Ephesians Five Wife

The writings of a wife who loves her husband and family more than anything except Jesus. From a Christian truth seeker/natural health/homesteader point of view. In that order.


heirloom seeds

Homemade Paprika

Last year was the first year I made my own paprika.  It was a sad day when I ran out of it last spring.  This year I planted Leutschauer Paprika peppers from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  They had a little more kick than the Ostra Cyklon peppers I planted last year, but not too bad.

First pickings.  These plants have been very productive, and I have gotten numerous peppers over the past couple weeks.


Cut the tops off the peppers, clean out the seeds and cut them in half.  I saved and dried seeds from several of the bigger ones I’ve picked to keep for next year.  Also, take caution as this variety was a little hotter, I burned my fingers a little bit!  I’m going to work on more of these today, and plan to wear food grade plastic gloves this time around.

I have an Excalibur dehydrator…dehydrated at about 135 degrees for 12 hours.  You may need to do longer, just gauge by when the peppers are nice and crispy.

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Take the dried peppers and run them through a coffee grinder.  I have not tried this with a blender or food processor, I do not know that either would get a nice fine consistency like the coffee grinder does.

The finished product:

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Heirloom Spaghetti Sauce

The tomatoes are finally starting to come in…things have been really slow this year.  Not sure if it is the cool, rainy weather or what.  We recently had our county fair, and the struggle was real trying to find enough for the kids to pick for their garden boxes.

I did get 14 pints of salsa canned last week, which was great, my super-picky 13 year old son will only eat my salsa and I swear he eats a pint every couple days.  I am hoping to get a lot more canned yet to keep up with the demand around here.

I also like to make my “Mom sauce” as the kids call it.  It is a spaghetti sauce chock full of many of the heirloom veggies we grow.  The flavor is out of this world.

Here’s a before shot.  The flowers are for the table…and oops, looks like I got someone’s feet in the pic too. 🙂   Sorry for my fine photography skills.  🙂

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Every year I try to make this recipe a couple times.  I usually freeze it, although this year I did pressure can it.  You cannot can this recipe with a boiling water bath due to safety.  That was a real learning curve…I could not find a reliable recipe for how long and what weight to process it at.  I’m a little bit afraid I did too much too long, I had two jars break.  I guess I know better for next time.  So on that note, I’m making no advice there, please Google more tried and true canners than me.

The finished product:

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Heirloom Spaghetti Sauce

I don’t recommend specific quantities…every batch I’ve ever made turns out a bit different.  It depends on what I have on hand.  I have also added carrots and eggplant in the past, however, they weren’t ready yet so none in this recipe.

I’d say to start with about 5 pounds of tomatoes, at least enough to give it a tomato base.

To this I added:  3 peppers, a couple small heads of broccoli from the garden, 3 onions, 8 garlic cloves, several sprigs of fresh basil, a couple of handfuls of fresh parsley, 6-8 collards (you can use kale too), and three stalks of garden celery.

First of all, I run everything through my blender until everything is finely processed.  This takes many “batches” to get it all.  I put everything in the biggest stock pot I have, and heat until boiling, and then about 20 minutes simmering.  The sauce does not look like normal spaghetti sauce, it has a much paler color at first.  I add Real Salt or sea salt to taste.  To this batch, I also added about a quart and a half of bone broth just for added nutrition and flavor.

For supper that night, I fried up 2 pounds of burger in my large skillet.  After that was cooked I added enough sauce to feed my crew…we had enough for that night plus one day of leftovers for everyone.  I did add a little extra virgin olive oil to the sauce, about 2 T.  I add one 2 oz can of tomato paste for every 2 quarts of sauce roughly.  You can add more or less to get it to the desired thickness.  This sauce is very thin, and you will need to do this.  Serve with spaghetti, gluten free spaghetti, zucchini zoodles, spaghetti squash, whatever you want.

After that, I did have enough to can/freeze six quart jars of sauce.  You can make this in any amount with whatever you want for veggies.  If you freeze the sauce in jars, be sure to leave a couple inches of head room at least, and cool completely before freezing.

I thought I’d share a few of the heirloom tomato varieties I planted this year.  They had wonderful flavor!  German Pink (we plant every year), Hungarian Heart, Pink Vernissage, Black from Tula are shown in the above picture.  Not affiliated with either Seed Savers or Baker Creek, I just order alot of seeds from them!

Heirloom Gardening: Helios Radishes

So far we’ve had an abundance of fresh greens (which has been lovely!)…and these beautiful radishes!

There are a few red ones tucked in there too… but the yellow ones are Helios radishes. They were good…I’ll plant them again!  Got them here…(not an affiliate link).

It’s That Time of Year! (A shout out to my favorite seed companies)

I just got back in the house from working in my greenhouse.  It was in the upper 30’s here today, but in the greenhouse it was 70 degrees.  I plan to run my milkhouse heater for the next several weeks of evenings to get by…but IT WAS TIME.  I get really itchy to garden this time of year, if you read my other blog for any length of time you know that. 🙂  Anyhow, I can’t wait to be harvesting all the red romaine, tatsoi, radishes, sprouts, herbs and spinach out of there.  I have been doing Dr. Terry Wahls’ Paleo Plus ketogenic program for healing purposes, combined with the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, for two months now.  The protocols are both heavy in fresh, organic greens and veggies; what better way to get them than to grow them yourself.

These are obviously not things I planted today…but just thought I’d show a little variety of some of the things I’m most excited about this year.


Just thought it would be a good time to share a few of my favorite seed companies.  I try to plant predominantly heirloom seed.  I’m not 100% on that but it’s close.  I like that you can save seed from year to year, and have it remain true to the originals.  They are varieties that are beautiful, and have stood the test of time.  I have several ancient seed varieties, I am truly a sucker for a good “seed story.”   In a world full of questionable-at-best biotech seeds, I am an old fashioned girl and really enjoy all my beautiful, healthy plants.  And the flavor is out of this world.  This is your great-grandma’s garden.  🙂  Great grandma believed in food security, and so do I.

On that note, here is an interesting article that surfaced this week about the Svalbard seed vault in Norway.  For as much as the push is towards GMO’s, I find it interesting that the “powers that be” are squirrelling away heirloom seeds.

So without further ado, some of my favorites:

Hands down favorite year after year:  Baker Creek Seed Company

Runner up:  Seed Savers Exchange

Other faves:

Peaceful Valley

Turtle Tree Seed

Bountiful Gardens

Seed Treasures (I have a soft spot for this homesteading couple from northern MN, they have great varieties and I love their story!)


John Scheepers

For great quality and variety of medicinal herb seeds, these guys are amazing:  Strictly Medicinal Seeds

Hope this was helpful!  I’ve ordered from the above companies for several years and have been continuously pleased.  God bless!





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