Monday

Canning Hot Peppers

Most years we go through our garden fresh peppers pretty quick and never seem to have enough peppers. We use them on sandwiches, to make appetizers, on pizza and subs and as the main ingredient for Stuffed Hot Peppers.

So this spring I planted extra pepper plants.  Now, near the end of summer, I have such an over abundant of hot peppers I decided to can them so we have a supply this winter.

Peppers are also great as added heat or flavor booster in many dishes, soups, stew, in breakfast eggs, on a relish tray and in salads.  Their great on hot dogs too, along with this Homemade Pickle Relish!





Heat Measurement
The heat in peppers is measured by the Scoville scale with the highest numbers having the most heat.  As of writing this post, the Trinidad pepper is the hottest on the chart, followed by the Ghost pepper, then the Scotch Barnet and Habenero peppers. 

History:
Prehistoric remains in Peru show that peppers were around way back then and were even cultivated in Central and South America in very early times.

Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter hot peppers and brought them back with him to Europe in 1493.
In fact, it was the Europeans that gave peppers their name. 

When the peppers were first introduced into Europe, they were grown in the gardens of Spanish and Portuguese monasteries. 

The monks experimented with the hot peppers and discovered that they could be used as a substitute for black peppercorns. At the time black peppercorn was extremely costly and used as legal currency in some countries.

  
Pickled Hot Peppers
Makes about 7 to 8 pints

Items Needed

2-3/4 lbs banana or jalapeno peppers
6 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
2 cups water
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Mustard seed (optional)
Celery seed (optional)
Pickle crisp (optional)

The How-To's

Wash and sterilize jars.  Prepare Water bath canner.  
I place my jars in the water bath canner, fill with water and boil jars. This sterilizes the jars and prepares the canner at the same time.
Place lids in hot simmering water, do not boil.
Newer lids made without BPA (or BPA Free) do not need to be placed in hot simmering water. These are new guidelines and are not as yet on the Ball website but is being widely discussed on many websites.

Use fresh blemish free peppers.  Garden fresh or farm market fresh are best and have the most flavor.

Slice peppers or leave whole

Leave peppers whole or slice into rings.  If slicing into rings, remove stem and discard, then slice.  Make sure to wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from burning from the hot peppers! 
If you do get some of the hot pepper juice on your hands or skin, rub on or soak hands in vinegar.  It helps to neutralize the pepper acid and stop the burning.

I found that repeated rinsing of the pepper rings will remove most of the seeds. But leave them in if you like the peppers hotter.

Repeated rinsing will remove most of the seeds

Combine vinegar, water, and garlic in a large sauce pot. 
Bring vinegar mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Discard garlic.
Do not alter the vinegar to water proportions.  The acidity in a pickled product or recipe is for food safety to prevent the growth of the botulism bacteria.

The following spices are optional but do help with flavor:
Add approximately 1/4 teaspoon to half pints and a half teaspoon to pints of celery seed (or to desired taste). 

Add celery seed

Add approximately 1/4 teaspoon to half pints and a half teaspoon to pints of mustard seed (or to desired taste).

Add mustard seed

Pack peppers into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. 

Pack peppers into hot jars

Add Pickle crisp to each jar, if desired, but it does help with texture
.
Add pickle crisp

Ladle hot vinegar mixture over peppers, leaving 1/2 inch head space. 
If you need more vinegar mixture, mix another full batch or mix 3 cups of vinegar with 1 cup of water and boil with garlic. Do not decrease or change the vinegar to water proportions.  

Ladle hot vinegar mixture over peppers
Remove air bubbles.  Wipe rim and adjust two-piece lids.

Add two piece lid

Place filled jars in hot water bath canner and process 10 minutes.  Timing begins when canner starts to boil.  Water should cover jars by about 1-1/2 to 2 inches.

Place jars in water bath canner

Remove jars from canner and allow to cool, undisturbed for 24 hours.  Check lids for seal, then store jars in a cool dark pantry.  If any jars did not seal, store in the refrigerator.

PRINT THIS RECIPE 


Variations:
  • Use a combination of hot peppers and mix together in each jar. 
  • Dice jalapeno peppers before canning  
  • Peppers are adaptable to many forms of preservation; canning, freezing and even drying.

I'd love to hear back if you canned hot peppers and which types.  Have you tried canning them whole or mixed many kinds together?  I canned whole habenero recently and they look beautiful in the jar.

Elizabeth


Other Recipes







Tuesday

The Mothman Festival

The Mothman Legend, Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Older Mothman Fest Poster
Need something a little different, strange even, to see and do in September?  How about visiting the area that made the Mothman famous?

How It Started

The Mothman is said to be a moth like creature seen in and around the area of Point Pleasant, West Virginia from November 1966 to December 1967. 
The first reported sighting was on November 12, 1966 by five men digging a grave at a cemetery near Clendenin, WV.  They claimed to see a man like creature fly down from a tree and over their heads. 

Three days later, on November 15, 1966 two young couples from Point Pleasant told police they saw a large white creature whose eyes glowed red when the car headlights shined on it.  The couples, visually shaken,  described it as a large flying man like thing with approximately  10 foot wings following their car while driving in the TNT area.  The TNT area is the site of the former World War ll munitions plant.

During the next few days there were many other sighting reported, many from citizens not easily dismissed. 
Two volunteer firemen reported they sighted what they say was a large bird like creature with glowing red eyes.
 
Drawing of the Mothman

Contractor Newell Partridge told the county sheriff that he too saw the creature and when he shined his flashlight into it’s eyes, they glowed like bicycle reflectors.  He also blamed buzzing noises from his T.V and the disappearance of his German shepherd on the creature.
 
Mothman by Patty Wolford

At the time, Wildlife biologist De. Robert L. Smith at the WV University told reporters that the descriptions and sighting all match the Sandhill Crane, a large American crane as high as a man with a seven foot wing span and circles of reddish coloring around the eyes.  Smith believes the bird may have wandered out of it’s migrations route.
 
The Silver Bridge collapse in 1967

On December 15, 1967 the Silver Bridge collapsed while it was full of rush hour traffic, resulting in the deaths of 46 people.  Two of the victims were never found.  Investigation of the wreckage pointed to the cause of the collapse to failure of a single eyebar in a suspension chain.  At the time, the bridge was carrying much heavier loads than originally designed for.
 
The Silver bridge collapse from the Ohio side.

The sightings of the Mothman stopped with the collapse of the bridge, giving rise to the legend that the Mothman sighting and bridge collapse were somehow connected and that the Mothman may have been warning about the tragic disaster.
 
Newspaper story concerning the Silver bridge disaster

Theories of who the Mothman was or what he was are many.  Some believe it was some kind of mutant, spawned from local chemical and weapons dumps. Some even suggested the Mothman was "the curse of Chief Cornstalk," a Shawnee leader who had been treacherously murdered in Point Pleasant in 1777, and who had finally gotten around to exacting his revenge.


Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Point Pleasant is a small town with a rich history. The river community, situated where the Kanawha and Ohio rivers meet, played an important role in the settlement of America. In 1774, the colonial army won the Battle of Point Pleasant, opening the area to the first permanent white settlers and paving the way for continued western expansion. 
 
Point Pleasant, West Virginia downtown


What To See And Do


Festival and Statue
Point Pleasant has an annual weekend long Mothman Festival the third weekend every September.  The first festival was held in 2002 and a life size statue of the Mothman was erected in 2003.  
The Mothman statue

The Mothman statue is made out of stainless steel and is copied from drawings from witnesses in the 1960’s.
Although the festival started small it's growing every year.  And there are many events during the festival including the Mothman Ball, a pancake eating contest, hayrides, historical tours, live music, and food and craft vendors.
Me with the author of Weird Ohio at The Mothman Festival
I ran across the booth of The Ghosts Of Ohio and the author of the book “Weird Ohio” while at the festival and purchased a signed copy.  I love everything Ohio!

Mothman Museum and Research Center
The museum was opened in 2005 and is run by Jeff Wamsley.  An offbeat little place filled with newspaper clippings, articles and props and a variety of other items about the Mothman. 
The museum also holds the largest collection of props and memorabilia from the movie The Mothman Prophecies.  
 
Drawings of the Mothman in the Museum
TNT Hayride
One of the highlights of our trip was the eerie hayride through the TNT area. Who doesn't love a scary hayride?  The “TNT Area” refers to the old ammunitions manufacturing plant where the Mothman was most active. It also encompasses the wildlife reserve that used to be a war-time ammunition holding ground. The hayride starts around 8:00 pm on the grounds, and along the way we saw many scary things and of course the Mothman.

Me disguised as the Mothman
  
Point Pleasant River Museum
This museum focuses on river life in the area.  Displays, videos and special quests highlight topics such as Ohio’s great flood, boat construction, sternwheelers, steamers, river disasters and local river industry.  The museum has a working pilothouse, a research library and a 2,400 gallon aquarium filled with Ohio River fish. 
The Point Pleasant River Museum at dusk

Riverside Park
This is one thing you don’t want to miss.  Although it has nothing to do with the Mothman, (but according to some, it might) it is well worth the visit.  Here you will see an amazing statue of Chief Cornstalk and one of General Andrew Lewis, both made of stainless steel.  Chief Hokoleskwa or Cornstalk was a leader of the Shawnee people who battled with English settlers in Ohio near the location of what is now Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The Chief survived the initial battles, which were won by General Andrew Lewis.  Chief Cornstalk later was later tricked into a meeting supposedly for peace talks, and was then ambushed and murdered, along with his son and members of his tribe in 1777 by the settlers. Cornstalk's bones were moved several times, but today, what is left of them,  rest in an obelisk located in Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in the town of Point Pleasant.  
Riverside Park also has beautiful murals by artist Robert Dafford, painted on the flood wall representing the history of Point Pleasant.

Chief Cornstalk statue and Murals


West Virginia Farm Museum
Many buildings of historical value have been moved and rebuilt on the grounds. There are log cabins, an early farmhouse, an operational 19th century blacksmith shop, turn-of-the-century doctor's and newspaper offices, the first Lutheran Church west of the Allegheny Mountains, and lots more.


You can stroll along a nearby nature trail or visit the herb gardens, carpenter shop or schoolhouse.
Depending on the time of your visit, there are also costumed interpreters. You may also see horses, chickens, donkeys, a goat and a llama.



Go to the Farm Museum’s website for festivals and events.


The Mothman Prophecies, The Book
Written by John A. Keel.   
In 1967, Keel popularized the term "Men In Black" in an article for the men's adventure magazine Saga, entitled "UFO Agents of Terror". According to Keel, he initially sought to explain UFOs as extraterrestrial visitations, but later abandoned this hypothesis.
His 1975 book, The Mothman Prophecies was Keel's account of his investigation into alleged sightings in West Virginia of a huge, winged creature called the "Mothman." The book combines Keel's account of receiving strange phone calls with reports of mutilated pets and culminates with the December 15, 1967, collapse of the Silver Bridge across the Ohio River.




The Mothman Prophecies, The Movie
The book by John A. Keel was widely popularized as the basis of the 2002 film of the same name starring Richard Gere.
The movie's release date was January 25, 2002, and some of the scenes were actually filmed in Point Pleasant.
The film "The Mothman Prophecies” is the story that deals with the mythical Mothman sightings in Point Pleasant
The film stared Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Debra Messing. 







The Gallipolis Locks and Dam
The locks and dam are located along Route 2 about 11 miles north of Point Pleasant and is a great fishing and bird watching site.  The Locks and Dam was built on the Ohio River near Gallipolis Ferry, West Virginia as part of a series of locks and dams to allow navigation year-round. It began operation in August 25, 1937, and final construction was completed in October 1937.

The Gallipolis Locks and Dam on Route 2

Fifty years later, construction began on a project to build bigger lock chambers, capable of locking through modern-sized tows and barges. Work began in November 1987 and was completed January 1993.
The Gallipolis Locks and Dam, north of Point Pleasant

We are finishing up our summer chores and stocking firewood for the cold winter months that are predicted for this year.  Hope you had a wonderful summer and stress free "back to school" time.

Elizabeth


Mothman Information

The Mothman Festival 



Other Travel Ideas



South Dakota: Camping in South Dakota



Sunday

Canning Tomatoes


Easy Home Canned Tomatoes
Tomatoes are one of the first things I canned well over 20 some years ago as a beginner canner.  I read it was one of the easiest things to learn as a newbie canner and they were right.

There is nothing better than a fresh tomato straight off the vine, but I think the second best thing is a jar of home canned tomatoes in the middle of winter!

I use canned tomatoes in chili, spaghetti sauce, soups and casseroles and many different recipes.  If I run out, I also make salsa or tomato juice from the tomatoes I canned. 

I can so I can preserve my garden harvest but also because I can control what's in my food.  I grew it and I grow organic. I know what's in each and every jar. 

Canning is the process in which foods are placed in jars and heated to a temperature that destroys microorganisms and inactivates enzymes. This heating and later cooling forms a vacuum seal. The vacuum seal prevents other microorganisms from recontaminating the food within the jar.

Wednesday

Halloween Costume Ideas

Halloween Costumes: Part 1

Who doesn't love fall and Halloween? 
Around our house, we get really excited thinking about the coming pumpkin recipes, fall leaves, corn stalks, stews, college football and all things autumn. 

We host a Fall Party every year and encourage everyone to come in costume, it's great fun. 
We also wear our costumes to Fall Festivals and our local Circleville Pumpkin Show, no really, we do.

Every year since the kids were little,  I have made their Halloween costumes, and every year I started in August. 
Now I know some people are not very organized, or don’t want to think about Halloween costumes in August.  But for us we have found it is less stressful to decide on a costume in August. We then spend the next few weeks gathering together the needed items or props.

Monday

Easy Banana Cream Pie

I usually keep bananas on hand just to snack on and as one of my staple food items.  Besides just eating them, bananas can also be added to fresh fruit salad, cereal, yogurt, on a sandwich with peanut butter and added to ice cream.  
When they start getting a little too ripe I use them in homemade Banana Nut Bread or Banana Cream Pie.  
(I have the best Banana Nut Bread recipe ever, and will post that at a later date!)

I love easy recipes that taste fabulous and look as if you spent a lot of time on preparation! And this is one of those recipes. It also comes in handy for last minute company or if you need to take a dessert to a dinner party, book club or church pot luck.

Wednesday

Canning Green Beans

It’s great to preserve some of your garden's bounty to use during the cold winter months.  There is nothing like pulling a jar of preserves from the pantry shelf while the snow’s falling and the wind’s howling and getting a little whiff that takes you right back to summer.

For the best green beans, pick fresh tender pods first thing in the morning. Growing and picking from your own garden is always best, but purchasing from a local farm market will be just as good.
You will need about 1 pound of green beans for each pint jar and 2 pounds of beans for each quart jar.

Please Note: 
When canning green beans you must process them in a pressure canner.  There is a higher risk of botulism when canning low acid foods, such as green beans.  Pressure canning is the only recognized safe option. Dilly Beans, which are pickled green beans, are preserved in vinegar so can be water bathed. 

Thursday

Restoration of Original Chicken Coop

Tobacco Barn July 2014, exterior repairs finished
Restoring The Original Farm Coop
Our little farm was once a much bigger property with a white clapboard farm house, a hand well pump and many outbuildings and barns.  The original old farmhouse burnt down in the 1950’s and the property set neglected for many years. 

In 1967 the property was divided up and sold at auction.  A builder bought the current property and built a custom brick ranch on the exact spot where the old white clapboard farm house used to be.

The new house overlooked a large pond and pastures. He also built a large pole barn and raised cattle.
After 25 years, the builder divided up the property a little more and sold more land and then sold the house too.