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Amish Kitchen: Sweet memories during times of loss can help ease the pain

Police officer jumps into Amish buggy to stop a runaway horse

An Ohio trooper in Wooster jumps into an Amish buggy that was being pulled by a runaway horse. The owner of the horse reportedly said the horse had been frightened by a loud noise.
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An Ohio trooper in Wooster jumps into an Amish buggy that was being pulled by a runaway horse. The owner of the horse reportedly said the horse had been frightened by a loud noise.

It’s a beautiful Tuesday morning with lots of sunshine. How we treasure mornings and days like this.

We didn’t wash laundry on Monday because of the dreary, rainy weather. Today, we were blessed with a nice day to dry the laundry.

This afternoon I will take son Kevin for his therapy appointment and get some groceries while I’m in town.

Last week, husband Joe’s Uncle Phillip was laid to rest, and now we receive the sad news of another family member who has died. My Aunt Lizzie, 85, died on Monday, and her funeral will be held in Bryant, Indiana.

Aunt Lizzie was my mother’s only brother Chris’ wife. Uncle Chris and her son Danny preceded her in death. She leaves to mourn nine more children, 73 grandchildren and 99 great-grandchildren.

I have so many memories of Uncle Chris, Aunt Lizzie and family from my younger years. We would help each other with hog butchering, putting up hay and so on.

And every year we would make gallons and gallons of apple cider at Uncle Chris’ house. The evening before we would gather around their big kitchen table and peel apples for apple butter day the next day.

Uncle Chris would cook down the apples in his big outdoor copper kettle, making the perfect-tasting apple butter. The apple butter would be processed into canning jars and everyone took their share home.

apple.schnitzing_GrantBeachy.jpg
It takes many hands to schnitz — peel, core and slice — enough apples for apple butter. Apples, cider and sugar are traditionally cooked in a kettle over a fire for many hours until the mixture is reduced to a thick, creamy consistency. Grant Beachy MennoMedia

In my growing-up years, we always had a dish of apple butter on the table. Apple butter sandwiches were also a snack we would have when coming home from school hungry.

Another fond memory I have of Uncle Chris and Aunt Lizzie is driving with them to church with their team of horses and their big bobsled. They would come driving in on a cold snowy Sunday morning on their way to church and take our family along.

Uncle Chris would be standing in the front driving the team. He would always wear a long black wool overcoat in the winter. Bales of straw were stacked on either side of the bobsled where my mother, dad, Aunt Lizzie and all of us children snuggled under big buggy robes to keep us warm.

After Joe and I were married, Uncle Chris and Aunt Lizzie would stop in for a short visit if they were driving by. Aunt Lizzie was always more quiet but always friendly. She will be missed by many. Our sympathy goes to the family.

How well I know what they are going through to be without parents. God helps us through these trials of life.

My sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob, brother Albert and Sarah, and Joe and I have plans to drive together to the funeral. I am so glad that we have others to go along with us so the cost isn’t as much. Traveling to Ohio alone was quite expensive, but we want to attend the funerals if we can to show our support.

God will bless us in another way if we do a good deed.

We enjoyed helping to package 7,000 gift/care packages last week for the Christmas Behind Bars program. For over three hours we filled bags. The care packages usually include Bibles, devotional books, hygiene items and snack items.

After the bags were filled, they were loaded into a semi-trailer ready to travel south to a prison. If I remember right, they said Alabama. It was a good experience for Joe and I and the children. So often we get busy with our lives and don’t take time to reach out to others.

This week I am sharing the recipe for cider apple butter that is in my mother’s words, so it might not be a recipe you will make in that amount. But for sentimental reasons, I felt the need to share it with my readers.

God bless.

Cider apple butter

  • 12 gallons apples
  • 20 gallons cider
  • 12 pounds sugar

Instructions: Makes nine gallons of apple butter. It takes two bushels of apples to schnitz (peel, core and slice the apples) the 12 gallons. Greens are good for cooking but McIntosh apples seem to cook better.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

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