Monday, October 11, 2010

Jalapeno Jam Anyone? (With How-To Video)

So, what does one do with over 900 jalapenos?  Make jam!  Well, not with all of them, just some.  The last peck of peppers from my organic garden was sitting on the counter last night and they were screaming to be processed.  The teen was rather adamant that she needed more jam.  I smelled an opportunity.  An opportunity for a How To video.  So here goes... Let me know what you think, let your voice be heard.

1 LB Jalapenos

This recipe makes about 9 jars of jam (8 oz. size jars).
Some of the Basics


  • 1 LB Jalapenos
  • 2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 6 Cups sugar
  • 1 Box Pectin (Powder)
Before starting, make sure your jars are clean and ready to receive this yummy jam.


  • Fill your canning pot with water and get it started boiling.  We do this first because it can take a while for the water to boil.
  • De-seed the jalapenos and process in food processor.  Sometimes it helps to add up to 1/4 cup of the apple cider vinegar to the jalapenos in the food processor.
  • In a large pot combine; jalapenos, apple cider vinegar and pectin.  Bring this to a full rolling boil.
  • While the jam is getting hot, place the jar lids (in their rings) in hot water.  This will soften the rubber seals and get them ready for the canning process.
  • When the jalapeno mixture has come to a full rolling boil, add the 6 cups of sugar and stir until fully dissolved.  Bring to a full rolling boil.
  • After the jam has come to a boil that can not be stirred down, set the timer for 4 minutes. Keep stirring!
  • After the four minutes, turn off the burner and ladle the hot jam into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
  • Adjust two piece lid/ring (finger tight) and place in boiling water bath.
  • Process for 10 minutes then remove from canner.  Place the hot jars on a towel to cool.
  • When the lids have "snapped", this indicates that the jar is sealed.  Remove ring.
 Try not to disturb the jam too much for the first 24 hours, this will allow the jam to set properly.  If after any jars have not sealed, reprocess them for another 10 minutes.
    Snack Time!
    Enjoy this jam with peanut butter or pour it over a brick of cream cheese and serve with crackers or tortilla chips!!  Leave a comment, how do you like your jalapeno jam served?

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Soap, Soap & More Soap! Part III (Dishwasher Detergent)

    I Always Do Dishes In My Heals!
    I was on the phone with my girlfriend, Six, the other day...  Really, I do call her Six.  If I refer to her by her given name, my family has no idea of whom I am speaking.  Anyway, I digress.  When I asked what she was doing, she replied, "Making dish soap."  Really?  Dish soap?  More specifically, she was about to mix a batch of dishwasher detergent.  O.K., now I am intrigued.  After finding out what ingredients she was using, I was grinning from ear to ear.  The ultra cool thing here is that I all ready had the required ingredients on hand.  I use them to make my homemade laundry detergent.  And wouldn't you just know it, we had just used the last of the dishwasher soap the night before.  Experiment time!  Cool!

    Team Dishwasher
    One load later, I was impressed.


    • 1 Cup Arm&Hammer Super Washing Soda
    • 1 Cup Borax
    • 1 TBSP Regular Dishwashing Soap (optional)

    Mix all ingredients and keep in a sealable container.  Use 2 TBSP of detergent per dishwasher load. For an even better, super spot-free rinse, use white vinegar in the rinse-aid reservoir.

    Them's some clean dishes!

    For around $1, I made enough detergent for 48 dishwasher loads.  Top that Cascade!

    Soap, Soap & More Soap! Part II (Fabric Softener)

    So, now we are saving millions of dollars and our clothes are much cleaner, all because we are making our own laundry detergent...  How about some inexpensive fabric softener recipes?  Yes, yes & yes!

    Recipe #1


    • 1 Cup White Vinegar


    Add the vinegar to the rinse cycle (I put it in the fabric softener dispenser thingy of the washing machine).  Works Great.  Removes residue and odors and also helps to keep the washing machine and hoses fresh and clean too.  I have to admit I was concerned about any vinegar smell.  There is a slight vinegar fragrance as the clothing leaves the washer but, by the time they come out of the dryer...  Mmmmmmm, an ultra fresh scent!  For around $1.60 or less per gallon, this is the way to go.

    Easy "Dryer Sheets"
    Recipe #2

    • 1 Container of your favorite, name brand, liquid fabric softener.
    • 1 Sponge (cut in half)

    In a container (with lid) of your choosing, mix 3 parts water to 1 part liquid fabric softener.  Add sponge pieces.  When ready to use, wring out excess liquid from one sponge and use as you would a dryer sheet.  After the load is dry, return said sponge to the diluted fabric softener.
    These silly things last FOREVER and do not shed all over the laundry.  The fabric softener bottle pictured is still just over half full and has lasted over 6 months now.  Ummm, $7 a year for "dryer sheets"???  OK!

    Soap, Soap & More Soap! Part I (Laundry)

    On my journey to becoming the Proverbs 31 wife, there are many ideas/things that I have just needed to "get over".  It may sound silly, but making my own laundry detergent was one of them.  In the past, I have been a VERY brand loyal person.  I find a brand of something that I absolutely adore and that's it, I'm usually purchasing close to their entire line of products.  For instance Dove; shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bar soap.  You get the drift.

    So here I am at 38, very stuck in my ways, and there is no one who is going to convince me that making my own laundry detergent is a good thing.  Here were my arguments against even trying it;

    1. It does not clean as well as the stuff I use now.  (Wrong!  It cleans way better than the national brand.)
    2. It will take to long to make.  (Wrong!  Normally one batch can be made in five minutes.)
    3. Only those weird homeschool people do this.  (REALLY!?!!?  I think most of my girlfriends are homeschool moms.  None of them are any stranger than me.)
    4. I really will not save any money.  (WRONG!  this stuff is way less expensive than my precious Tide and Oxy Clean.)
    You can see where this is going.  Long story short, after having three friends and one sister-in-law tell me how great this stuff works, how easy it is to make and how little cost goes into it...  I had to see what all the fuss was about.  Wow!  The clothes have never been cleaner.  And the money I save!  We do alot of laundry around here.  We are a family of five and hubby/daddy is a mechanic, you can imagine the stuff that gets ground into his uniforms.  I need something GOOD and this is it.
    Three Simple Ingredients

    Powdered Laundry Detergent - Top Load Machine


    • 1 Bar Fels-Naptha Soap
    • 1 Cup Arm&Hammer Super Washing Soda
    • 1/2 Cup Borax
    Grate soap or cut into small chunks and process in the food processor until it is as close to a powder as it can be.  Do not use the blender.  I tried it once. Something about the shape and the heat from the blender, kind of melted the soap pieces and they got really sticky and clumpy.  Next, just mix all the ingredients, place them in a container that will seal, and GO DO SOME LAUNDRY.
    For a light load, use 1 TBSP of detergent.
    For a heavy or soiled load, use 2 TBSP of detergent.

    This detergent will not foam like the national brand does.  It contains no phosphates and phosphates are what foams up in regular detergents.

    *  Use Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda", not regular baking soda.
    **  You may replace the Fels-Naptha with; Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castle or Zote.  Do not use heavily perfumed soap.

    I still use bleach in the bleach load.  Call me old fashioned but, bleach=clean/white.

    All these ingredients can usually be found in the laundry isle at major grocery stores or Wal-Mart.  I order the Fels-Naptha by the case (24 bars) at my local Do It Best hardware store.  I get the case discount so the soap ends up costing me $1.19 per bar.  They have it shipped to the store and I pay no shipping.

    Also, keep a bar of the Fels-Naptha unwrapped next to your laundry sink.  It is the best stain remover EVER.  Just dampen the stain, scrub with the Fels-Naptha bar, rinse, repeat & rub with the soap again.  Let the garment sit or throw it into the washing machine with the extra soap still in it.

    This recipe cost around $2 to make and will wash around 40 loads of laundry.