Sunday, July 22, 2012

Canning Amish Hot Pepper Mustard

Amish Hot Pepper Mustard

Hot but Sweet!!! Our good garden friend Anna Gayle shared this recipe that had been given to her by her Amish friend. The best recipes are always the ones that are passed down!

I had never thought about canning mustard before until I read the recipe. I knew right away it was going to be one of those things well worth putting up. What a wonderful way to use those really hot peppers too! 

For mine, I used some Jalapenos, Serrano's and some heirloom Italians called Friariello Di Napoli. The Italians are a sweet pepper, but I was a little nervous about getting it so hot I wouldn't be able to eat it. Especially since the Serrano's had already turned red and are dangerously hot. 

After the final taste test, I saw that I had made a wise decision by adding the Italians.It turned out so delicious! You could probably accomplish the same thing by substituting a sweet bell pepper or sweet banana peppers. Keep in mind that I didn't remove any of the seeds from the hot peppers and if you had a mind to do that it would turn the heat down a bit. 

Anny Gayle warned me to try and reduce the flour from the original recipe because she thought it made it to thick. Great advice and well taken by me. Her recipe also calls for using a 32 oz. jar of mustard for the base, but I could only find it in a 28 oz. jar at my market, I scaled the recipe to fit the 28 oz. jar size as well as lowering the flour content. 

Jalapenos, Serrano's and Heirloom Italians

The recipe yielded me 4 pint jars to put in the pantry and enough extra to fill the original mustard jar about 3 quarters of the way full to stick up in the fridge for immediate use. That really turned out perfect, because I don't think between Mr. Garden and myself we would eat more than that in a years time. But, I do want to make more while the peppers are coming on and can into half pint jars for gifts this Christmas.

This is really the perfect mustard to serve with a snack tray of hard salami and cheese with crackers. It also comes well recommended with meats like ham and pork. I think it will be great used to baste a fish on the grill too.  I can't wait to try some in a pasta salad dish or even adding a pinch to my deviled eggs. 

Since I had scaled the recipe down for using a 28 oz. jar of mustard, I put what I used in RED for you. I also made a special note under the directions for those of you that might want to use a food processor.


3 Dozen Pepper for 32 oz. jar mustard (30 Hot and 6 Very Hot) (26 peppers for 28 oz.)
Leave seeds in very Hot Peppers (I left all the seeds in)
32oz. Vinegar (I used 28 oz.)
32oz. Mustard (I used 28 oz.)
5 Cups Sugar ( I used 3 3/4 cup)
1 T. Salt (just a pinch less)
2 Cups Tap Water (I used 1 1/2 cups)
1 Cup Flour (I used 1 cup and it made it too thick so next time I am using less flour)
(I used 1/2 cup flour) 


Chop Peppers finely. Add Vinegar, Salt, Mustard, Sugar. Stir well~! Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Mix water and flour in a bowl or measuring cup. Turn off heat~! Add flour mixture. Put into jars. Process for 20 minutes

I used my food processor to prepare the peppers.

 I first poured out the mustard into the pot I would be cooking in. 

I then filled the mustard jar with my vinegar, placed the lid on it and shook it up to capture all the mustard left in the jar. 

I then cut the stems from the peppers and quickly cut them into chunks. I placed all the chunks into the food processor and added the vinegar from the mustard jar a little at a time until it was all well blended. It left the peppers in very tiny pieces, almost as specs which is what I was looking for. 

Next I poured it all in the pot with the mustard, sugar and salt and began bringing it to a boil as recommended. 

While the mustard was cooking, I mixed my water and flour together to have it ready.

A special Thanks to a wonderful garden friend Anna Gayle!

Happy Gardening and Happy Canning!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Texas Walermelon Season With Homemade Popsicles

Fresh Juiced Watermelon Popsicles

We are very fortunate to live in a historical part of the country well know for the Best Watermelons grown in Texas. In1858 the Houston and Texas Central Railway was extended to Hempstead in Waller County, causing the community to become a distribution center between the Gulf Coast and the interior of Texas  Hempstead is famous for its watermelon crop, and until the 1940s the town was the top shipper of watermelons in the United States

Thyme Square Gardens "Crimson Sweet"

Coming up soon!  23rd Annual Watermelon Festival
on Saturday, July 21, 2012!
 There will be a full day of family fun for the whole family starting with a parade at 9 a.m. followed by a Queens Cornation, BBQ Cook-Off, Vendors, Great Food, Games, Watermelon Auction, Quilt show, Car & Tractor Show and Carnival. We will end the evening with a street dance at 8:30 p.m. with National Guard Member and Country Music Star Darby Ledbetter with opening performance with the Josh Ward Band. Be sure to check out the rules for the Homegrown Watermelon Contest! There is even a prize for the Youngest Melon Grower! This is a great way to help support our local community and have a family day of fun and entertainment.

 Watermelon Popsicles Ready for the Freezer

There are a Jillion ways to make Watermelon Popsicles! Anything from easy smeezy to fancy smansy are possible. Of course it all starts with a fresh, crispy, ripe and sweet organic goodness like the ones we've been blessed with straight from our garden. And nothing really tastes more refreshing on a Hot Texas July Day than icy cold Watermelon!

Processing the Watermelon can be achieved in a couple different ways. I simply ran watermelon chunks right through the juicer, seeds and all. The juicer spits the seeds on in with any little bit of pulp. If you don't have a juicer, don't worry! You just need to take the seeds out or grow a seedless watermelon. Then all that needs done is to whip it up in your food processor or blender. An electric mixer could even do a great job and if all else fails, grab your potato masher! Its as simple as that! 

If you don't have popsicle molds they can be made in paper cups or snow cone cups with a stick placed in them. My Grandchildren love the molds with the sippy straws so they can catch any melted juice.

One of the healthiest and simplest is just straight up frozen juice. I like adding a tad of lemon lime soda and a spoon of organic coconut palm sugar just to spice it up a bit. For a creamier popsicle just blend in some plain whole Greek yogurt! 

Make a whole bunch!! Put them up in your freezer and enjoy Watermelon all year!

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hugelkultur With A Willow Tree

Fallen Dead Willow Tree and Stump

What is Hugelkulfur you might ask? I'm not sure if I'm even pronouncing it correctly! But it turns out this is another really cool method of natural gardening using a form of permaculture. The word itself is actually German for "mound Culture." Let me explain further.

Here we were with a fallen dead Willow Tree, pretty much right at our back door, stump and all. It is also right smack dab in the lawn part of the yard. This might sound crazy to some, but I really hate the lawn and we've been working towards killing it as fast as nature will allow. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to do just that.

I started out by taking pictures of the mess, looking for some inspiration. I decided to post one of the photos on our Thyme Square Gardens FB page and see what kind of inspiration some of our fans might find with this Willow Tree. Everyone that posted had the same suggestion. Hugelkultur!! HA!! This is why we love all of our readers!! We just want to thank you for all of your support!!

My Mr. Garden and his artistic vision seen the curve of the tree as the perfect spot for nestling the stock tank. We use our stock tank as a swimming hole for the grand kids as well as a rain water collector. 

We decided to create another natural habitat area by simply planting up around most of the trunk with Canna Lilies that will help improve the soil, a nice Castor bean tree that will make shade and will yield us more organic matter and a bunch of 4 O'clock plants for a slash of color. 

We left the one end open where the kids are using it as a place to sit with their towels to dry off. By adding a couple of flat rocks in front it makes it easier for them to climb up into the tank.

So this isn't exactly burying the tree trunk in compost and soil. But then, we are not exactly the digging kind of folks. Especially in our hard clay soil. It will gradually decompose, but we can have fun with it while nature does its thing. The whole concept of permaculture is to work with nature instead of against it, right?

As for the tree stump, it is now a rock garden filled with moss rose. 

I have to admit it is really becoming quite a jungle out here!! But think about all that organic matter we will have to put back into the earth! We are transforming our land that was once a piney wood forest, stripped of all its trees by ranchers and farmers years ago, back into the oasis it once was. 

It takes nature time to heal, but by working with it instead of against it we can win in the end.

Happy Gardening!