Oodles of Noodles: Make Your Own!


An old-fashioned clothes dryer is a great tool to dry those homemade noodles!

Today was the day I chose to make my Swedish Meatballs but discovered I was out of noodles. So, today was also noodle-making day.

Homemade egg noodles are so much better tasting (and better for you) than store-bought noodles. Who knows what is put into the noodles in the factories? I KNOW what is in my noodles: nothing but fresh stuff!

Our homemade egg noodles are made by a small family business near us, using a "secret Amish recipe." At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Our homemade egg noodles are made by a small family business near us, using a “secret Amish recipe.” At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

The noodle dough is very simple. My favorite one is about one cup of flour to one egg, a plop of olive oil, a pinch of salt and water to make the dough stiff but not sticky. I use farm-fresh eggs, which gives the noodles a lovely yellow color. (Store-bought eggs are fine, too.) I also use organic unbleached white flour from the local co-op. Many people use whole wheat, but I chose white as the flour of my choice. Sea salt and filtered water; good virgin olive oil — all the stuff fit for kings and peasants alike. Start with as much flour as you like, and then add the rest of the ingredients to match. Continue reading

American Persimmon: The After-Frost Fruit


Searching for a beautiful tree that gives you enjoyment all year round? Meet the American Persimmon.

The American persimmon’s fruits are low in calories, but high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They can be eaten fresh or used in preserves, pies, tarts, dehydrated, also in recipes for sorbets and ice creams. They are interchangeable with apricots in many recipes.

In the spring the persimmon tree is covered in sweetly fragranced flowers. Then throughout the summer the fruit grows, changing colors from yellow to orange to shades of purple as it matures. By fall this colorful tree sports leaves that vary in shades of yellow, red and purple. When they’ve gone dormant for the winter they even have pretty bark!

Fun fact: Persimmons are one of the common opossum’s favorite foods. They were featured together in a book written by Joseph Wharton Lippincott in1944 entitled “Persimmon Jim”.


But, as the people who are familiar with this fruit will tell you: Do NOT eat a persimmon fruit before a hard frost, or even two. The pre-freeze fruit will leave your lips and mouth numb and puckered. One or two good frosts really sweeten up the fruit.

Persimmon trees grow native in a wide variety of USDA plant zones (4 – 9). They tolerate low temperatures well, too — down to minus 25° F. Persimmon trees love the sun and are not picky about the type soil they grow in. You may get young trees by transplanting a young seedling from a neighbor or friend; trees are also available from mail order nurseries.

Persimmons are lovely ornamental trees with outstanding late fall fruit. The persimmon tree is, quite simply, an attractive tree with many benefits. Don’t miss having one of these in your garden, yard or orchard to enjoy year after year.

Old-Fashioned Persimmon Pie
Yields 1
Wonderful served with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream.
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  1. 1 pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
  2. 2 eggs
  3. ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. ½ cup white sugar
  5. ¼ teaspoon salt
  6. 2 cups half and half
  7. 1 cup persimmon pulp
  8. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  9. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine eggs, cinnamon, sugar, and salt.
  3. Mix in cream, persimmon pulp, melted butter, and lemon.
  4. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell and bake until set and golden brown.
  5. Cool before serving.
Lehman's Country Life http://blog.lehmans.com/


How to Bake Pumpkin Bread In A Canning Jar



Just in time for pumpkin season, here’s an amazingly versatile recipe, shared by one of our longtime staff members. Use 8 canning jars (wide-mouth pint size) and bake this moist, spiced pumpkin bread right in the jars! After they come out of the oven, screw the lids and bands on tightly and the hot jars will vacuum seal themselves. Sealed jars of bread keep for up to one year. That’s right – ONE WHOLE YEAR. Makes a fantastic “oh-my-goodness-I-forgot-about-that-potluck-today” bread AND a creative gift for those on your Christmas list (piano teachers, bus drivers, babysitters, mail carriers, neighbors, etc.) who deserve a little something special. Variations included in the recipe to make other types of bread in a jar, too! 

Pumpkin Bread in a Jar
Yields 8
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  1. 2/3 c. shortening
  2. 2 c. pumpkin
  3. 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1 tsp. ground cloves
  5. 2 2/3 c. white sugar
  6. 2/3 c. water
  7. 2 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  9. 4 eggs
  10. 3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  11. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  12. 2/3 c. chopped nuts (optional)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar; beat in eggs.
  2. Add pumpkin and water.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  4. Add to pumpkin mixture.
  5. Stir in nuts, if using.
  6. Pour mixture into greased wide-mouth pint canning jars, filling them each half full.
  7. Bake at 325° F for 45 minutes.
  8. When done, remove one jar at a time and wipe off sealing rim with a cloth.
  9. Screw lid on tightly with band. The heat will vacuum seal the jar. Makes 8 pints.
  1. Variations: Substitute one of the following for the pumpkin: 2 cups shredded apples; 2 cups shredded carrots; 1 can cranberry sauce; 2 cups mashed bananas; 2 cups chopped peaches; 2 cups applesauce; 2 cups shredded zucchini; 2 cups fruit cocktail; or 1 3/4 cups applesauce plus 1/4 cup raisins.
Lehman's Country Life http://blog.lehmans.com/

Editor’s Note: This post was first published in November 2010.

Easy DIY Dry Rubs for Meats, Veggies

Turn your canning jars into versatile, spill-proof pouring containers! Perfect for wet or dry goods.

Turn your canning jars into versatile, spill-proof pouring containers! Perfect for wet or dry goods.

Many recipes for dry rubs call for spices and herbs that are commonly found in your pantry. Homemade dry rubs are economical, easy to make and very versatile. Meats, chicken, fish and vegetables can all be enhanced with the use of different dry rubs.

These tips will work with all dry rub recipes and make them easily stored in the same containers they are mixed in:

  • Measure out the ingredients in a clean, dry canning jar.
  • Secure the lid and give the jar a good shake to blend.
  • Place on a label and it is ready to use. Will keep on your pantry shelf (or any other dry, cool, dark place) for up to 6 months.

Here are some of my family’s favorites – try them this fall!


Basic All-Purpose Rub
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  1. 6 tablespoons raw sugar - can be adjusted to taste
  2. 1 Tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  3. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper - reduce to adjust heat
  6. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (crushed)
  1. Mix together thoroughly and store in an air-tight container.
  2. To use, sprinkle some of the mixture evenly over chosen food and rub in well with your fingers - adjust the pressure you use to the delicateness of the food - before grilling outside, or, inside in a cast iron pan.
Lehman's Country Life http://blog.lehmans.com/
Jamaican Style Jerk Rub
Wonderful on pork shoulder!
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  1. 2 tablespoons sugar - can be adjusted to taste
  2. 4 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  3. 4 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme (crushed)
  4. 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  5. 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  6. 1 1/2- 3 teaspoons ground red pepper - reduce to adjust heat
  7. 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  8. 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight jar.
Lehman's Country Life http://blog.lehmans.com/
Roasted Rubbed Butternut Squash
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  1. 1 large butternut squash (acorn squash and root vegetables can be substituted)
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper - reduce to adjust the heat
  3. 2 teaspoons sage (poultry seasoning can be substituted)
  4. 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  7. Olive oil
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Line roasting pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  3. Halve the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and peel.
  4. Cut the squash into slices or chunks.
  5. Place the squash in one layer in a roasting tray.
  6. Sprinkle liberally spread with rub, covering well.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until the the squash is soft.
  9. Remove the foil and roast for another 10 minutes until the squash is golden and crisp.
Lehman's Country Life http://blog.lehmans.com/

Get Water From Your Well – Without Electricity

If you live in the country, you probably get your water from a drilled well in your basement or backyard. In most cases, the “well” looks like a steel or plastic pipe about 4″ to 5″ diameter that projects a few inches above ground and has a steel cap on it.

Depending on the depth of the well, there’s either an above-ground pump (often called a jet pump) or “deep well” submersible electric pump hidden in the well. 

Photo taken from the EPA’s website.

Either way, a power failure can leave you high and dry. Because well pump systems incorporate a storage tank (sometimes called a pressure tank), you may have a access to 20-30 gallons even without electricity. But, it’s astonishing how fast it runs out. And, how much you miss access to fresh water after it’s gone!

It’s doubly frustrating, because in many cases you can actually see the water in the bottom of the well. It’s just too far away to reach! Fortunately, we have two ways to solve the problem. Continue reading

Old-Fashioned is “Totally Awesome.”

The Diamant - finest grain mill we've ever sold. A solid investment for the self-reliant homestead. At Lehmans.com.

The Diamant – finest grain mill we’ve ever sold. A solid investment for the self-reliant homestead. At Lehmans.com.

We had a crazy weekend recently. My nephew and his bandmates are in the midst of a US tour and, as they were performing locally, they all spent two days with us at Barefoot Farm. These 20-something kids (or young adults) used to bright lights and big cities were plopped right down in the middle of a New England village, a place without a traffic light and where the sidewalks are rolled up by 9 pm. What would their reactions be? Continue reading

How To Can Venison (and other wild game)

Pressure canning is the only safe way to can venison and other meats. Find the right sized pressure canner for your household at Lehmans.com.

Pressure canning is the only safe way to can venison and other meats. Find the right sized pressure canner for your household at Lehmans.com.

You’ve had a successful hunt. You have carefully field dressed and cared for your meat. The choicest cuts are wrapped and frozen. Tenderloins are just waiting for that perfect marinade. Jerky has been seasoned, dried and ready for snacking on the next outing.  So what else is missing? Home canning.

There are several reasons I have grown to love canning the venison and elk that my guys bring home: Continue reading

Coming Clean about Toockies®

Handmade, ultra-soft washcloths help Indian women support their families. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Handmade, ultra-soft washcloths help Indian women support their families. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.


Here at Lehman’s, we’re all about values. The good buy sort of values, bedrock family values, and the value of helping improve a community. 

Amazingly enough, our Toockies Organic Cotton products cover all three. The woman-owned company manufactures a variety of organic cotton cloths and woven jute products for use in the kitchen, bath and living room.

Toockies founder Anna Marie Strauss started small in the early 2000s, working with co-founder Jaya Basu to teach women in Nababpur, India how to knit cotton washcloths, circulation gloves, cleaning cloths, scrub cloths and coasters. At the time, in this tiny village, employment, especially for women, was just about non-existent.  Continue reading

Family Beekeeping: Make A Plan for Next Year


Beekeeping is becoming very popular these days.  Part of the reason is that many people want to get back to the land, grow their own food, and be self sufficient.   Another reason is because the bees are dying, and people want to help.  We’ve all heard about it.  It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder.

The disappearance of bees is frightening because we depend on them for pollination.  It is interesting to note, however, that honey bees are not native to the United States.  They were imported from Europe by the early settlers.  Will we still have food if all the honey bees disappear?  Yes, but not nearly as much.  Honeybees have greatly enhanced our ability to raise large quantities of fruits, nuts, and field crops — so losing them hurts.

Small, well-tended apiaries seem to have a better chance of survival, so it is heartening that many folks are getting involved in this fascinating pursuit.  In fact, many people keep bees in urban settings — even putting hives on roofs of buildings to keep the bees’ flight paths above traffic and away from nearby people. Continue reading

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