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Julia’s Cold Beet and Cucumber Soup

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I have a fabulous recipe that I want to share that I made this week and will definitely be making again. It is a recipe from the Food Network that was courtesy of the late great Julia Child. It is called Cold Beet and Cucumber Soup. I have always enjoyed cold summer soups especially when it is scorching hot out. I tend to make them early in the day and let the flavors marry until serving. If you like gazpacho and vichyssoise then add this Cold Beet and Cucumber Soup to your repertoire.  Click here for the recipe.  Not a Borscht but a blend of cooked beets, cucumber, onion and broth, this one is very low-fat. The garnishes of sour cream, I used non-fat Greek yogurt, dill sprigs and chopped cucumber also added to the final product. And the color, it’s a wow! The taste is very clean, healthful and satisfying. I made this soup after an afternoon of canning pickled beets and had a few cooked beets left over and made the whole soup in the blender. I found a few other similar recipes on Pinterest that also looked good.  There was one from Esther Hardman for with great color. Click here for her recipe.

Here is one  from blogger Brooke McLay from that looks amazing. Brooke’s recipe is here. Have a great week-end everyone and Happy Gardens!

Jenn at The Antique Garden

Small Batch Relishes & Jams

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The Antique Garden Homegrown originated several years ago after we started vegetable gardening. John dug up the back lawn and created raised beds in attractive rows across the yard. We planted crops of peppers, tomatoes, beans, asparagus, raspberries, zucchini, lettuces, Swiss chard, beets, sweet potatoes, onions, herbs, potatoes and more.

Varieties of Tomatoes at Harvest

Yellow Pear, Pineapple and Early Girl Tomatoes are delicious.

We had a bumper crop of almost everything and we never had to spray for insects; something we liked a lot. I began preserving our bounty by freezing and canning, using old-fashioned, time-tested recipes, using the very safe water-bath method and new, American made, Ball canning jars.

Now we bring you the goodness of real food; prepared with garden fresh, pesticide-free vegetables. You will taste the difference of homegrown, small batch prepared food, using only our vegetables or those from local farms. We think you will love it!  Our farmstand is open seasonally through December.

Support small local business, small farms and try our limited quantity relishes & jams today.

Jennifer & John Thomas

The Antique Garden, in the square of Leitersburg, Maryland. contact us through our links, this website  and write to

 Varieties include Sweet and Sour Pepper Relish, Best selling Beet Relish, Pickled Beets in 32 ounce size jars, New Carrot Cake Jam, Pickled Green Tomatoes, Pepper Onion Relish, Pickled Peppers, both hot and mild and Apple Conserve.

October Views from The Antique Garden

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September is like one of those whirlwind months that  just seem to fly by.  With summer almost over, the fall beckons us with new activity, especially in the garden.  We need to harvest and preserve what we have successfully grown, plant tender fall crops and clean up any spent plants.  We also have an additional project going,  building a duck pond out back in the old dog run. I am exhausted just thinking about it! But heck, instead of having to go to the produce aisle of the supermarket weekly, I can shop right in my back yard.

Peppers Gone Wild!

We have so many peppers that I need to come up with new recipes, I’m thinking Mexican Chilis stuffed with cheese and lots of jalapeno poppers.

The herbs are also very happy in the garden.  I planted my kitchen herb garden close to the backdoor for convenient picking. Time to freeze batches of delicious pesto sauce and dry my oregano and dill.

My basil was planted near the backdoor for convenient picking.

The beets are exploding out of the ground but still are tender and delicious.  Let’s see, I’ve pickled the beets, made beet relish, eggs and beets, boiled beets and roasted them….do YOU need any beets?!  They are sale priced to go at our farm stand.

We have Italian Candied Striped Beets and…..

Detroit Red Beets, four rows of them, did I mention that we sell beets at our farm stand?

New crops include chinese cabbage, mustard greens, radishes and fall lettuce.

Lush herbs thrive in the autumn sunshine.

Pole beans still have plenty of tender pods on the plants, meaning more picking, pickling, and freezing…..

The flowering hydrangea shrubs, also like the cooler weather, and are producing gorgeous flowers.  These blossoms dry beautifully for fall arrangements.

The self sowed pumpkin plant from last year’s discards, may never bear a squash, but it has a lovely bloom.  Also ready for harvest are the carrots, swiss chard, arugula, red and white potatoes and sweet potatoes, that I will be saving for our Thanksgiving Day Feast. Harvest time in the garden is challenging but well worth the effort.  Does anyone have any more beet recipes??? Please send them our way, asap!

The Antique Garden September Tent Sale


We are happy to be open on week-ends with a fresh array of fall plants and vegetables.  New packs of lettuce, kale, broccoli, swiss chard, pansies and lots of grasses add a welcome touch to your garden.  Inside the shop you will find dried arrangements, wreaths, candles, antiques, primitives and  collectibles. New seasonal items include ornaments from Primitives by Kathy.  As always we offer licensed and insured landscaping and water gardens.  Stop by for a country visit in the square of Leitersburg, Maryland.

We are located at 21501 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Rd. Hagerstown, MD 21742

Seeds Gone Wild


My sister-in-law Debbie knows we have a vegetable garden and at harvest gets a few of her favorite beets, fresh from our yard.  Last week she found an unusual sale on seeds.  Most of the packs were priced at .07 cents each and they were fresh packed for the 2011 season.  Well, this girl likes a sale and bought out the entire seed display.  You would have thought it was the apocalypse and she was preparing for the new world.  There were about a hundred little packs of seeds.  Our back yard is small, although most of the lawn has been removed for the garden.

On Saturday we put in a small dent in the seed packs and planted rows of green and red lettuces and several varieties of carrots.  Now the rest of the packs are sitting on my desk willing me to get in the dirt and dig.  Here is a small list of the seeds she selected for us to plant, many were exotic sounding Italian varietals that she scored from The Christmas Tree Shop, here in Hagerstown.

Cicoria-Rossa di Verona a Palla-my favorite (I have no idea what this is, although it looks slightly like prosciutto)

Fagiolo Nano Slenderette-green beans

Finocchio Gigante di Napoli-fennel

Melone Giallo amarillo Oro-strange looking yellow melon

Fagiolo Nano marconi a Seme Bianco-not  that there is anything wrong will that-beans of some sort

More Fagiolo Nano Cannellino-shelling beans-2 packs of this one

Fagiolo Rampicante-Meraviglia di Venezia a Seme Nero-your guess is as good as mine

Prezzemolo gigante d’Italia-looks like Italian parsley

Peperoncino tondo Piccante Calabrese-hot peppers

Broccoletto di Rapa Riccio S. Marzano Cima Grossa-Brocoli rabe seed I think

Indivia Scarola Cornetto di Bordeaux-some sort of lettucey green

Chioggia Beets candied striped

Then there were the more American sounding seed packs like Kellogg’s Beefsteak Tomatoes, Sweet Basil, Buttercrunch lettuce, Florida Broadleaf Mustard, Sparkler Radish, Sugar Daddy Peas, Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard, Yard Long Beans, Bloomsdale Spinach, Scarlet Nantes Carrots, Golden Beets, Early Snowball Cauliflower, Blue Lake Garden Beans, Long Purple Eggplant, California Wonder Pepper, Hollow Crown Parsnip, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce, Rocket Arugula, and of course All Sweet Water Melon. Watermelon, doesn’t that take like half an acre to produce? E-I-E-I-O….

I’ll be busy during the next few weeks with soil under my nails and if you don’t see me, check out the beds in the back garden to see if I’m Ok.  Thank you, Deb we love you!

Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Beets and Eggs

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To anyone who has never heard of this dish it sounds so weird.  To those who know about beets and eggs,  it is a sentimental favorite.  I discovered this dish about five years ago after moving to Western Maryland.  We live only 5 miles to the Penn border, so it is natural that people around here enjoy this fine cuisine better known as Pennsylvania Dutch cooking.  Always hearty with a sense of the farms that originated these dishes be it Amish or Mennonite, they are delicious.

I used my own beets that we put up in canning jars last fall, but you can easily use fresh, that have been cooked, canned or bottled supermarket beets.  First you make a pickling recipe then add hardboiled eggs.  The eggs take on the bright red color of the beets and become pickled themselves.  They are delicious plain or sliced up and served in a salad.  I’ve adapted the Ball Jar recipe to my own. We will be serving them as an appetizer for Easter as a nice alternative to deviled eggs. Quantities can easily be changed without much difficulty.

 3 cans of whole beets-save the juices

1 cup of sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon whole allspice-can omit

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups white vinegar


Put all ingredients into large saucepan, except beets, and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Turn off heat.  Add beets and their juices and blend.  Put beet mixture into a large bowl or plastic container with a lid and chill several hours. 

Add about 6 peeled hardboiled eggs to the beets and stir so all sides of the eggs get color.  Chill overnight.  I like to store them in a large glass jar as they look so attractive.  Hardboiled eggs are perishable so eat them within a week and store in the refrigerator. They don’t last long in our house.

Maryland Garden in November

Time to preserve our peppers.  Varieties include bell, sweet Italian, cherry, ancho, poblano, jalapeno and hot cayenne!

A variety of vegetables are ready for harvest and some are still happy in the soil in our backyard garden.


This platter of peppers graces our kitchen table.




Kale, cabbage, and collard green are all part of the anti-cancer vegetables and are delicious when prepared in a tasty pasta dish.


The root vegetables are still going strong! We have several beds of beets that are ready to harvest. The beet greens are delicious too!


Rows of red cabbage are coming along nicely.


The last of the summer vegetables. Many varieties of peppers and green tomatoes will be canned for later use.


The parsley and herbs are enjoying the cool weather.


Dixie explores the garden!

Time to preserve our peppers. Varieties include bell, sweet Italian, cherry, ancho, poblano, jalapeno and hot cayenne!

Harvest Time in the Backyard Garden




We removed most of the lawn to create raised bed vegetable gardens.



A touch of Autumn is in the air here on the east coast and while we say good bye to summer–the heat and humidity, we welcome Fall and all the abundance of the season.  

Several years ago after relocating to the countryside of Western Maryland and settling into a 1888 old Parsonage, my husband I decided to grow our own vegetables. After all, this was a rural village, in the heart of the Cumberland Valley and at the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains where farming was a way of life. The first year we planted tomatoes in raised beds and had a bumper crop.  

This year, we removed most of the backyard lawn, and divided the land into neat beds and enriched the soil with compost. We planted in addition to the tomatoes, root vegetables like beets, carrots, sweet potatoes and potatoes in one row, peppers of every variety in another, beans, lettuce, okra, cucumbers in the next. A herb bed with both perennials and annual herbs and finally a prized asparagus bed—which we’ll be able to harvest, hopefully, in two years.  

While I have to admit most of the dirty work –cutting the beds, turning the soil and amending it with compost was my husbands job I got the honor and joy of picking the harvest and cooking most of the produce. How wonderful it is to pick your own fresh vegetables, pesticide free right in your own backyard! Besides the freshness of seasonal vegetables, the savings in your supermarket bill is a big plus.  

While the season is winding down we have put in fall crops of red cabbage collard greens, garlic cloves-for next year and lettuces. Our garden is more than enough for the two of us, so my next adventure was learning how to can the excess in glass jars. We found success with wonderful salsas using different varieties of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Pull one of these out in the middle of Winter and you will get a taste of summertime!  

Varieties of Tomatoes at Harvest

Yellow Pear, Pineapple and Early Girl Tomatoes are delicious.