Monday, October 24, 2016

Making Paprika

Good day, my reader friends! Someone in one of my Facebook gardening groups asked about making Paprika. It reminded me that I never wrote this post I have wanted to write since last fall since, surely, there are others out there just like me!

In my sheltered life I never stopped to think about where paprika came from (even though it is one of my absolute favorite spices!) until I ran across paprika peppers in one of my seed catalogs. It was one of those lightbulb moments! Of course paprika came from paprika peppers! Where else did I think it came from! Sadly, and truthfully, I didn't even know there was a such thing as paprika and pimento peppers until that very same day. Isn't that incredibly sad that so many of us have no idea about such basic and fundamental knowledge!? I am so thankful for the gift of being able to garden and explore! I have learned soooo incredibly much! I knew that day that both paprika and pimento peppers would be in my garden the following spring.

Fast forward to now. Those peppers did indeed go in my garden, and they produced beautifully! Today, I'll share with you how I made my own paprika powder.

After picking the paprika peppers from my organic garden, the peppers were brought in and washed before preparing them for the dehydrator.

Please pardon the spoons! I was also making different spice mixes for tomato sauce at the same time. :) Yep..I know..that was slightly random and veers off topic. I know the English teachers are having a fit, but I thought the picture was pretty, and I don't have to worry about my English teacher's red pen anymore, and... I digress.

Back to the subject. 😁 Next, the peppers were seeded and sliced.

I made sure to save plenty of seeds for next year!

The sliced peppers were then placed in the dehydrator. I set the dehydrator to the fruit and vegetable setting on my machine which is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 58 degrees Celsius.

I let the dehydrator run until the peppers broke with a dry, crisp snap, and then I placed them in my coffee grinder.

The dried peppers were pulsed and ground into a fine powder and poured into a jar. Just a tip: let the powder settle before opening the grinder.

This is from the very first batch I made. I'm sure the best way to store it is in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber, but we are taking baby steps here. I was so amazed and excited! I felt so very humbled and blessed with the knowledge that was bestowed upon me that I could use for my family. God is so good! I can't wait to plant at least twice as many plants next year!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

White Bean and Ham Soup

The crazy summer madness has finally died down here. Homeschool has started back, we have had a few nice, crisp fall days (even though the weather has tried to squeeze in a couple more days of summer here lately!), and we have even visited the Georgia National Fair! It finally feels like autumn is here, even if it's just in the wishfulness of my mind! That sunburn from the fair tried really hard to steal my idealistic autumn thoughts, but those thoughts are still holding on by a thread! 😊 My mind has turned to pumpkins, cozy sweaters and blankets, cool weather, pretty leaves, and comfort food.

I have three boxes of apples awaiting my attention, but today, I started cleaning out my bean stash. I searched through my basket of dry beans and pulled out all my Northern Beans. I think I had three pounds of them. Since I had diced ham, shredded carrots, and celery in the refrigerator, I went ahead and turned them into soup for us to have later on during the winter. This recipe is so quick and easy, I just had to share it. The following recipe is for one quart of soup, so of course, multiply the ingredients to make as many as you need.

1 scant cup dried navy or northern beans, sorted and rinsed only
1/2 c cubed ham
1/4 c shredded carrots
1/4 c chopped celery 
1/4 c chopped onion
Beef or chicken broth

Add all ingredients to a quart jar. Cover with boiling broth. Leave one inch headspace. Process 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Adjust time and pressure for your altitude. 

I had enough ingredients to get six quarts and one pint. I think they turned out so lovely! 

Perhaps one day this winter when I am wearing a cozy sweater, I will get to enjoy them while snuggled under a fuzzy blanket. 😀

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

*To ensure the safety of your home canned items, be sure to follow safe canning guidelines issued by the USDA.