Archive for September, 2011

Images sent to  Amish Stories from  reader Lissa Holder of  California who ordered a home canning kit not long ago and seems to be well on her way to successfully canning her very own fruits and vegetables.  I will be now trying to post some pictures from  my readers who have something that i think would  be of interest to everyone, so if anyone makes something like a quilt for example or if your a guy who loves working in your wood shop and making something with your hands ill consider posting that on Amish Stories. Thank you Lissa and please  keep us posted on your progress. Richard
Some canning history : In 1795 Napoleon offered money to anyone who could find a way to preserve foods for his troops. Nicholas Appert of France found a way to preserve food in jars sterilized and sealed with pitch, and had a vacuum-packing plant by 1804. This process was a military “secret,” but by 1810, Peter Durand of England had a patent for tin-plated iron to use in “canning.” Canned rations were on the field at the Battle of Waterloo. In 1812, a small plant in New York produced hermetically sealed oysters, meats, fruits and vegetables in cans. Durand introduced his can top America in 1818. Henry Evans patented a machine that made the tin cans, increasing production from 5-6 cans to 50-60 cans per hour. In 1858, American John Mason invented the now famous glass jar for home canning. By the 1860’s, the process time had dropped from six hours to 30 minutes, making canned foods commonplace. In the heating process, the sterilization destroys bacteria and enzymes that can cause spoiling, and the seal prevents new air or other organisms from entering. Published with permission from Amish country news. Richard from Amish Stories

 Apple Butter and Jelly From Jean  
In either of the following recipes Jean recommends the following apples: Cortland, Jonathan, McIntosh, York Imperial, Beacon, Rhode Island Greening or Rome Beauty.  These recipes have been cut down from her original recipes as they were much larger.
Apple Butter
4 quarts sweet apple cider  (Jean makes her own, but you can buy it grocery stores)
3 quarts pared and quartered cooking apples (about 4 pounds)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Heat cider to boiling in 5-quart Dutch oven.  Boil uncovered until cider measures 2 quarts, about 1 1/4 hours.  Add apples.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until apples are soft and can be broken up with a spoon, about 1 hour.  Press apples through sieve or food mill to smooth the apple butter.
Stir in remaining ingredients.  Heat to boiling; then reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until no liquid separates from pulp, about 2 hours.  Heat to boiling.  Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Wipe rims of jars.  Seal and process in boiling water bath 10 minutes.  Makes about 3 1/2 pints.
Apple Jelly
Heat 4 pounds apples (about 18), cut into fourths, and 5 cups water in boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until apples are soft, about 20 minutes.  Strain but do not press pulp through strainer.  Strain juice through 2 thicknesses of cheesecloth.
Mix three cups apple juice and 3 cups sugar in Dutch oven.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat.  Cook until candy or jelly thermometer registers 220 degrees; remove from heat.  Quickly skim off the foam.  Immediately pour jelly into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe rims of jars.  Seal jars. Makes about 4 half-pints jelly
Jeans says:
When I do it-first we make the cider.  Then I have kettles outside in a wood, cobblestone building that David’s Dad added on to one of the barns where it was Outlawed to have fires in the open (except barbeque).  Usually my mother, David’s Mother , sometimes the grandmother’s and Martha get together.  The apples come in the back of wagons. Most of them are from our apples, others are what we purchased from other farmers.  I have kettles for cooking and for straining. Also I have a stove and sink where we can sterilize the jars. We start cooking in early morning and go on until dinner time.  One of us breaks to make lunch .  We take a lunch break and then get back cooking.  We stop when it is time to go home and cook dinner.  This goes on every day except Sunday for a week and a half or two weeks.  We make over 1000 jars when we get done.  At the bake sale people buy both the butter and the jelly. We give some to the sick or housebound.   Also, we give them as gifts at Christmas-and of course many are for our houses.  Most of them are sold though. 
If we get around to building another house David would make this building separate from the barn. Neither his father or himself were firemen when that building was built.  They didn’t think of what would happen if that building ever caught fire.  It never has, but it would be better by itself. 
Hope you enjoy the recipes.  Jean

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.
We had been following Hurricane Irene in the local newspaper. When we realized it was heading out way, we knew we had to harvest what we could save before it hit. David and Michael got our tractor and went over to my parents and David’s parents first. Our tractors are steel wheel tractors, When we go on the road we attach rubber across the steel. It is our way that when things like hurricane Irene are coming to help others get their crops done . Our parents were starting theirs, David and Michael came and other farmers knowing they would need help also came. Most were Mennonite, but the Amish also came. After our parents farms, all those willing to help made up a list of those that they knew would need help and went from farm to farm to help. When it seemed that Hurricane Irene was coming the next day, I gave Michael permission to go to the attic and turn the television on to see what the news said. When he came down he said, it was coming our way and could be a direct hit. The people working kept going from farm to farm. They didn’t get to our house until the night before Irene was to hit. They started ours. David’s grandmother was here taking care  of the children, keeping the coffee pot full and sandwiches on the table. She also kept an ear on for the phone in case any emergency came in. David, and the other farmers went out to the crops. Susan and I were pulling up everything that we could save from the garden. After working for quite a while, I realized that Michael wasn’t there. I checked the house, the barn, the field where the men were and I couldn’t find him, I told David. So  David said that Michael wasn’t here long enough to run away he had to be here somewhere. We hadn’t had any disagreements that would upset him to leave yet. I went into the attic to see if he was watching the television. He wasn’t there. Went in the basement he wasn’t there. David’s grandmother hadn’t seen him. I was on my way to see David in the field about calling the police when I passed the barn and out came Michael and a couple of his friends. They had cleaned out the barn. When I looked for Michael in the barn I just opened the door and looked- in I didn’t say anything so Michael thought I was getting a tool out of it. He and his friends were in the back and it was sort of dark-I didn’t see him. David had said before they went from farm to farm that he wanted to clean the barn before the Hurricane came, but he worked in the fields so Michael took it upon himself and friends to clean the barn. He said that was something he learned in his previous foster home especially after he ran away. So the horses and cows were in a clean barn during the hurricane. We got ours done and people were starting to go home when Grandma came out the door and said we had one more to do, The young Amish couple whose house we had built. They had come and helped. Their house was on a list to do, but some how got crossed off but hadn’t been done. So everybody went to their house. Grandma with Michael’s help backed the coffee urns, ice tea , sandwiches, and desert in the buggy. Took Susan, the two babies and moved over to the Amish house. Grandma walked in and took over her kitchen commenting on what a beautiful new kitchen it was. As the Amish don’t have electric Grandma made hot coffee before she left our house so both the urns were filled with hot coffee. The Amish have gas refrigerators so she put the ice tea in there. They set up the table for people to come in and grab some food. The young Amish lady is with child and She is due in January, but she is very large-much larger that she should be. Her doctor tells her she is having one child. Grandma laid her hand on the ladies stomach and said the doctor doesn’t know what he is talking about. Grandma says it is at least twins. Grandma does not believe in witch medicine or fortune telling or anything like that-but she does have a way of telling of babies. Just by laying hand on she knows. As long as I have known her she has never been wrong in how many or in telling if its a girl or boy. Also, the Amish man said the crop was ours and David kept saying it was his. When we sold the property the crop was planted. David told the young couple that property was theirs-the crop on it was theirs. The Amish wanted us to keep it, Finally David just gave orders to put it in the Amish barns to all the workers no matter what he said. They were really appreciative of the crop, but felt it was shorting us. We tried to explain that it wasn’t. We made our money when they paid for the land. We hope we convinced them. We got everything done about 1:00AM. After we all had something to eat and drink in their house we all prayed that God would watch over and protect us, our neighbors, property, animals and crops. Our household got up in time to go to meeting (church) in the morning. It was very windy, but we made it to. After service we went home. We lost some of our crop that wasn’t ready to be harvested. Also, I lost some of the fruit and vegetables out of our garden that wasn’t ready to be harvested. Some of the glass windows on our green houses got broken. Michael and David had to empty one of the green houses into the other two as it had several windows broken. Some trees and limbs fell. We thought the house roof had been damaged, but it wasn’t. We came through pretty well. The glass in the green houses is replaced. The trees and limbs have been cut and moved. We did lose some of the crops, and garden, but nothing that was a great loss. What we are concerned about now are the apple trees. We did lose lots of apples off them because of the wind. We hope there weren’t enough lost to hurt what we make a year. That would hurt the apple butter, cider, apple dumplings, pies, apple sauce, etc. that we make and sell each year. If it does, God will take care of us. David said we couldn’t have made it through this with out Michael. He was a hard worker and did jobs without being told especially cleaning out the barn. Every morning and evening Michael helps David with milking the cows, feeds the animals and more. He brushes the horses, hooks up the buggy and more. He is going to be starting school September 6th. David and Michael both wish he didn’t have to go to school, but he must. Amish and Mennonite get along and help each other in time of need. When they were deciding who needed help-there was no Amish, Mennonite or even outsider considered different than anyone else. Anyone that needs help gets it. Since the Amish have moved in here, I have never seen them refuse help to anyone that needed it. They, like we, don’t care if it is Amish, Mennonite or Englisher-they help anyone. We track weather in the newspaper and on the phone. If someone Amish or Mennonite does not have a phone and we feel they should know about the weather-we go to their house and tell them. News travels fast here. Be with God. Jean             
Jean’s Quick Pudding Pies

Buy instant (non-cooking) puddings in whatever flavor you would like. Also buy or make a graham cracker pie crust. You can use either 2 1oz puddings or 1 3.4 oz pudding. If you are using 2 1oz puddings you will need 2 3/4 cup milk. If you are using 1 3.4 oz pudding you will need 1 3/4 cup milk.

In a large bowl put the pudding and milk. Mix for one minute. Add 1/2 of an 8 oz Cool Whip and mix until Cool Whip and pudding are mixed together. Pour into the graham cracker crust and refrigerate for an hour or two. You can use the other half of the Cool Whip as a topping on the pie when serving or to make another pudding pie.

These pies are quick and during these hot months you don’t have to use the stove oven to heat up the kitchen. I have sold these pies at the bake sale. As soon as I set them out they sell. I don’t put the Cool Whip on the top at the bake sales so people can see what flavor they are even when they are marked. In this weather I would advise you not to take these pies in an area where it is really hot as they can separate if you don’t eat them right away in 80 degree heat.

When I make banana cream I cut up a banana and put them on the bottom and sides of the graham cracker crust before I pour the pudding over them. I have made this pie in chocolate, banana cream, butter scotch, pistachio, white chocolate, devil’s food, oreo, vanilla and more.I have never had one of these pies not sell nor have I ever had a complaint. My family likes dark chocolate the best. Great for your home, bake sales, church socials, gifts and more.  Enjoy. Jean

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Since 1900, John Copes Toasted Dried Sweet Corn has been a unique and favored family tradition rich with Pennsylvania Dutch history. Although available since the 1900’s, John Copes Toasted Dried Sweet Corn gained popularity during President Eisenhower’s term of office. Legend has it that it was a popular ingredient for meals served in the White House. Today, John Copes product graces countless dinner tables year round and is a favored Thanksgiving tradition for many.

Chicken & Corn Pie
Pastry for 2 crust 9” pie
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
¾ cup chicken broth or milk
1 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1 15 oz can Cope’s Heat & Serve corn
¼ cup chopped green pepper
2 cups cooked boneless chicken

Line a 9” pie plate with pastry. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat to stir in flour. Add milk slowly, stirring until smooth. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. To thickened sauce, add salt, pepper, drained corn and green pepper. Put half of the chick in the pastry lined pie plate. Cover with corn sauce, then another layer of chicken. Cover with top pastry and seal edge. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees and then reduce heat to 325 and bake 30 minutes. Serve hot. Posted with permission from   Richard from Amish Stories.             
 Dont miss a new post from Jean this Tuesday along with one of her homemade recipes!

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Images from Ohio sent to me from reader  Mary Brandenburg. Thank you Mary for these great pictures from your trip to Holmes county. If anyone has any pictures from their trips to an Amish settlement please feel free to send those and i will try and post them on Amish Stories.  Richard

                 Jeans homemade potato pancake recipe.

Jean says: She has two ways to make potato pancakes. One is the fast way. The fast way is when making mashed potatoes for dinner-she makes extras for pancakes the next day.

Fast potato pancakes-Mashed potatoes (6 potatoes)
1 egg
3 tablespoons flour
salt to taste
1/3 cup onion (if desired)
1/4 cup butter (for fry pan or skillet)

Put all ingredients together except butter in bowl and mix (I use my hands). Shape into patties. Place in 1/4 cup hot buttered or greased fry pan or skillet. Cook over medium heat, turning once until golden brown.

Jean’s from scratch making potato pancakes.

2 pounds potatoes (about 6 medium) boiled, and shredded
1 egg
1/3 cup finely chopped onion (if desired)
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup margarine or butter

Beat egg in small mixer bowl until thick and yellow colored. Mix in potatoes, onion, flour and salt. Heat margarine in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until melted. Shape potatoes mixture into 8 pancakes: place in skillet. Cook over medium heat, turning once, until golden brown.

Richard from Amish Stories.

Watch for new recipe’s from Jean for Next Tuesday and Wednesdays post!

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The Amish Cook

Editor’s comments: I love the way Lovina describes the children’s eyes “lighting up” when they see candy bars being passed out at a wedding….in our electronic-saturated society, something as simple as candy bars don’t often have the same impact on non-Amish children.  
And, grape pudding?  Sounds interesting! I told Lovina to see if she could procure the recipe for me so I can share it with all of you! – Kevin Williams, Editor
Today, September 12, is Jacob and Emma’s oldest daughter Elizabeth’s 15th birthday. She is done with her school years now and Emma is glad to have her help at home.  We are getting back into the school routine.  Listening to the younger children read their books and helping the older ones with their homework is mostly how we spend our nights now.  
Kevin, 6, seems to be handling the full day of kindergarten well.  Needless to say it doesn’t take him long to fall asleep when bedtime comes.  On Thursday I will take Verena to the hospital to get her cast removed.  After 5 weeks she is more than ready to have it off.  She has it covered with a lot of signatures. 
 After a cloudy morning the sun came out on Friday making a nice wedding day for Glenn and Miriam. Miriam is a girl from our church district, but she and Glenn plan to make their home in a neighboring church district now.   The wedding services were held on one end of a new large pole building.  On the other end,  tables were set to serve the dinner.  Their wedding dinner menu consisted of homemade bread, butter, and strawberry jam, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, meatballs, corn, pasta salad, angel food cake, pumpkin and peanut butter pies, and grape pudding.  Candy bars were also passed around.  It is always interesting to see the little children’s faces light up when they see the candy bars come around.
We plan to do laundry today.  We had rainy weather the latter part of last week so we couldn’t get our laundry done.  I usually try to do a laundry twice a week.  But today we will have an extra large laundry because of last week’s rain.  The sun is shining and it looks like a very nice drying day.
Saturday we assisted Emma and Jacob with their work.  Church services will be there next on Sept 25.  Joe and Jacob and the boys hauled manure all day while the girls and I and Emma cleaned her basement.  We cleaned all her canned jars of food and washed off the shelves and so forth.  The girls and I plan to go help again this week.  Joe is on 4 day weeks at the factory now so he will be home on Friday.  The last week in September he doesn’t  have any work so maybe he will be able to get the garden tilled while he is home.
I still have red beets that I need to pull and make into pickled beets.  We still have tomatoes, peppers, and popcorn but otherwise my garden is pretty much history for 2011.  This is the first year we have tried growing popcorn, so we’ll be interested to see how it turns out.  My jalapeno and serrano peppers are still doing well so I want to make homemade hot pepper butter soon.  I won’t add as many hot peppers as the recipe calls for so that it is not too hot for the children.
We ordered our coal for the winter.  Joe wants to get the coal stove hooked up again for when the cold weather sets in.  One morning last week our thermometer showed 45 degrees, so winter is on its way.
 The mornings are cool and the heat from our propane lights feels good.  Another job that needs to be done soon is making grape juice.  I need to call the local U-pick orchard to see when the grapes will be ready to pick.  We are almost out of rhubarb  juice so it will be nice to have homemade grape juice on hand.  Another refreshing drink we look forward to each fall is cider.  Cold cider and popcorn is always a favorite around here.  I need to get busy, it is just too nice outside to be sitting in the house writing.  There is also plenty of work that needs to get done.  
God’s blessings to all.
I made this cabbage soup last week so I will share the recipe
1 large onion, chopped
1 nice head of red cabbage, shredded
1 to 1 1 /2  pounds browned and drained hamburger
1 can red kidney beans
1 quart tomato juice
Salt, pepper, and garlic and seasoning salt to taste
Combine ingredients in a deep pan and simmer for 1 1 /2 to 2 hours covered. The longer it simmers the better it tastes. If you want to you may use half red onion and half yellow onion and you can use half red cabbage and half green cabbage to give it a great look and texture. reprinted with permission from Richard from Amish Stories

New post on Friday from Ohio’s Amish settlement along with a homemade potato pancake recipe from our own Jean.

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The origin of the name “egg cream” is constantly debated. One theory was said that they used grade “A” milk calling it a chocolate A cream thus sounding like ‘egg’ cream. Stanley Auster, the grandson of the beverage’s alleged inventor, has been quoted as saying that the origins of the name are lost in time. One commonly accepted origin is that “Egg” is a corruption of the German (also found in Yiddish) word echt (“genuine” or “real”) and this was a “good cream”. It may also have been called an “Egg Cream” because in the late 19th century, there were already many chocolate fountain/dessert drinks using actual eggs and Auster wanted to capitalize on the name.
Author of the book Fix the Pumps, historical look at soda fountains, Darcy S. O’Neil claims that the “New York Egg Cream” is a variation of the original milkshake served at soda fountains throughout America in the late 19th century Around 1885 the milkshake became a popular item at soda fountains. Unlike today’s thick, ice cream like consistency, the original milkshakes were made with sweet cream (sometimes frozen as “ice cream”), a whole egg, flavored syrup and soda water. The egg, cream and syrup were shaken in a cocktail shaker until light and frothy, then poured into a glass where the soda water was added.
The Egg Cream was most likely a version created to keep the price low, as most soda fountain items were sold for 5 cents. As eggs and cream became more expensive they would be removed (eggs) or replaced (cream) with milk leading to what we now know as a New York Egg Cream.
Sociologist Daniel Bell claims it was invented by his Uncle Hymie, who owned a candy store on Second Avenue in New York in the 1920s.

Original Brooklyn Egg Cream

2 cups milk
1/2 cup seltzer (from a pressurized bottle)
1/4 cup chocolate syrup

Pour 1 cup of the milk into a 12-ounce glass. Top with a spritz of seltzer so that the white foam reaches the top of the glass. Place a spoon in the glass. Pour 2 tablespoons of the chocolate syrup into the glass, hitting the bottom of the spoon if possible, and stir with quick strokes to blend the syrup into the milk without deflating the foam. Repeat to make another egg cream.

Serve immediately.

 Egg cream recipe posted with permission from  Recipe Goldmine. Egg cream information from Wikipedia.  Richard from Amish Stories.

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

I asked Jean to tell how she felt during the Sept 11 attack from a plain persons eyes, this is her story…………….  The day that 911 happened, 10 years ago, was like any other day. At the time David and I were married almost five years, we had no children, and were, as now, in the farming and dairy business. We had read of wars in foreign countries, but our country had not been in war so far in our life time. We were born after the Vietnam War or at least when it was ending. We knew our soldiers were defending ours and helping other countries-but we were not at war. David and I were just finishing breakfast when the phone rang-Martha was on the phone and told us about the two planes hitting the World Trade Center. She explained that it was done on purpose to us by another country-but at that time they didn’t know who it was. As we live in New York State and the World Trade Center was in New York State it shocked us-not only because it happening to our country, but also in our own state. New York City is about 300 miles from where we live. I called my parents and David called his, they too were shocked this was happening in our country. I can remember the last thing my Dad said in the phone was: “Pray.”

I was getting upset so David took my hand and we prayed for our country, the people in the World Trade Center, the people defending our country and more. Shortly, Martha called again and said someone had hit the Pentagon. David and I prayed. Later she called and told us about the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. After prayer David and I wanted to know more about what was happening. We did our daily chores and later in the day we started talking about getting a television. We wanted to see what was happening. It is against the Old Order Mennonite church to own a TV, but we were young. If we were our age or had one or more of our children, we would never have gotten it but David called a driver and went into  Canandaigua and purchased one. We hooked it up and turned it on. It was horrible. This was really  happening, and  we couldn’t believe it. We wished we could go to New York City to help the people. There are some things you forget, but some that you don’t. I can’t remember what we ate that day, what chores we did, or much else except our praying, but I do remember the Bible Verses David read that evening at prayer-it was St. Matthew 24:6-7: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.”

Then I realized I shouldn’t be upset as it is explained in the Bible. These are to come before Christ returns to this earth. People have been speaking to us about religion or wanting to know about our religion and they ask when do we think Christ is coming or that the earth will come to an end. We refer to St. Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” So when someone gives a date as to when Christ is coming-we don’t pay attention to them. They don’t know and we don’t know. Only God, the Father knows. We should live as though it was ending today as we never know the time that we shall go. Whenever it is God’s will we will leave this earth.

At the church service on Sunday, we were told that we would be having a collection for the Mennonite Fund that would be used to help the workers, the families of those that went (passed away), and more. Men from our church came around and collected whatever we wished to give. We were given a leather bag and we could put our money or a check in. Unless we give a check, no one knows how much anyone gave. It is between us and God. Word spread to other  Mennonites and outsiders came with checks, or money. People we didn’t even know pulled up to our house and gave us money for 911. All the money went to our Mennonites in New York City for the people. We later found out  that the money was used for meals for those working at the World Trade Center, medical care, places for the workers to sleep, meals for those that came looking for people what were in the World Trade Center, and lots more. We had one of our missionaries from New York City come and tell us of where our money went. The stories she told were heart breaking. To believe this is happening in our country.

We felt so sorry for the families of the police, firemen, and people that were killed in World Trade Center. As for the TV we still have it. We use to have it in our bedroom and use it for either the 6 or 11 clock news until we saw Susan watching it ,  now it is locked in the attic.

Now as we look in our times we see things different than before. 911 is still in our minds and we still think and pray about it. It is something we will never forget……….            Be with God. Jean
To donate to help finish the flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania please go to

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