I can't imagine why we tend to complain today about our 'lack of time'. I was going through some of my oldest recipes this afternoon and became terribly aware of how comparatively easy our lives are today! When recipes begin with ingredients containing the measure 'bushel' you know you have entered some sort of crazy time warp bringing you to a time and place that...wait a minute you know what place - it was the kitchen, and the time was all day long! Women 100 years ago didn't have the opportunities our young women today do and while I might get nostalgic thinking of that time period as 'simpler', I have to remember to take a good look at the leaps and bounds we've made! The reality is that I wouldn't trade the opportunities I've had or my education for any of the past! It was fun for me to make and can the strawberry jam last week that I wrote about. Fun because I didn't 'have' to do it and fun because I didn't have 'bushels' of them sitting at my feet demanding swift attention!
Canning and food preservation was and is serious work. It was a necessary part of life and in many parts of the world still is. I love that when I attempt to can or preserve food that it is purely out of a desire to connect with the common bond women share! If you would like to explore more about the food preservation world please visit the Canning Across America website for information, advice and a great community of people who are trying to instill a fresh interest in this skill.
It's summer and there are plenty of tomatoes still being harvested in gardens all across the world so I thought that these two recipes might bring back the days when eating outdoors with family and friends every night was the norm. Putting up all these tomatoes would assure the taste of summer year round! I'm sure it tasted more like a sunny summer day than the stuff we buy in the big box stores we all currently pour our money into.
Tomato Chow Chow
1/2 Bushel green tomatoes
16 new onions
1 dozen green peppers
Chop fine together. Sprinkle over all 1 pint salt. Let it stand overnight, then drain off brine, cover with good vinegar and cook slowly 1 hour. Drain and pack in jar. Take 2 lbs. brown sugar, 2 Tsps. cinnamon, 1 of allspice, 1 of cloves, 1 pepper (all ground), 1/2 cup ground mustard, 1 pint grated horse radish and vinegar enough to mix. When boiling hot pour over the contents of jar.
Wow. All I have to say about the above recipe is...how do I know if I have good vinegar? I guess the horseradish you would have to grow and grind yourself - of course you would. That's exactly where you would find the 16 onions and the dozen green peppers!! Here's another recipe involving green tomatoes...just for fun!
Green Tomato Mince
2 quarts chopped green tomatoes (3 and a half lbs.)
1 pound sugar
2 pounds raisins
1/4 tsp. each of all kinds of spice.
Cook together until thick, then add one cup vinegar.
(Add 3 and a half lbs. chopped apples and a lemon if you like)
That last instruction in parentheses was added at a later date to the recipe and in a different hand.
If you would like to see what Wikipedia says about the origin of Chow Chow click on the link! It's actually related to Piccalilli...who knew? Well, apparently a lot of people did. Here's a picture for some modern uses of those bushels you might have floating around or find at the flea market...
- Danbury, CT
- I'm a full-time substitute teacher and coordinator of CMT's at a large middle school. Married with two grown sons (both redheads)! I'm not afraid of anything! One son just graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a degree in Journalism - he minored in Cinema Studies. The other just began his freshman year at The University of Hartford where he is a student of the Hartford Art School. We are owned by a smelly, old cat, a frenzied dachshund named Otis and a chinchilla!