No bugs........with Dr. Doug @ Shepherd Glen*
         No bugs........with Dr. Doug                                                                          @ Shepherd Glen*

For Midwestern home gardeners and naturalists, just for fun!                                                               All my observations, photos, musings etc. on this website are centered on our 10 acres (named Shepherd Glen) in Jackson County Missouri, but I have found that observations (and frustrations) in our area translate pretty well throughout the Midwest.



favorite recipes

Unless otherwise noted, the author of these recipes is not known. They are just ones I have accumulated and liked. I will be adding more as the gardening season progresses, so stop back!



July 21, 2023


Easy Pickled (Banana) Peppers


Easy pickled banana (and other) peppers are super simple to make and so tasty! I enjoy them especially on sandwiches, burgers and brats. Although this receipe is for "refrigerator" pickles, they can be canned too!



  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 lb. banana peppers seeded and sliced into rings



  1. Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a rolling boil.
  2. Pour brine over peppers to within 1/2" of the top.
  3. Wipe off the rim and put lid on.
  4. Leave for 1 week or longer (in refrigerator) to let peppers marinate.
  5. They will last up to 3 months in the refrigerator.



Personal comments:

  • "Juice" fills three pint jars.
  • I don't necessarily weigh peppers. I slice enough peppers until the jars are filled before adding brine.
  • Other kinds of peppers can be used or combined. I usually add a couple of rings of jalapeno peppers per jar for a little kick!
  • I have also been known to add a small okra pod to each jar for fun. Okra pods need to be prepped by salting in collander, shaken a few times and rinsed before adding.



Too Many Green Beans….Here's an Easy Way to Freeze Them


Have an abundance of green beans? Why not freeze them for later? The quickest and easiest way is to blanch them. It takes very little time (except for cleaning them). Blanching vegetables before freezing stops the enzyme action and helps to retain fresh flavor and appearance.


Water Blanching.  Clean the beans, and snap or cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Immerse in rapidly boiling water, cover, and boil for 3 minutes. While they are boiling, prepare an ice bath in the sink or large pan. Remove beans promptly when time is up. Chill quickly by putting them in the ice bath. Consider discarding hot water by pouring bean pot contents through a colander. Immerse the colander and its contents in the ice bath. Allow the same amount of time to cool, as was done for cooking.


Towel dry the blanched green beans and put in marked zip-lock bag. Store in freezer.


Original source: Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, Date unknown (cover long gone).



Soy-Ginger Green Beans


These remind me of ones I have had at a sit-down Chinese restaurant.




1 lb. green beans trimmed (garden or store bought fresh)

2 Tbsp. finely chopped and peeled fresh ginger (optional [ed.]: ginger paste in tube)

½ tsp. crushed red pepper

2 Tbsp. canola oil

¼ cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp. honey

Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Optional [ed.]: 3 garlic cloves



In pot of salted water, cook green beans until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain green beans. In skillet, cook ginger, crushed red pepper (and garlic) in oil over medium heat, stirring often, about 1 minute. Add green beans, soy sauce, and honey; toss until heated through, about 1 minute. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serves 4.    





Homemade (fresh) Salsa


Makes about 1-1/2 quarts

4 cups ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped

5 jalapeno peppers, seeded, cored and chopped

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped

½ green bell pepper, seeded and chopped [ed. I do not like green bell peppers, so I substitute 2 yellow banana peppers]

1 can of tomato sauce

1 teaspoon salt

A dash of garlic powder

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 ½   Tablespoons red-wine vinegar


DO NOT COOK. Mix all ingredients well. Store in refrigerator in a covered container, for at least an hour to allow the flavors to mingle.


(Anonymous, KC Star, 1995)



Easy Pickled Beets 


We enjoy serving these on the relish tray with carrots and celery etc.



6-8 beets [ed. I like to use a lot more if harvested small, and served without slicing]


1/3 cup vinegar

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup water

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ cup salt

¼ tsp ground cloves



Boil beets for about 20 to 30 minutes, drain and pour cold water over them. Let them cool for just a few minutes!

Using your fingers, rub the outer skin off them, and cut the top stem and root off. If big, cut into smaller pieces or slices.


Sauce: In saucepan, mix other ingredients and stir. [Ed. I have found that the original recipe does not provide enough juice, especially if I am preparing a lot of small ones. I usually make 4X the juice (it’s cheap), but only 2X the spices.] Add beets and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Chill and put beets and sauce in canning jars. Good for 1 month in refrigerator.      




Cowboy “Candy” (aka Candied Jalapeño Peppers)


Candied jalapeños, also known as Cowboy Candy, are a fun condiment that will kick up the heat of so many of your favorite snacks, burgers, and cocktails. Made like a quick pickle, with a good bit of sugar added to the brine, these spicy peppers are sweet, surprisingly versatile, and a great way to use up all those jalapeños from the garden. They are a perfect garnish over cream cheese, in party dips or use a splash of syrup from the jar to spice up a classic like homemade lemonade (if you're feeling daring!)




•  1 lb. jalapeño peppers

•  1 c. apple cider vinegar

•  1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

•  1 tsp. pickling spice (optional)

•  1 tsp. salt




1.  Remove and discard the jalapeño stems before cutting the peppers into 1/4-inch-thick coins.


2.  Combine the apple cider vinegar, granulated sugar, salt, and pickling spices in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes.


3.  Add the jalapeños and return them to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the peppers look slightly shrunken and glossy, about 5 to 6 minutes.


4.  Transfer the jalapeños to a pint-sized mason jar or heat-proof container using a slotted spoon. Bring the liquid back to a boil and cook until it is syrupy and has reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 8 to 10 minutes.


5.  Pour the syrup over the jalapeños, pressing the peppers down so that they remain submerged. Cool to room temperature before sealing and refrigerating.


They can be stored for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.



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