Saturday, September 12, 2015


The aroma in the farmhouse sure is SPICY! I've been drying all kinds of hot peppers...Habanero, Poblano, Chili, Jalapeno, and Anaheims. Come on into the farmhouse to see what I'm doing with them!

I can tell it's hot pepper (and itchy okra) season as the number of disposable gloves being used and left on my front porch (yes, we're still packing vegetables on our porch) is increasing. The boys are constantly asking me if I have a pair of gloves for them to use. I point to my box of size smalls under the sink and they try to SQUEEEEZE into them. It's funny to watch! I wonder where their size large box is?

Okay...these aren't hot peppers,
but are my favorite lunchbox peppers.
But really, I do love hot pepper season. I really enjoy how God puts color in our's like music for my eyes! The  oranges, and yellows harmonize with the reds, greens, making the racks in my oven come alive.

I've been drying tray after tray (commercial sized) of peppers to make our hot pepper seasoning that we sell during the fall and winter months. It adds LIFE to omlets, soups, Mexican dishes...just about anything!

You can do this too! Ideally you can use a food dehydrator, but if you don't have one here are a few of my "tricks".

Always use rubber/latex gloves when working
with ANY hot pepper. Never put your hand to your
face...did I say NEVER!? I mean never!
These Hobanero peppers are the hottest we grow.

1. Gather your tools: cutting board, sharp knife, colander, plate or tea towel, cake cooling racks, cookie pan, & RUBBER GLOVES.

2. Place your peppers into the colander and rinse them under running water. Shake the colander over the sink. Place the towel or plate under the colander and move to the cutting board.

3. Remove the stem end of the pepper by cutting right below the stem. Next, slice the pepper in half lengthwise.

4. If you want a mild seasoning, remove the seeds, and ribs from inside the pepper. If you'd like it medium, remove some of the seeds, but not overly careful to get them clean. For a hot mixture, just slice the tops of the peppers and dry them seeds and all.

5.  DRY:.

 In a CONVECTION OVEN, place sliced peppers on a cooling rack with a cookie tray placed under it. Place the tray in the oven and turn the controls to Convection ~ Warm (or slightly under 200 degrees). Prop the door to your oven open with a wooden spoon (or the equivilent). Turn on the exhaust fan so your family is not run out of the house!

In an ELECTRIC OVEN, do the same thing as described above, then turn the control to 150 degrees. Prop your door open again. Set a timer for 1 hour. Check the peppers to make sure the oven temperature is right. Your goal is to dry them as quick as possible, preserving the vitamins and minerals, but not too quickly to kill them either. Since there isn't a fan to circulate the air, it's important to turn your trays and stir your vegetables occasionally. Remove the peppers as they dry.

Chili Peppers

Most literature recommends parboiling vegetables before dehydrating. I do not do this. We haven't died yet...we eat a variety of dried vegetables in soups, stews and in spice mixes all winter.  I found it took much longer to prepare & dehydrate without noticeable benefits.

 I'm not against all the new safety steps the Universities recommend, but I learned to preserve food from the older mountain women who had been doing it long before the university stepped in to "educate" them. I used to watch them smile as they listened attentively, and then continue to can, freeze, and dry their food as they had for decades. I do make a few adaptions that have to be made for canning the new-fangled tomatoes with lower acid levels. But I haven't given way to the pressure canner yet. We raise and preserve our food with an eye on retaining as much of the vitamins and minerals while being as safe as possible.

Miss Bobby  learned to can
okra in the farmhouse kitchen
this week. From the look on her
face I think she loved it!

Life gets "spicy" at times too doesn't it? It's not just the fiery temperatures at times this summer that have made my life "spicy"...circumstances beyond my control...relationships that heat up...time pressures that put us in crunch mode...and other people's expectations of me and my family have made my life "spicy". 

A "spicy" life isn't necessarily a bad thing. It means that I'm being stretched to do what God is directing me to deal with. The Holy Spirit has helped me to face things I'd rather avoid lately...maybe that's why He lovingly turns up the heat a bit. 

Is your life "spicy" at times? Sometimes the "heat" seems almost overpowering? Decide to look at the circumstances as Christ does...a chance to grow closer to trust His provision of safety and see life through another's eyes and feel their learn to run to the safety of His presence. I said "decide" because we naturally may begin to grumble and feel sorry for ourselves if we don't. 

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame be kindled upon thee." Isaiah 43:2

Scenes From the Farm This Week
Freshly made bread ready for the Crossville
 Sustainable Farmer's Market.

French Baguettes baking in the oven.

Freshly baked and at market within 2 hours!

Allison & Faith Anne made blueberry
muffins for the hungry work crew
Friday evening.

The Farmer's Wife watering the broilers.

The broilers were taken to be
processed this week.
That means there will be
plenty of chicken at the markets
this week!
We raise our broiler chickens in moveable
pens. They get fresh grass and non-soy,
non-GMO feed daily. 

Farmer Steve cleaning crates. God helped
wash them as showers set in. 

Faith Anne, Levi, and Charity in the background
all cooked together several times this week.

Love is still in the air around
the farm. Isaac and Destany
have set their wedding date.
February 13, 2016

Each Wednesday morning we are open
for on-farm sales. Come on out and
visit on the front porch from 10:30 till noon.

What's for breakfast? Breakfast Burritos were served
one morning. I simply added taco spices to our home
canned pinto beans mixed with breakfast sausage. I also
scrambled a dozen eggs to add to the burrito.
I then chopped up seasonal vegetables such as tomatoes,
sweet & hot peppers, onions, along with our salsa, shredded cheese
and yogurt.

Warm flour tortillas. Lay a small line of seasoned
beans with a small strip of scrambled eggs on top.

We passed the vegetables around the table and let
everyone create their own breakfast burrito. 

My glutton free "burrito"
was made in a hollow tomato.
Since pepper season is in full swing,
my next one will be made in a red or yellow
sweet pepper! 

Abundant Blessings,
The Farmer & The Farmer's Wife
   Steve                    Val