“Canned” Pound Cake

It’s the time of year for gift giving – give a gift of Homemade Love…

Preserving the Good Life

Grandma’s have done this for years yet you won’t find this in any canning books.  Based on friends who have done this for years and the canning grannies out there, this can be stored for up to one year. (But let’s be real – how long do you really think these will stick around?)  Besides, they make great gifts!

Preheat the oven on 350°.  Grease 12 wide mouth pint jars (or 6 quarts) and set them aside.  I used Crisco to grease mine and if that’s not handy, you can use Baker’s Joy Spray.


I whipped up my mother’s “top secret” pound cake recipe and then spooned each jar 1/2 full, be careful not to get any on the edges of the jar.  This takes a little time and a steady hand.


For a more even bake, put the jars directly on the rack and bake until golden brown, in…

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Canning Red Pepper Jelly (No Pectin)

Preserving the Good Life

Sweet, spicy, hot pepper jelly + cream cheese + Ritz crackers = YUM!  This quick and easy, addictive appetizer is ready in minutes!

I had an abundance of peppers on hand so I doubled the following recipe and ended up with 11 jelly jars of jelly.

  • 1 1/2 lb red bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Cut peppers into 1 inch pieces.


Add peppers and pepper flakes in a food processor or blender.


Pulse until finely chopped.  Depending on if you prefer a chunky jam or a not so chunky jelly will determine how much you chop your peppers.


Stir together pepper mixture, sugar, vinegar, butter and salt in a heavy pot.  Bring to a vigorous boil and boil for 20+ minutes, stirring frequently, until it begins to thicken. …

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Chicken ‘n Dumplings

As the weather begins to cool down…it becomes Chicken ‘n Dumpling Season….ENJOY!

Preserving the Good Life

As the weather cools, my crowd loves soups, stews and old fashioned Chicken ‘n Dumplings.  This recipe is an all time family favorite at our house.   I can remember standing over the stove as a little girl, waiting for the milk to boil so the dumplings could be dropped.  Making Dumplings of any sort is an art.  Once mastered, you can make all sorts of dumplings:  Pea Dumplings, Blackberry Dumplings, not just Chicken ‘n Dumplings.  Here’s how we done it on our family farm.

Boil 4 large chicken breasts until done.  Separate chicken and broth, set broth aside. Take a mixer and shred the chicken – you’ll never hand shred chicken again….

In a pot combine shredded chicken, 1 pint chicken broth, 1 quart of milk and 1/2 stick of butter.  Bring to a boil.


This is where you can do it one of two ways:  Biscuits from a can…

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Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

One of my all time favorites….

Preserving the Good Life

Some of my fondest memories of Grandma’s kitchen involve a strawberry, rhubarb combination.  She used to make some of the best cobblers!  She never measured anything and I’d get tickled when she cooked with rhubarb.  She would add what she thought was enough sugar, then she’d add a little more just for good measure!  I had to figure out a way to get that combination of tart sweetness into something that I could eat in much smaller portions. There’s something about combining the sweet strawberries with the tart rhubarb that makes a blissful combination and leaves you wanting more.   When I tasted this jam, I could close my eyes and envision standing back in Grandma’s kitchen.
Rhubarb can be hard to find in my area until late May.  Sometimes, you can find it at the Farmer’s Market or the grocery store.   I got super excited when I found…

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Strawberry Jam – No Pectin, No Sure Jell

Strawberry Season has begun!

Preserving the Good Life


This recipe yields 12 jelly jars (8 oz)

  • 1 Gallon fresh berries – caped, washed and chopped
  • 8 cups of sugar – divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Real Butter
  • 12 sterile jars, rings and lids


Place the jars in the oven, heat to 200°.  Cap, wash and chop berries.  Measure berries.  An average gallon yields 8 cups of chopped berries; this is important.  For every cup of berries, you will need one cup of sugar.  Add berries and 1/2 of the sugar to a stock pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Increase temperature to high.  Once it’s at a rolling boil, boil for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring.  Add remaining sugar, lemon juice and butter.   Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.  Be sure to stir it enough that it doesn’t stick.  Skim off any excess pink foam.  Boil…

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Canning in Half Gallon Jars

Rarely, if ever, do folks can in half gallon jars anymore.  But if you have a large family canning in this size jar will be handy.  This could be a touchy subject for some because the USDA hasn’t approved the canning times on anything other than Grape and Apple Juice because those are the most commonly canned products in half gallon jars.

I stumbled across this chart, verified some processing times based on what I have learned in past experiences and have kept this chart handy for future canning needs.  I have found the list below helpful; it saves a lot of time in calculating proper canning times.

The guidelines say that you add:
10 min to quart jar times for water bath canned acid foods
5 min to quart jar times for pressure canned acid foods
20% more time to quart jar times for non-acid pressure canned foods

On this chart, BW means processed in boiling water bath and 10# means processed under 10 pounds of pressure.

Apples BW 35 min
Applesauce BW 35 min
Apricots BW 40 min
Asparagus 10# 40 min
Beans, snap 10# 35 min
Beans, lima 10# 60 min
Beets 10# 48 min
Berries, except strawberries, BW 30 min
Bruss. Sprouts 10# 40 min
Broccoli 10# 48 min
Cabbage 10# 40 min
Carrots 10# 36 min
Cauliflower 10# 48 min
Cherries BW 35 min
Corn, kernel 10# 102 min.
Cranberries BW 25 min
Currants BW 30 min
Eggplant 10# 48 min
Fruit, dried BW 25 min
Figs BW 50 min
Grapes BW 30 min
Greens 10# 108 min
Fruit Juice BW add 10 min to quart time
Grapefruit BW 30 min
Hominy 10# 96 min
Nectarines BW 35 min
Okra 10# 48 min
Onions 10# 48 min
Peas 10# 48 min
Peaches BW 40 min
Pears BW 40 min
Peppers, sweet 5# 72 min
Pickles BW add 10 min to quart time
Pineapple BW 40 min
Plums BW 30 min
Potatoes 10# 48 min
Pumpkin 10# 108 min
Rhubarb BW 25 min
Rutabagas 10# 36 min
Soybeans 10# 96 min
Strawberries BW 25 min
Sweet potatoes, wet packed10# 168 min
Squash, summer 10# 36 min
Squash, winter 10# 108 min
Tomatoes BW 55 min, stewed add 10 mins
Tomato juice BW 25 min

Beef 10# 108 min
Stew Chunks, any meat 10# 90 min
Fish 10# 108 min
Game 10# 108 min
Ham 10# 108 min
Lamb,veal 10# 108 min
Pork 10# 108 min
Poultry 10# 108 min
Sausage 10# 108 min
Tenderloin 10# 108 min
Venison 10# 108 min
Bean soup 10# 72 min
Bean & Bacon soup 10# 75 min
Beans, baked 10# 75 min
Chicken soup 10# 60 min
Hamburger sauce 10# 108 min
Italian meat sauce 10# 90 min
Soup stock 10# 36 min
Tomato sauce 10# 45 min
Veg. Beef Stew 10# 90 min


Deviled Eggs

Do you have that one recipe that you make and you just don’t even think about it?  For my crowd some of those recipes are homemade biscuits, gravy, slaw and deviled eggs.  I often forget that people don’t make things from watching Grandma or experimenting.  Some of our best recipes we created from experiments!

Over Thanksgiving one of my sisters mentioned “a recipe” that she found online and used for deviled eggs.  So I’m putting this one out there for Sis….  Here’s how we whip up our deviled eggs.

First, we boil our eggs.  We have found it’s easier to peel the eggs if you get the water to a boil before you put the eggs in the water.  I used a slotted spoon to carefully lower my eggs in the water.  Once they have boiled 15 mins, remove the eggs and run cold water over them.  Peel the eggs, slice them in half and separate the eggs and the yolks.


Mix the egg yolks with a heaping spoon full of mayonnaise, diced sweet pickles (or sweet relish), a sprinkle of salt and a sprinkle of pepper.


When you have the yolk mixture to your liking, put it inside a gallon size ziplock bag and cut the corner so you can easily squeeze the egg out of the bag.




Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just in time for Santa!!!

My Mama used to makes these when I was a little girl and all of the neighborhood kids wanted to hang out at our house…..partially for the cookies.  These are an all-time favorite when it comes to cookies.  They’re the best of the best, a hit with the Christmas Carolers and any function that involves food.

The recipe says that it yields about 5 dozen but I do good to get 4 dozen. (My crowd LOVES BIG COOKIES!)

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Add eggs and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, beating until blended.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Beat in morsels just until combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a well greased pan or parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 14 minutes or until they’re done to your liking. Remove to wire racks, and cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Grab a glass of milk!!!




Apple Cranberry Crisp

Preserving the Good Life

This is one of those mouth-watering recipes that can be used as a side dish at Thanksgiving, Christmas or as a dessert for any holiday occasion.


  • 3 cups chopped unpeeled apples
  • 2 cups whole raw cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water

Mix together the apples, cranberries and sugar in a casserole dish.  Top with 1/2 cup water.



  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Mix together the topping and sprinkle it over the cranberry, apple mixture.


Bake for 1 hour on 350 degrees.  This is delicious as a side or as a dessert, warmed and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!!!

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Canning Apple Pie Filling

Apple, apples, apples…..just one reason I love FALL!  This is one thing I wish I canned more of; it never fails, we go through apple pie filling quick!  I need to start making double what I think we will use.  It’s just too easy, grab a can of pie filling, throw it in a pie shell, bake and ta-da – Apple Pie!


  • 6 quarts of apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups of Clear Jel (found at most Amish stores)
  • 5 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 7 1/2 cups of apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice
  • 3/4 cup of lemon juice

In a large stock pot mix together Clear Jel, sugar, apple juice, lemon juice and spices.  Stir continually until the Clear Jel begins to thicken, it will look like store bought pie filling.  Once it begins to thicken, add in the apples and continue to stir.  Let all of the ingredients blend well, about 10 minutes.


When it gets to your desired thickness ladle into clean sterile jars leaving a generous 1 inch head space.  Canning with Clear Jel is tricky.  Be sure to leave extra head space, the Clear Jel tends to expand and increase in size as it increases in temperature. Wipe rims with a sterile cloth, place lid and ring and tighten finger tight.   Water bath for 35 minutes.  Let it sit in the canner for a few extra minutes before taking it out to prevent siphoning.


Now you’re one step closer to making the holidays and family get-togethers a little easier.

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