The Collier Cucumber: Once Nearly Lost, Now Preserved

 The Collier Cucumber: Once Nearly Lost, Now Preserved

One summer during the 1950s, Graham and Margaret Collier of Nashville, Tennessee planted all the seeds they had of their family’s heirloom slicing cucumber. Little did they know, none of the plants would survive that summer’s drought. But that's not where the story ends.

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A man and his beans: Burt Berrier

A man and his beans: Burt Berrier

Burt Berrier, of Canon City, CO, collected beans because he enjoyed their stories, their diversity, and because it allowed him to meet people from all over the world.

“One thing about collecting beans, each has a life in it, it’s not dead as collecting clocks, dolls, guns etc…. There is no end to the subject of beans. I was told as a boy I didn’t know beans and I find that now at nearly 85 it’s still the same.”

                                                                          -Burt Berrier (circa 1978)

 

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The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Brinker Carrier' bean

The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Brinker Carrier' bean

It is a good snap bean, but received especially strong taste reviews as a shelling and dry bean. Jane Jensen of Utah writes, “yummy shelly bean, had the best flavor, white, creamy smooth, delicious.”

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The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Pink Plume' celery

The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Pink Plume' celery

In 1894, the Peter Henderson & Co. seed house of New York introduced Pink Plume celery. Its beautiful appearance and intense flavor inspired gardeners and seed companies to add it to their collections. By 1903, over 100 seed houses across North America were offering this variety.

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The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Enrico Rao' arugula

The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Enrico Rao' arugula

SSE listed member Hans Hansen, of Peaceable Kingdom School in Texas, sent SSE this arugula in the mid-1990s. Peaceable Kingdom School received seeds for this variety from Ric (Enrico) Rao in 1992. Ric had been growing and saving seed from his family’s heirloom arugula since finding some seeds in his grandfather’s garden shed in 1983.

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Collection to Catalog

Collection to Catalog

The introduction of the Limited Edition “From the Preservation Gardens” line of seeds to the SSE catalog in 2013 brought the heartwarming, funny, and sometimes curious stories of varieties from our on-site preservation collection into the homes of thousands of Americans. The SSE catalog is responsible for producing an annual infusion of fresh pieces of history along with member favorites.

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Storied Vegetables: the Root of Quality

Storied Vegetables: the Root of Quality

Food Diversity – mountains of tomato varieties and rainbow carrots, melons grown for roasting their tasty seeds, wacky kinds of hot pepper – defines the work happening at Seed Savers Exchange. Thankfully, we’re not alone...

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Seed Stories

Seed Stories

It is urgent to gather the stories and histories of heirloom seeds by all possible means: phone conversations, emails, letters and personal meetings. Seed Savers Exchange is in a race against time to contact the seed donors and their relatives so that their first-hand accounts are not lost. Read one such story of the "Aunt Molly Bean" here.

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SSE Collection Pepper 1191: 'Hinkelhatz'

Hinkelhatz in a bowl

Hinkelhatz in a bowl The ‘Hinkelhatz’ pepper was first noted as an ingredient for pepper sauces in the 1848 Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook, Die Geschickte Hausfrau. Seed Savers Exchange member, William Woys Weaver, translated and republished the book under the title Sauerkraut Yankee in 1983. According to Weaver, the pepper was rarely eaten raw by the Pennsylvania Dutch, instead it was favored for colorful pickles and flavorful sauces.

Weaver inherited the seeds for ‘Hinkelhatz’ as a part of his late grandfather’s seed collection. According to his grandmother, the peppers first arrived in her kitchen around 1935. Because they were too spicy for her, she made them into a sauce for the boys – unknowingly continuing the tradition of making hot sauce with the pepper.

The ‘Hinkelhatz’ pepper has been cultivated since at least the 1880s by the Pennsylvania Dutch. These settlers were a unique group of immigrants from southwestern Germany and Switzerland who established themselves in Pennsylvania during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Pennsylvania Dutch still have strong cultural ties to the original settlements throughout Pennsylvania and adjacent communities, with a rich food heritage that still includes the ‘Hinkelhatz’ pepper.

HINKELHATZ CROCK PICKLE - reprinted with permission from William Woys Weaver's book, Sauerkraut Yankee

This traditional Pennsylvania Dutch pickle must have enough Hinkelhatz pepper in it to give it a spicy flavor. Vinegar often modifies the heat of hot peppers, so if in doubt, put whole seeded pods in the pickle and taste it often for the first day or two.  If it seems to be getting too hot, remove the pods. If it is not hot enough, add more.

Yield: Approximately 2 quarts (2 liters)

1 large bunch fresh dill, preferably with flower heads (at least 4 to 5 large flower heads) 12 cloves of garlic cut in half lengthwise 1 tablespoon mustard seed 10 fresh bay leaves 4 tablespoons coriander seeds 2 teaspoons black peppercorns 1 tablespoon allspice 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped Hinkelhatz peppers, or whole seeded pods to taste 8 ounces (250g) cauliflower broken into small florets 8 ounces (250g) sliced green tomato 8 ounces (250g) sliced baby cucumbers 8 ounces (250g) carrot, pared and cut diagonally into paper thin slices 8 ounces (250g) sweet peppers seeded and cut into irregular pieces (green or red, preferably red) 1 ½ quarts (1 ½ liters) spring water 2 cups (500ml) white wine vinegar or 1 cup garlic flavored vinegar plus 1 cup coriander flavored vinegar 1/3 cup (90g) pickling salt

Place half the dill in the bottom of a non-reactive crock or large sanitized glass jar.  Combine all the ingredients in a deep work bowl, and when thoroughly mixed, pour into a crock or glass preserve jar. Heat the spring water, vinegar, and salt in a non-reactive preserving pan and bring to a full boil for 3 minutes.  Pour this over the vegetables, place the remaining dill on top and cover.  Once cool, set aside in a refrigerator or cool pantry to marinate 3 weeks before using.  Check the pickle from time to time to adjust the heat of the peppers. Add more ripe peppers if it does not seem hot enough.

Today, the ‘Hinkelhatz’ pepper is available in the Seed Savers catalog, having gained attention for its flavor, compact habit, and prolific production. Slow Food USA features this pepper in its ‘Ark of Taste’ because of its importance as a part of America’s food heritage, and Weaver discusses it in his book, Heirloom Vegetable Gardening. Help preserve a unique heirloom variety and grow some ‘Hinkelhatz!'