Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pioneer Preserving Recipes

This is my "new" cook book, c.1947.  Ive had such fun discovering old- and new-world recipes from long ago.  We can learn so much about our regional histories through these old recipes. 
"Syrup" is spelled "sirup" and there's recipes for rabbit, a dozen gumbos and livers, hearts and kidneys. I'm not tempted by every ingredient, but I love some of the names they use, like "Burgoo", "Cowboy Crumb" and "Eggs Fairlee".  Still, I do appreciate the proficiency with which our early brethren did sup.

In keeping with the season of preservation, I'm thrilled to share some of these old recipes with my stalwart sisters.  I'll spike this up with spirited beverage recipes, as well.  Have fun, ladies!

The book starts with "New England, The Cradle of American Cookery".  

Kennebunk Pickle
(A Pioneer Recipe)

2 pounds fresh green tomatoes
2 pounds fresh red tomatoes
1 small head cabbage
2 sweet red peppers
2 green peppers
3/4 quart onions
1 bunch celery
6 Tablespoons salt
1 quart white vinegar
3 cups brown sugar
1 3-inch stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Chop vegetables very fine. 
Add salt and let stand overnight.
Add vinegar and brown sugar.
Tie cinnamon, cloves and mustard in cheesecloth.
Boil everything together for 30 minutes.
Remove cheesecloth bag.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 5 quarts.

Cranberry Catchup

2 1/2 pounds cranberries
5 cups vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves

Cook cranberries in vinegar until they burst open.
Rub through a sieve.
Add sugar and spices.
Simmer until thick.
Seal in sterilized jars.
Makes 3 pints.

Spiced Blueberries

2 quarts blueberries
1/2 vinegar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 cups sugar

Wash berries.
Add vinegar and spices, boil for 30 minutes.
Add sugar and boil 30 minutes longer, or until thickened.
Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 2 pints.

Spiced Pickled Pumpkin

5 pounds pumpkin, pared and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 Tablespoon broken stick cinnamon
1 quart vinegar
4 pounds sugar

Place pumpkin into kettle.
Tie spices into cheesecloth.
Add to vinegar with sugar and bring to a boil.
Boil 5 minutes.
Pour over pumpkin.
Cook pumpkin in this syrup until it can be pierced.
Place into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 3 quarts.

Spiced Cranberries

2 quarts cranberries
1 1/3 cup vinegar
2/3 cup water
6 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon ground allspice

Wash cranberries and pick over.
Place in large kettle with remaining ingredients.
Cook slowly over low heat for 45 minutes.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 3 pints.

(Mincemeat pie was always served hot.  This is one of my dad's favorite old-time desserts.  His Auntie would serve it on the family homestead farm down in Rushford, Minnesota.)

4 pounds beef, diced
2 pounds beef suet (raw, solid white beef fat)
2 pounds sugar
2 pounds seedless raisins, chopped
2 pounds currants
4 pounds apples, chopped fine
1/2 pound citron, minced
1/2 pound candied lemon peel, minced
grated peel of 2 oranges
grated peel of 1 lemon
1 nutmeg, grated
1 Tablespoon cloves
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cups hard cider
2 cups brandy

Boil the meat and suet together until tender.
Drain and cool.
Force through the food chopper.
Mix all the remaining ingredients together, except the brandy.
Cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the liquor.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 12 quarts.

Spiced Currants

2 1/2 pounds ripe currants
2 pounds sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoon cloves

Wash currants, stem.
Cook with sugar and vinegar over low heat for 1 hour.
Add spices.
Continue cooking 30 minutes.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 2 1/2 pints.

Paradise Jelly

4 quarts red apples or crab apples
12 quinces
2 quarts cranberries
granulated sugar

Wash apples and quinces, remove stem and blossom ends.
Cut into quarters.
Cover with cold water and cook until tender.
Wash cranberries and cook in 1 quart water until tender.
Pour apples, quinces, and cranberries into a jelly bag and let drain overnight.
Add an equal amount, cup for cup, of sugar and boil until it sheets of the spoon, about 10 minutes.
Skim, pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes about 7 pints.

Rhubarb Marmalade

4 pounds rhubarb
5 pounds sugar
1 pound seedless raisins
rind of 1 lemon, cut into shreds
juice of 2 oranges
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wash rhubarb and cut to 1-inch pieces.
Cover with sugar and let stand overnight.
Add remaining ingredients.
Heat to boiling.
Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes, or until thick.
Stir to prevent burning.
Pour into sterilized glasses and seal.
Makes 4 pints.

 These next recipes are from the "Southern" section; "Away Down South in Dixie".

Blackberry Cordial
(I don't understand the math here.  I'm assuming there's a typo.  Is it suppose to be 1 quart of French brandy?  Otherwise it works out to a little less than 1/2 cup per pint.  A big difference.  Be brave!)

1 quart blackberry juice
4 cups sugar
1/2 Tablespoon mace
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons cloves
1 pint French brandy

Combine all ingredients except brandy.
Boil together 15 minutes.
Cool and strain the syrup.
To each quart of juice, add 1 pint French brandy.
Bottle at once.
Cork and seal.
Makes 3 1/2 pints.

wild ginger

Apple Chutney
(Wild ginger grows in the south.)  They recommend this to be eaten with chicken or game.

1/3 pound wild ginger root (not interchangeable with tropical ginger root)
1 1/2 cup dried currants
2 1/2 ounces garlic
4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups vinegar  (equal parts cider & tarragon)
3 pints apples, peeled and diced
1 pint fresh peaches, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel and mince wild ginger root fine.
Wash and drain currants.
Peel garlic cloves and cut in half.
Cook sugar, salt and vinegar together to a clear syrup.
Add ginger root.
Cook 20 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients, let simmer 5-6 hours over low heat, stirring occasionally.
The chutney should be the consistency of thick marmalade.
Fill sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 3 pints.

Pickled Watermelon Rind
(Just to make you homesick.)

2 pounds watermelon rind
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
2 pounds sugar
1 pint vinegar
1 pint water
1 lemon, sliced thin

Soak watermelon rind overnight in salt water:
  (1/4 cup salt to 1 quart water)
Drain off brine.
Cook watermelon rind in clear water until tender.
Tie spices in cheesecloth (Removing before rind is bottled.)
Make a hot pickling solution of remaining ingredients and spices.
Add drained rind.
Boil rapidly until rind becomes clear.
Fill sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 2 pints.

Guava Jam

4 cups sugar
5 pounds guavas
1 cup water

Boil sugar and water together until it spins a thread (238°F).
Halve guavas, remove stones.
Cook in a little water until soft.
Strain and add to syrup.
Cook until thick.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes about 2 pints

Grapefruit and Pineapple Marmalade

1 pineapple
1 grapefruit
1 lemon

Pare pineapple and shred.
Cut grapefruit and lemon into quarters, then into thin slices.
Measure fruit.
Add 3 pints of water for each pint of fruit.
Set aside until next day.
Cook 3 or more hours, until rinds are very tender.
Set aside until next day.
Measure and add an equal amount of sugar.
Boil until it sheets off spoon.
Fill into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes about 3 pints.

May Haw Jelly

1 pound May haws (part under-ripe)
1 pint water

Wash May haws.
Cook with water until soft, 10-15 minutes.
Strain through wet cheesecloth.
Strain through flannel jelly bag.
Measure juice and bring to a boil.
Add 1 cup sugar  for each cup juice.
Cook to jelly stage.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 1 1/2 pints.

may haw tree

May Haw Butter

3 pounds May haws or 8 cups May haw pulp
2 quarts water
4 cups sugar

Wash May haws.
Cook with water until tender.
Rub through a sieve.
Add sugar to 8 cups pulp.
Cook until thick.
Pour into sterilized glasses and seal.
Makes about 3 pints.

Pear Chips

7 cups sugar
4 cups water
2 lemons, sliced thin
2 ounces crystallized ginger, chopped
4 pounds pears, sliced thin

Make a syrup of the sugar and water.
Add lemon, ginger, and pears.
Simmer for 1 hour.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes about 4 pints.

Pear Marmalade

8 pounds ripe pears
3 oranges
2 lemons
12 cups sugar (6 pounds)

Wash, core, and grind pears,
Wash oranges and lemons, removing seeds and ends.
Grind whole fruit, skin and all.
Place all the fruit into kettle.
Add sugar, stir well.
Bring to a boil, cook until clear.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 8 pints.

Brazil nuts

Brazil Nut-Cherry Conserve

4 cups sour cherries
1/4 cup water
7 cups sugar
1 cup sliced Brazil nuts
1 cup fruit pectin

Pit cherries.
Place in large kettle, add water.
Stir until it boils.
Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Add sugar and mix well.
Heat rapidly to boiling.
Add Brazil nuts, boil 3 minutes, stirring.
Remove from heat.
Stir in fruit pectin.
Cool 3 minutes.
Stir well.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes about 3 1/2 pints.

Tomato Preserves

1 pound small, ripe tomatoes
Boiling water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, sliced thin

Pour boiling water over tomatoes.
Cover tightly 2 minutes.
Cover with cold water.
Peel tomatoes, being careful not to break them.
Place sugar and tomatoes in a crock or enamel bowl,
let stand overnight.
Drain off juice and boil rapidly until it threads.
Add tomatoes and thinly sliced lemon.
Cook until clear and thick.
Fill sterilized jars and seal.
Makes about 1/2 pint.

It's late now, but I'm looking forward to continuing to record these regional preserves.  Next is the Pensylvania Dutch and the Creole.  Check back!


  1. The Blackberry Cordial reminds me of Anne of Green Gables, when Diana got drunk on raspberry cordial. :~)

  2. OH! I forgot about that! I LOVE those shows!!!

  3. Really appreciate you linking up this fantastic post at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop. Hope you'll continually share your creativity with us at the weekly party :)


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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!