August 2, 2012

Ella’s Kitchen

It has been a long hot, HOT dry summer. Analysts tell us that food prices will be on the rise for some time to come. Maybe we need to go back to some canning and food preservation. The County Extension offices have offered classes this summer. They would have plenty of tips and guides if you are interested. Rock Island County extension office: (309) 756-9978 and Scott County Extension office: (563) 359-7577 I have listed recipes for pickled items, seeds and herbs 7 spices.


[Ella can be contacted at or Ella – 50+ Lifestyles, 804 W Lombard Street, Davenport, IA, 52804]

Pickled Peaches

8 lbs. small peaches 9 Cups sugar
4 long sticks cinnamon 2 qts. vinegar

Select firm, ripe peaches, preferably clingstones. Wash and peel. combine vinegar, sugar and spices and boil 5 minutes. Add the peaches and cook gently until tender, but not broken. Let stand in syrup overnight. Drain the syrup from the peaches. Boil the syrup until almost as thick as honey (3 to 4 hours). Pack peaches in hot jars, cover with hot syrup and seal immediately. This recipe may be used for apples, pears and crabapples. The apples have both skins and stems left on.


Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe (Pepitas)

Don’t toss those pumpkin seeds! Toast or roast pumpkin seeds in your oven in no time at all. They can can be salted or spiced to suit your palate. The shells are edible and are a good source of fiber. Use these methods with other seeds such as acorn squash and butternut squash. Pumpkin seeds are also known as pepitas.

Pumpkin seeds
Cooking spray, olive oil, or butter
Optional: Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, or other
seasoning of choice (I have also used cinnamon and sugar)

Rinse the seeds. Use your fingers to remove all the pulp.
Drain pumpkin seeds and discard pulp. Spread out on a cookie sheet to dry overnight.

Oven method:
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil. Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil, butter, or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat. Bake about 1 hour, tossing every 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool pumpkin seeds before eating. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 months or refrigerate up to 1 year.

Microwave method:
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 8 minutes
Place butter or oil in a microwave-safe, rectangular baking dish. Heat in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add pumpkin seeds and toss to coat. Spread seeds out evenly in the bottom of the dish. Microwave on high about 7 to 8 minutes or until seeds are toasted a light golden color. Be sure to stir every 2 minutes as they are cooking. (Microwave temperatures vary, so keep an eye on them and stir often.) When done, sprinkle with your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat.

Skillet method
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed, dry skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds. Shake and stir the seeds constantly as they are toasting to prevent burning. When the pumpkin seeds begin to get golden, start to pop open, and release their aroma, they are done. Sprinkle hot toasted pumpkin seeds with your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat.