said that these ingredients could make a healthy snack for both dogs and humans!  For added effect, I baked the treats and placed them in a cute container with a bit of ribbon and a cookie cutter.  This way, the owners could make another batch if Piper enjoyed them.  While we didn’t feed her any of the treats on the boat ride, I’m told she found them to be absolutely delicious once she returned home.  

What any easy way to provide your dog with a great snack from your own kitchen…