Category: Preserving

Hot Peppers Above & Beyond

Last night was a food disappointment. Today was a Serendipity Farmhouse, spicy food delight.

Here’s what happened.

Granddaughter #1 was here for a visit last night – that, by no means, was a disappointment. No, it was the food that was disappointing. Yours truly engaged in the ritual outlined for making Italian Herb and Garlic Focaccia Bread sold by the Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho. I followed the directions nearly to perfection. Neither Granddaughter #1 nor the SFH Master Chef, Mr. Monte, found any flaws in my execution. The bread turned out as advertised.

So, what caused the disappointment? It was our choice to use store-bought, crushed red peppers. That was the mistake. Those peppers were lifeless, devoid of zing and zest, just humdrum, lazy old peppers that left one wanting and, as I’ve said, they rendered the overall meal disappointing.

Here’s what we did to rectify our error.

As the clock chimed Noon today, Granddaughter #1, Mr. Monte, Blondie, and I commenced our quest for a spicy hot pepper topping that would be “Hot peppers above & beyond”. So, without further needless prattle, let me explain how we took some of our own homegrown SFH peppers and turned them into a magic spice topping.

As you well know from many of our posts, SFH grows a new kind of hot pepper each year and preserves them. To make our new topping, all we had to do was pull out five jars of our dehydrated, dry-canned hot peppers, select, mix, and crush them.

Utensils & Appliances: As shown below, an electric coffee grinder, a FoodSaver with vacuum attachments, two measuring cups, two plastic bowls, and two small spice shakers were all the utensils we needed.

Ingredients: The five varieties of hot peppers we selected are listed below. To be sure, we paid great respect to the relative spiciness/heat of each of the pepper varieties. In addition to quantity of each pepper variety used, I’ve also provided the original date that we dehydrated and dry-canned the peppers. That will help to understand how preserving our harvest by dehydrating and dry-canning has saved us money over the course of several years.

1 cup – Jalapeno peppers – 2015-10-22
1 cup – Salsa peppers – 2017-08-18
½ cup – Seranno peppers – 2018-08-04
½ cup – Cow Horn peppers – 2019-09-13
½ cup – Habanero peppers – 2017-08-19

The time expended from beginning to the end of this venture was barely 30 minutes. As you can see, 3½ cups of peppers, when crushed and ground, reduced to a rather small quantity of finished product. But, that’s no problem because this mixture is gram-for-gram a very potent mix. It doesn’t take much of this topping to turn what was just a humdrum piece of focaccia into a fantastically tasty joy to eat. – – Today for lunch, yours truly, had a piece of focaccia that was a spicy food delight.


Lesson Learned 2020-02: Before you try preparing this mixture in your own kitchen, please pay heed to my most earnest and sincere warning. Working with any one of these five varieties of hot peppers would require that you take precautionary measures during preparation. When all five of them come together, if not handled properly, they become a toxic brew that causes coughing, wheezing, watery eyes, and a myriad of other ill effects. At a very minimum, use a face mask as I did.


Now, some people have an extremely strong reaction to airborne ingredients present during the preparation of our SFH spicy topping. Although you might not be able to recognize her, that is my dear, sweet wife who decided to use a more radical approach to self protection. Mr. Monte wore a similar suit, but I wasn’t able to get him to hold still for a picture.


SFH Journal: 2019-11-11 through 11-17 – Abundant Harvest & Great Thanksgiving

0728191156a_HDR (2)Industrious and beautiful Wife, widely known for her fabled “green thumb”, has officially declared the growing season and the harvest of 2019 officially at an end. Using all the expertise at her command, and commanding back-breaking labor from her ever admiring hubby, she has planned and executed all that took place in the vast, expansive (somewhat less than 224 square feet), and fruitful gardens of the Serendipity Farmhouse estate.

The result of her labor and planning is the most bounteous harvest ever achieved sinceIMG_20140713_170722_748 (2) the SFH sign was affixed to the entrance way of our humble abode. Her struggle and sweat through one the hottest and most grueling growing seasons ever recorded in this area were rewarded with fresh vegetables on the dinner table on a daily basis, and with frozen, dehydrated, and canned food stores to brighten our table through the holidays, holy days, and days between now and the next harvest.

Yet, my humble Spouse is the first to say that none of this would have been possible without His help and watchful care. That is a reason to be thankful, that is a reason for giving thanks. That is but one of many reasons why we will pray to Him in thanksgiving on November 28th.

And now, without further ado, Mr. Monte, in his capacity as SFH Chief Statistician, has gathered pictures and compiled statistics to show what Blondie has accomplished in her gardens during Anno Domini MMXIX.

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SFH 2019 Harvest Totals

ItemQTYSeason End
Arugula9 bunches11-13
Basil13 bunches08-23
Beans, green stringless19107-07
Beans, Monticello19907-07
Beet greens2 bunches06-06
Garlic heads1807-01
Garlic scapes1805-27
Kale4 bunches05-25
Parsley6 bunches08-18
Peppers, Cow Horn3710-18
Peppers, jalapenos22610-18
Peppers, pimento1308-29
Squash, yellow4309-26
Thyme1 bunch07-31
Tomatoes, Big Beef13109-26
Tomatoes, Cherry65411-02
Tomatoes, Golden Jubilee2009-19
Tomatoes, Mr. Stripey11809-26

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SFH 2019 Preserving Totals

Okra, frozen7 packages
Okra, pickled8 pint jars
Pasta Sauce18 pint jars
Peppers, Cow Horn, dry canned1 pint jar
Peppers, pickled10 1/2 pint jars
Pesto5 4-oz containers
Popcorn, dry canned6 quart jars
Raspberries, frozen1 package
Salsa27 pint jars

Serendipity Farmhouse is not a hobby. Serendipity Farmhouse is our way of life.

Serendipity Farmhouse is where we Pray, Prepare, and Preserve.


SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-11-04 through 11-10


SFH Journal: 2019-09-09 through 09-15

On one hand, things have been very good this year. For example, the Okra harvest keeps coming in bit-by-bit. To date, we have frozen six packages and pickled eight pint jars of that tasty vegetable. This year’s crop has also provided for many meals for ourselves and for guests.

WS5On the other hand, weather events from as far back as March of last year continue to rack up their toll in destruction. During Winter Storm Riley in March of  2018, our beautiful pine tree in the front yard was damaged and was leaning at a bad angle. (See our post SFH PPP 2018-01: Living the Life of Riley for details.)

Apparently, the tree was damaged more than we suspected. This year, when the rains subsided, the tree began to go brown. Now, it looks like the tree is past saving. It’s likely that some of the root structure was damaged and, when water became scarce, the roots couldn’t supply enough water to sustain growth. It’s a sad thing, but it looks like we will have to have it taken down and removed.
SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-09-09 through 09-15

Crisis Averted in Rainy Day Catch Up

Question 1: What was the crisis?

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Running low

Answer 1: The official Serendipity Farmhouse Pantry inventory revealed we were almost out of popcorn – the single most important and tasty food snack known to humankind.

Question 2: What relationship could possibly exist between popcorn and dehydrated Cow Horn peppers?

Answer 2: Both items have an extended shelf life when they are dry canned.

Question 3: What in the heck is “dry canning”?

Answer 3: Read this post and find out.

0913190927_HDR (2)Normally, we buy popcorn twelve pounds at a time. There is a cost savings when bought in quantity. When we realized we were running low on this essential snack, we found that the dealer had been out of the large bags for almost two months. So, we purchased two four-pound bags to get us through the crisis.

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Note:  Not Cow Horn peppers

Meanwhile, we had amassed a quantity of Cow Horn peppers from the garden. They weren’t needed any more for canning with salsa. Following our SFH maxim “never waste anything”, the Cow Horns were dehydrated last week and temporarily stored in a mason jar.

Now, with popcorn and peppers ready for preserving, we waited for a convenient lull in household activities. Yesterday came with rain, fog, and cooler temperatures. There was no outside work that could be done on our vast, rambling, 1.24 acre estate. This was the perfect time for “rainy day catch up”.

With Mr. Monte’s advice, consent, guidance, and watchful assistance, I assembled all that was needed to do the job at hand – dry can five quarts of popcorn and one pint of Cow Horn peppers. All that was needed for the job was:

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FoodSaver with regular & wide mouth sealers

1 FoodSaver unit,
1 regular mouth jar sealer,
1 wide mouth jar sealer,
1 one accessory hose,
6 oxygen absorber packets,
5 quart size mason jars,
1 pint size mason jar,


The rest was simple. (Only because Mr. Monte kept nagging and pointing me in the right direction. He has no patience for those who obviously have inferior intellect.)

0913190940a (2)Popcorn was added to the five quart jars and Cow Horns were added to the pint jar. One oxygen absorber packet was added to each of the six jars.


0913190943a (2)Because oxygen absorber packs immediately start absorbing whatever oxygen is available, unused packets need to be vacuum sealed to preserve them for future use. So, even before I sealed the jars, I made a new bag for the unused packets and sealed them.

Next, I sealed the five wide mouth jars. I finished up by sealing the regular mouth jar containing the Cow Horn peppers. Note: The ring is not screwed onto the jar until after the sealer does its job.


Question 4: What was the result of my half hour investment in time?

Answer 4: When dry canned, dry food goods such as popcorn and beans remain unspoiled for between 10 to 20 years. For example, we have some great northern beans that were dry canned in 2012 and they are just as good as the day we dry canned them.

Rather than growing four or five different types of hot peppers each season, we usually

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The perfect jar of  Cow Horn peppers

grow only two types – jalapenos and “something else”. We dehydrate the “something else” peppers and dry can them. Last year it was serranos, the year before it was habaneros, and this year it is Cow Horns. These can easily be reconstituted by sitting in water or merely cooking them in with whatever recipe calls for them.

We also mix three or four types of dehydrated hot peppers and crush and grind them. This becomes a spicy topping for pizzas or it can be applied (very carefully and cautiously) to various dishes.

In addition to dehydrated peppers, we have dry canned dehydrated apples. Over the coming years we hope to expand the dehydrating and dry canning to other foods.

Bottom Line: It’s easy. It’s practical. It’s not overly taxing on the nerves. And, it saves money.

So, now you know how to prevent a popcorn crisis and turn a rainy day into a sunshine event. God bless!

SFH Journal: 2019-08-04 through 11

Hi, Mr. Monte here! – – Old Fuzz Face is once again trying to convince all at Serendipity Farm House that he has been overworked, is bone-weary, and is generally incapable of performing any task, no matter how minor. – – He even pleads to be spared from bringing in a single, 40 pound bag of cat litter. – – So, I guess I will have to write this post while the old man feigns fatigue and a host of other maladies.

04 August, Sunday (Cat Cousins continued): If you remember my wonderful, enchanting, and ever so truly true post about the two cat cousins Gizmo and Cosmo (refresh you memory here), we were all concerned about how this relationship would develop. Well, as may observe in the picture below, there appears to be a growing affection between the two. You have to understand feline body language, however, to read between the lines and see that this, at best, can only be considered a temporary truce – tolerance is not affection – and it easily wears thin. I’ll keep you updated on how this tense situation finally resolves itself.

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05 August, Monday: First full day without Blondie. As you know, Blondie went to see her big sister for a few days. Fuzz Face reacted to the absence in the manner I had anticipated and expected. The lazy lout took almost no heed when I beckoned for his assistance. He had his face stuck in an expressionless trance, staring at that computer screen and calling his actions work. I responded to his lack of attention by splattering, flipping, and tossing cat litter in all directions. I only achieved true satisfaction, when I spread some between his sheets.

06 August, Tuesday: Second full day without Blondie. Once again, Fuzz Face told me that he had to work at his desk. He got away with that for about an hour – then, I bit his leg and said quite clearly, “It’s time to brush Moi!” – – He got the message

07 August, Wednesday: Third full day without Blondie. Fuzz Face said it was another work day and foolishly sat at his desk, thinking I would let him accomplish anything that wasn’t related to me. So, in the most subtle and discreet fashion, I jumped on his lap, climbed on his shoulders, and threatened to bit his ear lobe. I indicated, that when finished, he would have enough piercings to be able to wear more earrings than Blondie and both of his daughters put together. Once again, he got the message. – – I allowed him to brush me for almost half an hour.

Later in the day, I had to save his bacon. He had over seven pounds of tomatoes that he foolishly promised Blondie that he would turn into canned pasta sauce. – – Consider the prospect of that prize dolt attempting to can six jars of pasta sauce – without assistance. Needless, to say, in order to protect the soon to be world famous SFH Test Kitchen from total destruction and ruin I had to direct him in his every move. The idiot almost lost a finger in the blender while pureeing the tomatoes – you really don’t want to know the details.

08 August, Thursday: Blondie’s coming home! It is rumored among humans that, by virtue of her hair color, Blondie has some extra challenges. I don’t hold to that line of thought, but I will say that Blondie is perfectly paired with Fuzz Face. Nevertheless, it is better to have her here, taking care of me, than it is to have her elsewhere, leaving me alone with Fuzz Face. So, when he said to me that today she’s coming home, I immediately got into a better mood. Fuzz Face, on the other hand, went into deep depression. – – He had to clean the house that he had so thoroughly messed up. Not only did he have to clean it, he had to clean it to Blondie’s standards. – the old man was in a compete panic. Sensing that he needed my help, I made sure that the floor throughout the house had layers of cat litter sufficiently deep to trip a circus elephant. – – – Oh, what amazing bliss when Blondie walked in the door – – – She immediately spotted the cat litter and took Old Fuzz Face to task.

09 August, Friday: Perhaps the most important event of the year took place on this day. Blondie and Fuzz Face decided it was time to harvest the grapes from the massive SFH vineyards. You can see the full harvest in the featured picture. It’s most unfortunate that critters and varmints consumed three of the grapes leaving us with only 81% of the original crop. Although a final decision hasn’t been made, yours truly has offered to stomp the grapes. Nowhere else in the world could you get fine wine made from grapes masterfully processed by the four large paws of a handsome 20-pound Maine Coon cat. The wonderful vintage of 2019 should, of course, be called SFH Cat’s Paw Wine. (We were going to copyright the name, but found a winery in South Carolina already has it. Perhaps we’ll just call it Monte-ster Mash)

10 August, Saturday: Life was getting better with Blondie back at home. It was getting better until Friday night when Fuzz Face decided he was going to take me out to the RV with him. I was not enthused. – – But, then I thought about it. If I go out with Fuzz Face, he and I could play. He would be a captive audience – captive in more ways than one. So, we played all night long. I purred and rubbed up beside him and showed my teeth, and we played some more. – – – We came back in at 4:30AM and I slept all day. — Blondie added to my enjoyment of the experience by working Fuzz Face nearly to exhaustion.

11 August, Sunday: This was a day of rest. I did, however, take some pleasure in chasing Blondie up the stairs. She threatened to throw her pink flip flop at me, but I’m so cute she couldn’t follow through.

So, the weather continues hot and dry. Here are the stats.

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: See SFH WX 2019-08-05 through 11

Serendipitous Salsa – No Sweat!

“Too few tomatoes … too tired from yard worktoo blasted hot!!!

This has been our constant refrain every July since 2014.

But it isn’t that way this year!!!

What’s different?

Of course, every season starts off with “Too few tomatoes”. This year, we have found two local sources of organically grown tomatoes to provide us sufficient numbers until all of our bushes are producing at full capacity. We have seven bushes. Three are just now coming into their maturity, while the other four will start producing in a couple of weeks

Of course, every July there is much to do and we are “… too tired from yard work”. We have studied this problem and devised ways to spread the yard work and other chores out over the week so that we don’t get overly tired. We’ve also moved heavy work periods to the early morning hours, before the heat of the day sets in.

That leaves the most serious problem – “… too blasted hot!!!  Canning salsa or pasta sauce in mid-July in Virginia without air conditioning is not for the faint of heart. It might be 95° with 90% humidity outside, but when the jars are sterilizing, the tomatoes are simmering, and the lids are heating up, the temperature in the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen begins to soar to well over 100°. The only sensible dress under those conditions is shorty pants and matching wife- and husband-beater shirts. – – Believe me, it’s not a pretty sight and Mr. Monte is not so pleased by the odors brought on with the heat.

Previous owners of Serendipity Farmhouse ran air conditioners, but it was a somewhat risky situation. The house only had 100 Amp service. We changed that last year. (See SFH Journal: 2018-11-29 through 2018-12-03 – 200 Amp Service!!!) With that upgrade, we feel a bit more confident about running multiple air conditioners.

And that brings us to the meaning of this post’s title: Serendipitous Salsa – No Sweat!

DSC_1173 (2)Our first tomato canning event for this season was accomplished without bleating out our old constant refrain. We had enough tomatoes to make seven pint jars of salsa in a single session. We were well rested and up to the task at hand. And, most importantly, we were dressed comfortably and not in the manner that so scandalized poor Mr. Monte. In fact, he even came over and rubbed my leg several times in animated appreciation of my lack of troublesome and annoying odors.

Yes, dear friends, this was a serendipitous occasion and the preparation of the seven jars of salsa was – No Sweat!

There were several other happy facets of this uncanny canning event. One was the introduction of Cow Horn peppers to our tried and true salsa recipe. These peppers are roughly in the same range as Jalapenos, measuring in at 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville heat units. They bring with them their own distinctive flavor.

Another change to our recipe this year was leaving most of the Jalapeno and Cow Horn seeds in the mix. This will make for a little stronger kick, hopefully without shocking the taste sensibilities of the regular fans of Granny & Grandad’s (G&G’s) Salsa.

G&G’s Salsa is becoming a regional favorite for as many as tens of people. This fantastic rate of growth attests to the high quality of our products. In keeping with our aspirations to become a world-famous brand, this year, we have modernized our labeling as you will see below. But, keep in mind, it’s not the label that counts as much as the quality of the product inside. So, dear readers, we present to you the story of this year’s G&G’s Serendipitous Salsa. We put a lot of work into it, but it was No Sweat!

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Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

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Here at Serendipity Farmhouse we try to live by our motto – “Pray, Prepare, Preserve”. That motto has meanings on many levels. One level speaks to mankind’s most primitive and essential need – food. We “Pray” for our harvest; we “Prepare” the gardens with physical labor and constant care; then, when all is ripe and ready, we carefully “Preserve” a portion of the harvest so there will be “food for tomorrow”.

And so, this preserving season has begun. No, I don’t say the canning season has begun because there are many ways to preserve food. Yes, we do canning, but we also freeze, dehydrate, dry can, ferment, and many other things to preserve our food. By way of example, while this preserving season is quite young we have already:

  • Frozen three 4oz containers of pesto, made from our own basil;
  • Pickled five ½ pint jars of hot peppers; and
  • Frozen one package of sliced okra.

Granted, in the grand scheme things, many might think that SFH is just a very small, amateurish enterprise. That’s OK. Let them think what they will. Lovely Spouse, Mr.Monte, and I, however, greatly enjoy what we do and we take pride in what we do.

It’s the little things that add up. For example, let’s take a look at those five ½ pint jars of  “Peter’s Pickled Peppers”. You cannot find the equivalent in any grocery store. First, the jalapeno peppers were perfect in every detail. Then we added Cow Horn peppers to impart a subtle nuance to the flavor. Finally, each jar of peppers has a clove of garlic grown in our very own herb garden. Everything in each of those five jars is fresh and high quality.

Dear and gentle Reader, when we open one of those jars in December, and spread out the contents on a relish tray for Christmas dinner, we will have the satisfaction of knowing that only the best of the best will be on the table as we call to mind the birth of the One Who has given us everything.

So, quietly and without fanfare the 2019 SFH preserving season has begun. There will be time enough for fanfare and compliments when the cold days of Winter are upon us.

This year, we have added a page to the blog to allow you to keep up with the daily harvest. Go and check out SFH 2019 Harvest to see how bountiful this growing season has been already.

Another new page, just added today, will give you a chance to see how the harvest translates into “food for tomorrow” by means of preserving. Go check out SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow because this is going be a great year for tomatoes, okra, and peppers.

P.S. Mr. Monte has been especially vigilant this year, performing inspections all of our preserving supplies, monitoring general cleanliness, and ensuring adherence to SFH Test Kitchen “best practices”.



SFH Journal: 2019-07-02 through 07

Highlight: We’ve been busy – very busy. In the last week, the vegetables have really started coming in. It is with great joy, pride of accomplishment, and thanksgiving to God that we can say we’ve kept the tomatoes standing and have protected all our gardens from damage by insects, heavy rain, and strong winds.

And the reward for all of that work speaks for itself. This week we harvested our first big tomato – a Big Beef. It arrived almost simultaneously with our first yellow squash and first cucumber.

Mr. Monte is currently checking out the soon-to-be-famous SFH Test Kitchen to ensure that all is ready for canning, which should start in a week or two. To see how bountiful the harvest is check out SFH 2019 Harvest here.

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH WX Station Report: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

Comparing Apples to Apple Butter

“Once upon a time, Apples were a premier crop of Rappahannock County. Even before the creation of the county, apples were grown as a staple for families and as a cash crop.”


That is how the presentation Apples and Rappahannock County, researched and prepared by the Rappahannock Historical Society, begins its study of the history of  apples in our county.

Serendipity Farmhouse sits proudly at the center of the county’s historic apple growing and processing landmarks. When you look at the pictures in the presentation, many times you will see the very same views we have from our office window. The pictures allow us to look back in time and see that SFH was at the heart of what was a thriving county industry.

Although the county’s economy has changed and the days of the large prosperous orchards are long past, some excellent orchards remain to remind us of what used to be. One thing has not changed, though – an apple from Rappahannock County is apple worth eating. Yes, even those five old, poorly maintained Stayman apple trees here at SFH, when conditions are right, produce apples of unforgettable flavor and enjoyment.

So, in a quest to capture history and good flavor, members of the soon to be famous SFH Test Kitchen (SFH-TK) set out to find some of the fabled, quality apples of Rappahannock. Our research this year pointed us to Roy’s Orchard & Fruit Market , which is literally within walking distance of SFH.

It was a damp rainy day, with Autumn colors subdued by overcast skies. Up the long drive through the orchards we went and eventually found not just a single building selling apples. No Roy’s Orchard is a complex of several buildings with an array of products for sale, ranging from fresh apples and apple products to a large selection of local fruit and honey products.

Knowing that the objective of the SFH-TK was to make a uniquely Rappahannock apple butter, we looked through the apple bins, selecting the very best of each variety. When the selection was completed, we found ourselves holding a half bushel bag containing five different varieties of apples.

Upon returning to SFH, the SFH-TK staff conducted taste testing and evaluation of the primary ingredient for our new preserving effort. Each variety had it’s own signature flavor – sweet, tart, mild, lingering, aromatic, etc. It was an experience akin to partaking in a tasting at one our county’s fine wineries. There were not enough words to describe the flavors.

1115181557c (2)Our job was to combine these many flavors in a single product – G&G’s Apple Butter.* We had to consider each of the individual flavors to determine the proportions and balance of the several varieties. Some of this process was science and some of it was guesswork. In the end, however, the result was pure “serendipity”. This year’s batch of G&G’s Apple Butter was like no other.

The days since the preserving have been highlighted by apple butter on toast, apple butter on English muffins, and if Mr. Monte gets his way, it will be apple butter on ice cream. We can truly say the staff of the SFH-TK is satisfied with their work.

This year, we used an old recipe from our archives. It is no longer available at the website, but, through the marvels of the Wayback Machine, you can find the recipe here: – Apple Butter Recipe. Please note the important  SFH-TK modifications to the original recipe


4 pounds apples ///SFH-TK uses 5 pounds///
4 cups sugar (based on sweetness of apples) ///SFH-TK uses 3 cups sugar///
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves

Directions: Chop apples into small chunks. Add apples and 2 cups of water to pan. Simmer until apples are soft. Press the mixture through a sieve or food mill. ///SFH-TK uses a blender because it’s faster and requires less cleanup///

1105181550a (2)Combine apple mixture and spices in a large sauce pot. Cook slowly until thick enough to round up on a spoon. Ladle into prepared jars and process for 10 minutes in hot water bath. ///SFH-TK processes for 15 minutes///

Yield: 5 pints ///SFH-TK uses 10 half pint jars///

* Note: G&G stands for Granny & Grandad’s

SFH Journal: 2018-09-03 through 05

Highlight: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Though often said in unrelated and figurative contexts, the reality of that statement here at Serendipity Farmhouse must be taken quite literally.

The Labor Day weekend was hot and sticky. There were several heat and health advisories issued for the area. Nevertheless, when it’s time for canning – it’s time for canning. So it is, and so it was meant to be.

Despite the heat and despite the advisories, beautiful, sweet Wife, Mr. Monte, and I spent hours in the soon to be world famous SFH test kitchen. The processing pot was filled, boiling, and steaming. The lid sterilizing pot was filled, boiling, and steaming. The salsa pot and the pickle brine pots were filled, boiling, and steaming. Outside, it was 91º. Inside, it was much hotter. But we are living as granny did, and doing many of same things in the same ways that granny did. The vegetables are ripe and the canning must be done. So, we did it.

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The rewards for our efforts for the 3rd and 4th of September include:

  • G&G’s Pasta Sauce – 5 pints
  • Peter’s Pickled Hot Peppers (jalapenos & serranos) – 3 pints
  • Mr. Monte’s Finest Dehydrated Habaneros – 1 pint (dry canned)
  • Mr. Monte’s Finest Dehydrated Serranos – 1 pint (dry canned)

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Weather: Perhaps it will be the last heat wave of the season. We don’t know. We do know that the canning results took our minds off the heat – at least for a little while.

2018-09-03: High – 91º, precipitation 0.00 (Details – click here.)

2018-09-04: High – 91º, precipitation 0.00 (Details – click here.)

2018-09-05: High – 89º, precipitation 0.00 (Details – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report

Harvest: The harvest has slowed somewhat.

2018-09-03: 4 cherry tomatoes

2018-09-04: Nothing to report

2018-09-05: 11 okra pods