Spicey Lemon Pickled Beans

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In the spirit of total honesty, I did not think that I would like these pickled beans at all. It was my week for prepping for canning class and I needed something different to present to the students. We had agreed to do something pickled but most of the vegetables are not in season yet, so no deal there. I resorted to purchasing green beans in a bulk bag at the grocery store.

I made the recipe but did not try it, went ahead and canned the pickled beans, and packed them up for the day of class.

Even during the class, I said that I had not tried them yet. I don’t particularly like bean salad and eating cold beans just doesn’t appeal to me. When we passed around the taste testing samples and everyone began to try the recipe, I held my breath. And then, they asked for more! This was incredible. I had to taste the beans. Now, I can say with out hesitation, these are delicious. The hint of lemon is the key for me. Try a small batch and see if you agree.

Note- you do not have to store the jars on their sides as stated at the end of the recipe. That is a mistake and the plug in won’t let me edit. 


Spicy Lemon Pickled Beans
Serves 3
Makes 3 to 4 pints
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  1. 2 lbs fresh green beans cleaned, trimmed, and cut to fit in jars
  2. 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 1/2 cups water
  4. 1 Tbsp salt
  5. 1 Tbsp sugar
  6. 1 Tbsp pickling spice, divided into each jar
  7. strips of lemon rind
  1. Prepare the canning jars, lids, rims and utensils
  2. Combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Add the beans, cover, return to a boil.
  4. Boil for one minute
  5. Remove the bean
  6. Bring the liquid to a boil again.
  7. prepare to can the pickles
  8. remove hot jars from the water bath canner
  9. drop the flat lids into the boiling water
  10. add 1 tsp. pickling spice to each jar
  11. add 1 strip of lemon rind to each jar
  12. add the beans to the jar, packing them lightly
  13. pour the hot vinegar liquid into each jar filling to 1/2 inch headspace line
  14. wipe the rim of the jars
  15. apply the flat lids to each jar
  16. apply the bands
  17. process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner
  1. After the jars have cooled slightly, store the jars on their side. Enjoy after 24 hours!
  2. I hope you like the recipe as much or more than I did. I have been putting the beans in a dish and snacking on them like we sometimes do with a dish of olives.
Adapted from Lemon Spiced Bean Pickles in the Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving
Adapted from Lemon Spiced Bean Pickles in the Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving
Timber Creek Farm https://www.timbercreekfarmer.com/


Lemons, Lemon Extract and Lemon Crinkle Cookies

 DSC_0025  Timber Creek Farm  lemons


Living in the east,  or maybe because I am just not a foodie, I had not heard of Meyer Lemons, until a friend in Texas offered to send some to me from her over producing Meyer lemon tree. I thought I would be getting a box of lemons, just like any other lemon I was used to. But when the box arrived, I soon realized that I was looking at a whole new breed of lemon! 

Meyer Lemons are sweeter and look rounder in appearance than regular lemons. Some people compare them to a cross between a tangerine and a lemon. I am not sure how I would describe them, but I liked the taste and knew right away I would be using every last bit of these yellow sweeties for something.

The first thing I did with the lemons was to create a photo shoot. I love a bowl full of lemons.

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I squeezed  a jar of fresh lemon juice, enjoyed lemon slices in tea, water and fruit juice. I dehydrated slices, and made lemon vinegar cleaner out of the used lemon peels. 

DSC_4592 Timber Creek Farm  Lemons

But I still had lemons that needed to be used. I really enjoyed making vanilla extract last year, so I thought it would be good to make some lemon extract. Simple enough to do. Here is how I made the lemon extract.

Lemon Extract Instructions

Trim off the zest of 6 lemons, being careful to not get the white pith underneath the peel. The pith can lead to bitterness.

I used two pint jars. Separated the lemon zest into the two jars. 

(or just make one jar- it’s up to you)

Add vodka to the jars to fill. Cap the jars.

Place the jars in a cool dark place, such as a cabinet.

Let the mixture sit for about 4 weeks. Open the jar after the 4 weeks and smell the contents. The lemon smell should be primary. The extract will be ready when the mixture doesn’t smell like just alcohol and there is a slight yellow color and slightly oily appearance.

Strain the extract through a coffee filter into a clean jar. Discard or dry the leftover peels. I added the zest to a potpourri blend when completely dry. I just couldn’t bear to throw them out!

I then poured the extract into small brown bottles. Ready for gift giving!

 DSC_4625 Timber Creek Farm  Lemons 

DSC_4626 Timber Creek Farm Lemons

Now, I had 8 bottles of lemon extract and I was not sure what I would do with it. I couldn’t remember ever having used it before. First, I looked on the internet to find some recipes and uses for lemon extract. I was astounded at how many recipes used lemon extract! Where have I been? This liquid was really versatile.


How much to use?

McCormick Spice company recommended a use of 1 tsp lemon extract for 1 tsp fresh lemon peel.

Ask.com recommended half that strength at 1 tsp lemon extract for every 2 tsp of fresh lemon peel called for.

Cooksthesauras.com  suggested that homemade lemon extract might not be as strong as commercial brand. I can tell you that this was not my finding. My lemon extract was definitely strong and full of lemony flavor.

Over on Livestrong.com, Suzanne Robin,  wrote that lemon peel contains limonene and citral, two active ingredients in lemon zest and oils of lemons. Early testing shows promise that lemon extract and lemon zest can reduce the stress hormones.


In addition to using lemon extract in cooking and baked goods, lemon extract can be added to whipped cream, yogurt, and ice cream and sorbets. I would add a teaspoon to vanilla frosting to make a refreshing topping for vanilla cake. 

Now to try it out in a real recipe! I searched and searched through so many recipes on the web. Finally, I decided to make Lemon Crinkle Cookies because I saw it listed in many sites. The recipe looked easy enough and easy to adapt, because I never make a recipe exactly as it is written. I don’t follow directions well!

The recipe for the Lemon Crinkle Cookies follows. I really like how they turned out. Lemony, yes, but not in an overpowering way. I frosted some of the cookies because my husband likes a very sweet cookie. I like a milder cookie and these are more of a tea cookie. Just to my liking! 


Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Yields 30
Light, lemony goodness with a crinkle top
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  1. 1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon zest from one Meyer lemon
  6. 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  7. 2 large eggs at room temperature
  8. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  10. 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper
  3. In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. In the large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and the lemon zest. add the butter and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs mixing well.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and the lemon extract
  7. Add the dry ingredients mix until just combined.
  8. Put the confectioners' sugar in a wide bowl or pie plate
  9. Scoop out approx two tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough. roll into a ball.
  10. coat each ball in the confectioners' sugar
  11. Place the cookies on the baking sheets 2 inches apart. Cookies will not spread much so you can put 15 on each sheet
  12. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until the tops of cookies get crinkled. They are fairly light colored when done.
  13. Cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes then transfer to cooling racks or a sheet of foil to continue cooling.
  1. Enjoy with tea, coffee, or anytime. A refreshing light cookie
Adapted from from The Cooking Channel
Adapted from from The Cooking Channel
Timber Creek Farm https://www.timbercreekfarmer.com/

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The Twelve Sweets of Christmas – Chocolate Cream Pie!

Come join us for the
12 Sweets of Christmas!

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Each week, we will be featuring a different Holiday Feature
that will help make your Holidays Sweet!
Hosted by:

The Homesteading Hippy

Simply Living Simply

Five Little Homesteaders

Crafty Spices

Timber Creek Farms

This week we are baking PIES! h2>
Link up your Homemade PIE Recipes and let’s get this Christmas Season all tied up!




Chocolate Cream Pie. Normally, I stick to pumpkin pie, peach pie and apple pie when baking pies. For our Christmas dinner this year, I decided to shake things up a bit and make something different. I wanted chocolate. OK I usually want chocolate. So I made a chocolate cream pie recipe.


Chocolate Cream Pie
Serves 8
Chocolate dream in the form of a pie. Chocolate lovers will be in cocoa heaven. Easy to put together too.
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  1. 2 - 8 inch pie crust baked
  2. 3 egg yolks
  3. 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
  4. 3 tablespoons cornstartch
  5. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 1/2 tsp. salt
  7. 3 cups milk
  8. 1 tablespoon butter
  9. 1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  10. whipped topping if desired
  1. Bake the two pie shells
  2. In the mixer bowl, cream together egg yolks and sugar. Add the cornstartch, cocoa powder, and salt. Make sure it mixes as the cocoa and egg yolks can get stuck on the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Add the milk and stir gently.
  4. Pour all of this mixture into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly, until it boils.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and add in the margarine and the vanilla extract. Cool for a few minutes, then pour the chocolate mixture into the two pie shells.
  6. Chill completely before serving. Add whipped topping if desired.
  1. The original recipe called for one 9 inch pie shell. I had two 8 inch pie shells and the filling was enough to fill both very adequately. My advice would be to have two pie shells ready just in case.
Timber Creek Farm https://www.timbercreekfarmer.com/
Each pie serves 8.

One  happy surprise happened. The recipe called for one 9 inch pie shell to be pre-baked. I was happy to find out that this filling was enough for two 8 inch pies! Yummy. One for Christmas day and one for today!



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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Easily Make Vanilla Extract at Home

DSC_4371 Vanilla Extract


What do You Need to Make Vanilla Extract?

After posting a picture of my homemade vanilla extract on social media, and answering a bunch of questions, I guess I should have written up a little bit about how I made the extract.

This is one of those things that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. The process is simple.

One quart of vodka. half a pound of vanilla beans (more or less), a quart mason jar with lid.

The first step is to acquire the vanilla beans. Buying good quality beans is important. They arrive fresh and fragrant.

take each bean that you are going to use and a sharp paring knife. Slice a lengthwise slit down each bean. Your hands will smell deliciously like vanilla for some time after.

Stand all the beans upright in the mason jar. Pour the vodka into the jar. Replace the lid. You can also try bourbon or rum if you prefer. Now for the real test of patience. Put the vanilla jar in a dark cool place and forget about it. Not forever but for at least 8 weeks. Don’t completely forget about it because you need to gently shake it up every couple of days or so. I like to let it steep for 3 months. When you open the jar it should smell like vanilla and not like alcohol. The color should be dark and rich.

When your vanilla has matured, filter it into a second mason jar. I use coffee filters. (save the beans!)

After you filter the beans you can pour carefully into the small bottles. I use SKS Bottles

Label any way you like. I used Avery labels in kraft but it’s really up to you. Add a ribbon or a tag and you have a wonderful homemade gift!

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Vanilla Extract DSC_4375

The beans can be reused to make another batch of vanilla. After the second batch of vanilla, let the beans air dry. Cut the beans in half and place in a pint sized jar. Fill jar with sugar, raw or granulated. Allow the beans to flavor the sugar. And there you have…..Vanilla Sugar!


Alternate method. Choose a small decorative bottle. Add two or three vanilla beans split open to the bottle. Add the vodka. Cap, add a ribbon and present as is with instructions to let it develop over two months or more.