The Amish Cook, Week of September 17, 2012: Homemade Salsa!

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THE AMISH COOK

.BY LOVINA EICHER

I decided to write this column while my red beets are cooking.  I cook them long enough so that the skin peels off easily.  I want to make pickled red beets to put in cans.  We will serve those for lunch when we have church services next spring. I also have several more buckets of tomatoes ready to put into juice.  With these tomatoes I’ll have well over 100 quarts of juice canned already along with 80 pints of salsa so far.  I’ll keep putting tomatoes into jars until it frosts which I am expecting early this year.

Daughter Loretta’s surgery went well on Monday.  She has hard casts on both legs up to her knees.

She isn’t allowed to put weight onto her feet for four weeks until the casts are removed.  She will then have walking casts for 2 to 4 weeks and will need therapy.  During that time we want to go her AFO  (ankle-foot orthotic) braces ordered.  That way they will be ready when the walking casts are off.  Loretta is in a wheelchair so she needs help to get to bed and to the bathroom.  Time is already going slow for her but plans are to go back to school next Tuesday.  There isn’t any school on Monday so she’ll have an extra day home.  The school will send a handicapped bus so it will be easier to get her wheelchair off.

Our fourth cutting of hay was put in last night.  Hay prices are still very high.  Jacob, Emma, and family and Elizabeth’s friend Timothy and Susan’s friend Mose assisted us with the hay.  For supper we had barbecued hamburger and ribs, potatoes, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, and ice cream cake.  The ice cream cake was brought by Jacob’s in honor of their oldest daughter Elizabeth’s 16th birthday.  It is something different for Emma and Jacob to have a child old enough to be with the youth.  (Editor’s Note:  at age 16, Amish children are able to attend the young person’s gatherings)

Joe doesn’t have work tomorrow so he plans to till up the garden parts that are done for the year.  Tonight he will go fishing with Timothy.  That is always relaxing to him and especially with the hay being in the barn.

Sunday we attended church in a neighboring community that brother Albert’s lives in.  We attended the baptismal services for Albert’s daughter Irene.  We hired a driver to take us as it was 22 miles from our house.

We have three wedding invitations on our refrigerator.  Congratulations go to Delmar and Polly who will be united in marriage on September 19.  Also to Clyde and Dora who will unite their lives as one on September 27. Both the grooms work at the same factory as Joe does.  And we were surprised to receive an invitation to the wedding of Menno and Maggie on October 6.  Menno’s father, Leander, would be a cousin to Joe.  They grew up together and made many memories. We wish God’s blessings to all the couples and wish them many happy health years together.  It seems short years ago that our own wedding day was and it has already been 19 years.

On a sadder note our thoughts travel to dear Mother’s death 10 years ago on September 17.  I often wish my younger children would have been able to meet their grandmother. She was a wonderful person and will always be greatly missed.  I will say the words she often said   “God makes no mistakes.”

With us being in the middle of salsa season, I thought I’d share my recipe.  After making the salsa, I can mine so it keeps longer. But you can freeze this and you can also cut the recipe way down to family size and serve immediately, this doesn’t have to be stored.

HOMEMADE SALSA

14 pounds of tomatoes, scalded, peeled and cut up

10 green peppers, chopped
5 cups onions, chopped
1 cup vinegar
2 ounces of hot peppers, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons oregano flakes
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
10 tablespoons Clear Jel (mixed with 3 cups water)

In a saucepan, mix all of the above ingredients, except for the Clear Jel.  Cook contents of saucepan on low heat on the stove top for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.   In  a separate bowl, mix Clear-Jel and water and stir until dissolved. Add the Clear-Jel mixture and cook for 5 more minutes. If you are canning the salsa, cold-pack it for 20 minutes.  Or freeze it for use later.  If you are making a smaller batch, cool to room temperature and serve.
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The Discussion

  1. Linda from KY says:


    I’m thankful that Loretta’s surgery went well. Continued prayers for her recovery, and that she’s able to endure it with patience. Congrats to all the young couples on their weddings. My son and daughter-in-law will be celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary at the end of September.

    Yesterday was my son’s 9th birthday. It sounds like you have a niece with the same birthday, unless I read that wrong. :)

    My prayers are with you as you remember your mother’s passing 10 years ago. It’s such a bittersweet thing to recall a loved one’s death. There are such happy memories, but it doesn’t stop us from missing them. My father died 7 years ago on the 25th of this month. In life, there is joy and sorrow both. I believe that if God didn’t allow us the sorrows in life, we wouldn’t appreciate the joys as much as we do.

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  2. I am glad to hear that Loretta’s surgery went well. I work for a newspaper in Iowa that runs Lovina’s column, and I’ve been following the story of Loretta’s surgery with interest, as I had the same surgery done when I was 14 (which was 11 years ago), so I can relate to what she’s going through.

    It will be tough, but with hard work and faith, I know she can pull through it and get through her therapy. I’ll be praying for her and keeping her in my thoughts.

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  3. Reading this column once again breaks my heart, in regards to Amish behavior. I spent 2-1/2 years very conservative Amish, but decided that there were some things I could not give up without a direct Bible verse commanding it. I looked at many other Amish groups, I found that so many of them accept the hypocrisy of refusing to open their own businesses on Sunday, while hiring automobile drivers to drive them around for visiting or church on the same Sunday. I have learned directly that some Amish now pay these drivers on Sunday, too. Many of these drivers are professional Amish chauffeurs. Why the Amish cannot see this as hypocrisy is beyond me. A study of the words hypocrisy and hypocrite leave one believing that no true believer wants it to be associated with him/herself and that this behavior is definitely that. Reading that Lovina’s family also participates in this is very disappointing. My heart grieves for these misguided, but wonderful people. I wish God would open their spiritual eyes and that they would repent.

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    • I am not going to say that there isn’t hypocrisy found among the Amish as there is among ANY religious group, or among any people. The Amish church is made up of people and any behaviors you find elsewhere, you’ll find among the Amish. In defense of Lovina, and other Amish who may hire a driver on a Sunday, they are not saying that YOU shouldn’t work on Sundays. As someone who was once in a conservative Amish church, you know that the Amish are not evangelicals. They are not saying that we ALL need to ditch our cars for buggies, our computers for paper and pen, etc…IF they were doing that, then that would be hypocrisy, but Lovina has never said that no one should ever work on Sunday. What she – and other Amish – say is “we won’t work on Sunday”, but it’s okay if you do. That’s not hypocrisy, it’s personal preference.

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      • Thanks for replying, Kevin.

        I have had this discussion with many progressive Amish, and have not changed one mind, as if it was possible for an outsider to do that amongst the Amish! They are many low Amish that agree with my position. I have talked to many non-Amish people that send lots of time with the Amish that agree with me too, and there are some that do not.

        I reread the verses about hypocrisy and read a dictionary definition of it and I cannot agree with your response. I cannot excuse hypocrisy by calling it ‘personal preference’. I do see an Amish influence in your response and it again shows me why I never was comfortable with high Amish. I wish Lovina and her family well, as I also do you and the continued success of the column and website. I will not argue this further here.

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    • Amen / Well Put ! Eli

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  4. thank you for the update on Loretta’s surgery.
    are the new braces something she will be using permanently or is this for the therapy period ? I am so glad there is something that can be done for her condition. Give her our best.

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  5. Barb Wright says:


    So happy that the surgery was successful! I hope there is alot of planned activity for a restless child..they can’t be still very long!! Must be the drought didn’t hit as hard where the Eicher’s live. We were only able to do two cuttings of hay this year. Fortunately,we have a neighbor willing to sell us 300 bales,because we just bought another cow and a team of haflingers(horses,if you didn’t know). I am now looking for a sleigh!! We are planning on using them next year at Punkin Patch,but this year they are too new. We and them must get used to one another. I am done with tomatoes..FINALLY! Today,I did grape juice. Soon will be squash…canning seems endless at times. However,it’s all good when the cold winds blow the snow around the corner!!

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  6. Re. Lance’s statements about Amish behaviors.
    Although I would find it very hard to adapt fully to the Amish way of living, I have very high regards for them. I agree with Keven, you will find hypcorisy among any religious group. No matter who they are. Five years or so ago I did not know what Amish were about. I found some Amish novels and really enjoyed reading them, Which enticed me to study the Amish. These studies
    helped me a lot to realize by not putting so much importance on material possesions, and taking time to be what I need to be to my friends and family
    has enriched my life considerably. I really enjoy reading your columns Keven, and the Amish cook, etc. It is a breath of fresh air in a world where so many things are going wrong. I am not sure what Lance meant by they need to repent. Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinion I guess. Take care.

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  7. Angela Bjelland says:


    I was very happy to hear that Loretta’s surgery went well. Surgery can be very scary to any family. I was very upset by Lance’s little “snit fit”. It seems that he enjoys tearing down how others believe and how others live. He keeps trying to use big words to make himself look intelligent. So very sad that he has to look down on others to make himself feel big.Oh well, there is always one, isn’t there!? On the other hand, Kevin, we look forward to and enjoy these columns. It reminds us that people can be loving and caring in this day and age. Lovina and her family are inspirational to many!!

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  8. I have been reading the Amish Cook column for 15 years on and off. When it is has been available to me, I found it is to be enjoyable reading from a person I would consider a co-religionist. The point of the story of Cain and Abel is that we are our brother’s keepers. As a co-religionist with Lovina’s family, I was doing Christian duty as best as I am able as since Kevin has done a great job at keeping Lovina’s location private. Since I cannot contact them, I expressed my views here. It is so very unfortunate that people who I have never met would react with such meanness and rudeness to my first ever comments on this website. I abhor the faceless flaming and slandering that internet forums and comment sections have become, hence the last line of my second post. I meant no one ill will, or slander. It is also so very sad to me that no one saw my comments as lament to a loss of a closer walk with God, a loss of righteous that Amish all used to have but are slowly giving up as they drift into the world. I apologize to all for this misunderstanding and especially to Kevin and Lovina and her family. I forgive those who responded with meanness where none was intended on my part and wish God’s blessing on you all.

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    • Angela Bjelland says:


      The reason you are getting the reaction you have recieved is the way you have come across. No one is “slandering” you, just stating how it has been taken. If that is NOT how you have meant it, then I apologize. I do not like when I feel people are being “picked on” and that is how your original comment came across. I do my best not to get snippy, but to err is human. We just have to keep trying to walk in God’s path, even if we step off of it for a second. I tend to get defensive which is still a stronghold I am trying to tear down. So, blessings back…sorry for the misunderstanding.

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    • The thing is Lance, you chose to post on a public forum.

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  9. Marilyn from NY says:


    I love Lovina’s Mother’s ” God makes no mistakes.” That was one of my Mother’s favorites sayings. My Mother passed away many years ago. When ever we would ask Mom why this happened or that happened-that’s what Mom would say.
    Marilyn

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