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Making a Piece of History

September 23rd, 2010

Earlier this spring I collected a bunch of my grandmother’s and my great grandmother’s recipes from my mom’s side of the family. I’m hoping to make them, take photos and make up a family heirloom cookbook. I’ve been waiting for the time to harvest green tomatoes so I could make this recipe, it’s one of my great grandmother’s.

I cleared out a raised bed in the back and pulled out all the tomatoes to make room for fall spinach. I ended up with 7 pounds of green tomatoes, the perfect amount for this recipe. Last year I made green tomato chutney with all the green tomatoes and we’ve been enjoying that on sandwiches and on burgers.

I had to make a special trip out to find pickling lime. I thought about making my own with some wood ash, but decided for my first try at pickling with lime I’d rather buy actually pickling time. Perhaps in the future I’ll try making my own.

I finished up the recipe yesterday morning. So far I’m not loving the flavor, we’ll see how they age. I think I may add some mustard seeds before canning them as I thought they could use a little more flavor. If we don’t end up liking them I’ll probably turn them into chutney.

Do you have any heirloom canning recipes you use?

16 Comments to “Making a Piece of History”
  1. Miranda on September 23, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Neat – those sound interesting and complicated! Can’t wait tos ee what else you pull up.

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  2. Justin on September 23, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Does that really say 5 1/2 POUNDS of sugar? Wow. That seems like a lot, even for that volume of fruit and vinegar. A whole bag and then some…

    I love reading old recipes. It’s amusing how everything is in big round amounts (a pound of this, a pint of that, a quart of this) and there’s a whole lot of assumption that you know what to do for certain processes, i.e. “put in jars.” In the days of food science where recipes are often tested like formulas in a lab, I sometimes go back to these old family recipes and look at the proportions and I understand why heart disease is so rampant in my family (not to mention weight problems with Americans in general). :-)

    I’ve been meaning for quite some time to get ahold of my great grandmother’s “cookbook,” which I believe my aunt has. As I recall it, it was a tall bound financial ledger (the predecessor to the “spreadsheet”) that she pasted magazine clippings into, tucked-in hand-written notes–sometimes with no titles or measurements. Half of the recipes are in French. Also, she loved to do candymaking, which is rather a lost art for home cooks. I vaguely remember colorful magazine photos of homemade ribbon candy.

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    • Susy on September 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      I know, it’s a TON of sugar! I love recipes like this too, although they can be a challenge with a small garden.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Susanne on September 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Green tomatoes… whenever I read about a recipe requiring green tomatoes I am wondering if this is safe altogether. What about the solanine – what do you think?

    Reply to Susanne's comment

    • Susy on September 24, 2010 at 11:04 pm

      I don’t worry about it. It used to be believed that tomato leaves were poisonous but then it was found out that the compounds weren’t absorbed by the body, they actually bind to cholesterol and help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer. So I usually add a few tomato leaves to my tomato recipes because they enhance the tomato flavor.

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  4. Stone Soup on September 23, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I have also aquired my grandmother’s handwritten recipe book. This year I make piccalilli relish and my great grandmother’s sour pickles. Not sure about the piccalilli, I think it will be okay after it ages. Trying to get our past alive . . .thought my family might like to get some of Gram’s goodies for Christmas this year! My Gram passed away this March at 101 year old, I guess she was doing something right!

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  5. Kim on September 23, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I have an old recipe for pickled beets that I just did a post on
    But my most treasured canning recipe was given to me by an elderly neighobor who got a spicy pickled okra recipe from former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. I was told that she made them in the White House.

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  6. kristin @ going country on September 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Aunt Belva’s Pickled Beets. Not my Aunt Belva. Actually the MiL’s brother-in-law’s great-aunt Belva. How’s that for a tenuous family connection? But Aunt Belva was southern, and southerners know their pickles beets. They’re YUM.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • kristin @ going country on September 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      Pickled beets, I meant, not pickles. Though I suppose southerners know their pickles, too.

      Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  7. sarah on September 23, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    hello from a fellow northeastern ohio dweller!

    Reply to sarah's comment

  8. Stephanie Morimoto on September 24, 2010 at 1:23 am

    I love that you’re keeping your grandmother and great-grandmother’s recipes alive by making them. Someone I know is working on a cookbook that preserves “heirloom” recipes and tells the stories of the food cultures behind them. I think she would love what you’re doing.

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  9. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Making a Piece of History #canning #harvestkeeperschallenge #greentomatopickles #pickles […]

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  10. Bonny on September 17, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I spent Labor day weekend pickling Fairfax pickles which I think are fantastic. You can read about the experience here:

    I am the third generation in my family to make these and each time I do they remind me of my grandmother Emily. She was a remarkable woman and I am fortunate to hold pickling with her as one of my last memories of our times spent together.

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    • Susy on September 17, 2011 at 6:17 am

      What a lovely heritage!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Beth Best on May 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    My recipe for green tomato pickles calls for 4 Quarts of green onions
    10 medium onions – both sliced think. Sprinkle with 1 cup of pickling salt. Leave overnight in canner until salt is gone and there is lots of brine. In the morning pour off the brine and rinse the vegetables 4 times. Add 4 green peppers, cut in strips . Cover vegetables with vinegar just to the tops of vegetables. (No more or pickles will be too juicy) LESS vinegar and your pickle will be thicker. Add 5 CUPS of white sugar. 4T mixed spice (tied in a bag)…4 Tbs.mustard 1 teaspoon turmeric. Pack pickles into HOT sterilized jars and seal.

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  12. Beth Best on May 25, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    This is my Mother-in-laws recipe from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in the 40’s

    Reply to Beth Best's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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