Friday, April 26, 2013

Mixed Pickle, Sweet Pickel - Gramma's Webster's Recipe Book - Family Recipe Friday

Someone commented on last week's recipe post that generations ago cooks kept a lot of information in their heads.  It seems they didn't require the details provided by today's recipes as many modern cooks do.  Was it because there were fewer options for ingredients and cooking methods?  Maybe recipes didn't have such individual, specific needs or, if they did, perhaps they were learned at the side of a mother or sister, using the same recipe of ingredients often enough that the recipe became rote.  Was it because times were simpler?  I doubt they had a constant tide of new information assailing them on an hourly basis so perhaps it was easier to focus.  Whatever the reason, I sometimes stumble to decide how to mix and bake the old recipes.

Mixed pickle
5 qt.  [bracketed to left of first 3 lines]
1 quart small cucumbers
1    "   small onions   green tomato
1    "    cauliflower   (peppers)
sprinkle with salt
and let stand over
2 quart vinegar when
boiling add 8 tablsepoon
mustard.  3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cayenn pepper
1 tablespoon tumeric
boil in weak vinegar
10 min put in paste [?]
and boil. then seal.
while hot

Sweet pickel
For Pear, peaches, or apple
1 qt vinegar, 3 lb. sugar
1/2 ounce each whole cloves
and stick cinnamon
Boil fruit remove and
Boil syrup until clear
put in fruit & seal.

It looks like Gramma adapted the Mixed pickle recipe over time adding green tomatoes and peppers to the other ingredients.  I was surprised to see flour in the ingredients for pickles and also surprised at the quantity of spices.  I have a tender palette:  my husband teases me that I think catsup is spicy.  I'm not sure how well I'd enjoy these pickles with their cayenne and tumeric.

She doesn't mention the quantity of ingredients for the sweet pickle recipe.  Three pounds of sugar seems like a lot, but then they <i>are</i> sweet pickles.  I also find it interesting that she gave the weight of the spices instead of spoonful measurements.  The other recipes I've transcribed call for spoonful measurements.  I think this recipe may be the most challenging yet.

Gramma probably used Ball or Mason canning jars (as opposed to crocks or metal cans).  She didn't mention how long to boil the pickles.  These days each food being canned has a recommended processing time in a water bath or pressure canner for the food to be considered safely canned.  I doubt much detail existed during Gramma's time.  However, I don't know of a single family member who was harmed by her canning methods or those of any other family member.

The grandmother to whom these recipes belonged was Emma Virginia Bickerstaff Meinzen.

Happy canning (when canning season finally arrives)!

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