Sweet and Savory Strawberry Season Gems

Strawberry season has always been a favorite time of the year, with a bounty of sweet,

Ready to pick your own berries? The baskets are ready - at Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Ready to pick your own berries? The baskets are ready – at Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

juicy, ruby-red strawberries picked fresh from your backyard patch, at a pick-your-own field or purchased from local farmer’s markets. While growing up I enjoyed a great variety of homemade jams and other strawberry treats.

Strawberries have always provided a sweet gem to be preserved and enjoyed even in the darkest part of winter. And, they are so easy to put up while in season! Cut tops off berries, wash and pat dry, then spread on wax paper-lined baking sheets and place in the freezer. When berries are frozen hard, place in freezer bags or containers and refreeze until ready to use. 

Fresh strawberries help your family eat a diet that is rich in fruits. Enjoy these gems both in savory and dessert foods. Impress guests with a classic shortcake or sink your teeth into something new – strawberry chutney slathered on grilled pork loin. Yum!

 

Old-Fashioned Double-Layer Strawberry Shortcake
A true classic.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 pints of fresh strawberries
  2. ½ cup of sugar if needed
  3. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  4. 4 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 2 tablespoons white sugar
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/3 cup shortening – Lard was the original shortening used – I use Crisco™
  8. 1 egg - beaten
  9. 2/3 cup cold milk
  10. 2 cups whipped heavy cream – don’t cut corners – make your own
Instructions
  1. Slice the strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  3. Grease and flour one 8 inch round cake pan.
  4. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons white sugar and the salt. With a pastry blender cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool partially in pan on wire rack.
  6. Slice partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the berries on one layer of the cake and top with the other layer of cake. Top with remaining berries and cover with the whipped cream.
Lehman's Country Life http://countrylife.lehmans.com/
Fresh Strawberry Chutney
This savory concoction is a wonderful glaze for pork loin roast or grilled pork. It becomes more mellow in flavor the longer it is kept.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 lb strawberries
  2. 1/2 lb onions
  3. 1 lb sugar
  4. 1/2 pint water
  5. 1/2 oz salt
  6. 1 tbsp ground ginger
  7. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  8. 1 pint vinegar
Instructions
  1. Top the berries, and chop roughly. Chop the onions finely and cook with the berries in the water until they are well softened. Add the other ingredients, and simmer until the chutney becomes thick, stirring occasionally. Bottle while hot and cover immediately.
Lehman's Country Life http://countrylife.lehmans.com/
Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie
I love this recipe for a breakfast on the go. No sugar is a big help if you’re diabetic like I am.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  2. ½ to 1 cup fresh or frozen berries
  3. Banana - can use frozen in slices or fresh
  4. (Add other soft fruit as desired, in season: peach, apricot, plum, blueberries, raspberries)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. No sugar is needed because of the natural sweetness of the fruit.
Lehman's Country Life http://countrylife.lehmans.com/

Amish Family Brings an Iconic Brand Back to the USA

Editor’s Note: Generations of lumberjacks have relied on the iconic Snow & Nealley® axes (known for their superior craftsmanship). But when they closed their doors, these axes disappeared. Wanting to bring back this legacy, an Amish man and his sons bought the company. Now all the axes are 100% made in the USA, continuing the tradition that started in 1864.

Since 1864, American-made axes have been made in Maine by Snow and

Originally designed for trappers, hunters and fisherman, the Hudson Bay camping axe is a durable, dependable tool for all around around the cabin and campsite. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Originally designed for trappers, hunters and fisherman, the Hudson Bay camping axe is a durable, dependable tool for all around the cabin and campsite. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Nealley®, a company that built an iconic following over more than 150 years. Nowadays, the company name is the same, but the owners are…Amish.

“That’s right,” confirmed Chris, who calls himself “the chief cook and bottlewasher here”, with a laugh. “The business was purchased by the family, and we’re forging and assembling axes right here, just like it used to be.” (He’s asked us not to publish his last name, and we’ve agreed.)

There are 6 to 7 employees working full time on any given day, he notes. With a staff that small, it’s easy to see how each can have multiple roles. Chris himself is responsible for sales and shipping, including the company’s brochures and outside communications. Continue reading

4 Tasty Sides For Your Memorial Day Picnic

This year, forget the plain old baked beans, coleslaw, and chips and dip. THESE are the 

60th cookbookcrowd-pleasers you’ll want for your Memorial Day barbeque, picinic or gathering. (Hint: They might turn into the ones you’ll use all summer long.) All 4 recipes – plus several hundred more – can be found in Lehman’s Diamond Jubilee Cookbook. Happy Memorial Day!

 

 

 

Chilled Spring Pea Salad
Very easy - just thaw frozen peas, combine ingredients, chill and enjoy.
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Ingredients
  1. 1-16 oz. pkg. frozen baby peas, thawed
  2. 1/2 c. diced celery
  3. 1/2 c. diced red onion
  4. 2 oz. Hormel bacon pieces
  5. 1-8 oz. sour cream
  6. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a large serving bowl and stir gently to combine. Chill for about 1 hour before serving.
Adapted from Lehman's Diamond Jubilee Cookbook
Adapted from Lehman's Diamond Jubilee Cookbook
Lehman's Country Life http://countrylife.lehmans.com/
Yogurt Dill Potato Salad
Yields 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs. unpeeled redskin potatoes
  2. 1 c. plain low-fat yogurt (Greek or regular)
  3. 2 T. mayonnaise
  4. 1 T. cider vinegar
  5. 1 T. Dijon mustard
  6. 3 green onions, chopped
  7. 2 ribs celery, diced
  8. 1 1/2 T. chopped fresh dill
  9. 1 T. chopped fresh parsley
  10. 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  11. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  12. 1/2 tsp. salt
  13. 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Scrub and remove any bad spots from potatoes. Leave skins on. Steam or boil whole potatoes until fork-tender in centers. Cool. Chop into 3/4"-1" chunks. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, stirring until mixed. Add potatoes and stir to combine. Cover and chill at least 4 hours (best if chilled overnight). After the chill time, if creamier consistency is desired, you may stir in a few tablespoons milk or more yogurt, 1 tablespoon at a time. For garnigh, sprinkle with additional chopped dill, parsley and green onions, if desired.
Adapted from Lehman's Diamond Jubilee Cookbook
Adapted from Lehman's Diamond Jubilee Cookbook
Lehman's Country Life http://countrylife.lehmans.com/
Glorified Baked Beans
A longer baking time requires some planning, but it is so worth it!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 can kidney beans, drained
  2. 1 can green beans, drained
  3. 1 can yellow wax beans, drained
  4. 1 can lima beans, drained
  5. 1 can baked beans or pork and beans
  6. 1 can tomato sauce
  7. 1 c. chopped onion
  8. 1 c. brown sugar, packed
  9. 1 lb. Italian sausage
  10. 1/2 to 1 lb. sliced bacon
Instructions
  1. Brown sausage, drain well and cut into small round slices. Mix everything, except bacon, in a large casserole dish or Dutch Oven. Cover top of mixture with sliced bacon. Bake at 250 degrees for 5-6 hours.
Adapted from Lehman's Diamond Jubilee Cookbook
Adapted from Lehman's Diamond Jubilee Cookbook
Lehman's Country Life http://countrylife.lehmans.com/
Black Bean and Mango Salsa
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Ingredients
  1. 1-15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  2. 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  3. 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  4. 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  5. 4 green onions, chopped
  6. 1/4 c. Italian vinaigrette dressing
  7. 1 T. fresh lime juice
  8. 2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  9. 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  10. 1/2 tsp. seasoned pepper
  11. 1/2 tsp. hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Chill at least one hour. Serve with tortilla chips.
Adapted from Lehman's Diamond Jubilee Cookbook
Adapted from Lehman's Diamond Jubilee Cookbook
Lehman's Country Life http://countrylife.lehmans.com/

Blackstrap Molasses: 4 Recipes to Try and Love

Blackstrap molasses just might be the new darling of the health-conscious, hipster foodie

Blackstrap molasses gives you more nutrients and flavor than its regular cousin. At Lehmans.com at our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Blackstrap molasses gives you more nutrients and flavor than its regular cousin. At Lehmans.com at our store in Kidron, Ohio.

crowd. But the fact is, it’s been around for ages, and generations have used it not only as a cooking ingredient, but also as a health tonic. We’re not claiming any medical miracles, but blackstrap molasses is higher in iron, potassium and calcium than the ordinary stuff. It’s considered the healthiest of the molasses since most of the sugar has been removed during the boiling process, while the nutrients and minerals remain. (While regular molasses is boiled twice, blackstrap molasses goes through three boilings.)

It also has a stronger, more robust flavor –  ideal for that tired old baked bean recipe and other dishes that beg for a little “kick.” Taste the difference by using blackstrap molasses in place of regular in your favorite recipe! Or, try one of these:

Continue reading

Kidron: Our Home, Our Heritage

Kidron.  I first heard the word when one of Dad’s cousins, Mark Ross, was visiting our KidronSignNewfamily at Elida, Ohio.  I was a boy, and we were living on a farm, the only residence on the very short Neff Road.  Mark was making his rounds visiting friends and selling his own special mix of cereal made from multiple grains and seeds.  He ground it himself, and marketed it as Morning Cheer.  It was delicious —especially on cold winter mornings — with honey and fresh whole milk from Pogey, our Jersey cow.

Mark lived in the village of Kidron, in Wayne County, Ohio.  It was just another fairly obscure little town out there somewhere in the middle of farmland.   He told us about the Amish, and described how they dress, and how they used horses and buggies for transportation.  He explained how they were a plain people, living simple lives.   I liked that.  Living like my Grandparents had lived.  I wished we had a horse and buggy. Continue reading

A Mother’s Lament

As a daughter, I often wondered why my mother did things the way she did…was she just holding handstrying to torture me? Or was there a method to her madness? Now that I am a mother myself, I understand why Moms do the things they do.

I used to wonder why my mother ruined every chocolate chip cookie recipe by adding wheat germ. Now that I am a mother, I put bran in my son’s applesauce, broccoli in his mashed potatoes and beans in his rice.

I used to wonder why my mother never let us watch Charlie’s Angels, Starskey and Hutch or a thousand other TV shows that all my friends got to watch. Now that I am a mother, I know the value of PBS, Veggie Tales and quiet time with a good book about backhoes and bulldozers. Continue reading

Eating Wild: Burn Jack

Does the title ring a bell? Probably not. I have nothing against Jack, and do not want to stinging nettlesburn him. I learned the meaning of the words when I was probably five or six years old, and had just discovered the “benefits” of a plant that grows wild in pastures and near streams. “Burn Jack” is apparently a localized moniker for a plant that the rest of the world knows as stinging nettles.

I was hiking with my brothers one day, and wearing shorts. Normally shorts weren’t allowed for conservative Mennonite children, accept by the very young, and I guess I hadn’t crossed the line into puberty yet. Suddenly, my legs were burning! My tender young skin felt like it was on fire, and I ran to the house, bawling my eyeballs out. Continue reading

Happy National Pet Week: Your Dog’s Most-Wanted Toy

Yep, it’s a stick. But…it’s not just a stick. It’s the best stick your dog will ever fetch.fetchinstixx

Those of us who have owned retrievers of any kind know the stamina of these amazing dogs to fetch and bring back…fetch and bring back…fetch and bring back. My husband and I used to say our yellow lab was a bit like a small child shouting, “Again! Again! Again!” after being tossed in the air or tickled or something else they really liked. After all, retrieving is in their blood. It’s what they were made for. But lots of other breeds love to play fetch, too. (That’s why this specialized stick comes in two sizes – for for dogs 25-50 lb, and for dogs 50 lb and up.)

This stick has a story. Like many of us humans, the creator of Fetchin’ Sticks battled bouts of depression. Maxx, the golden retriever he had rescued years before from Continue reading

Eating a Haystack

Each April, Lehman’s branch store, Mt. Hope Hardware, hosts its annual Customer Appreciation

Lehman's President Galen Lehman is about to enjoy his haystack dinner.

Lehman’s President Galen Lehman is about to enjoy his haystack dinner.

Event. Loyal local customers look forward to the many special sales and promotions, but a big highlight of the event is the haystack dinner, which is served free to the public.

Haystack dinners are part of our local Amish and Mennonite culture, and they are very popular as community fundraisers for neighbors and families in need.

Really a glorified taco salad, haystacks have been around for at least few generations, although no one seems to remember how long exactly. A quick Internet search reveals that, besides the Amish/Mennonite community, the Mormons and Seventh-Day Adventists around the U.S. also love their haystacks – but
they all contain different ingredients.  Continue reading

Growing Great Asparagus

I’ve been learning a lot about permaculture in the past decade and while I subscribe to asparagus tipsmany of the theories, I do worry that many people who could benefit are turned off by the intensity of people teaching the subject. You don’t actually need classes or certificates nor do you need to dig up your entire backyard. It’s possible to engage in permaculture just by using plant varieties that will provide a source of food over decades.

One of our most productive, perennial food sources is asparagus. We put in bed in many years ago. Each spring we indulge. We eat asparagus steamed, roasted and chilled with a vinaigrette. When we tire of eating it fresh, we dry some (read on for how-to) for winter soups and pickle some, too. Asparagus is also easily frozen.

How to Start and Maintain an Asparagus Bed

A well-planned, well-maintained asparagus bed will produce every spring for decades! Asparagus needs full sun and should begin in a spot with a rich, sandy loam. It gets tall when it goes to seed, so don’t plant it where it will shade other sun-loving plants. You can start from seed (I have a tray of seeds starting right now) but you’ll wait a long time for your first meal. Most people choose to start with roots. They are usually sold in bunches of 25.  Continue reading