Friday, September 9, 2011

Pioneer Preserving Recipes (Continued)

Wisconsin Dutch

Up here, we've heard of Hassenpfeffer  (pickled rabbit), Smoked Tongue (beef tongue) and Broiled Squab (young pigeon), though I can promise you, most haven't eaten them.  Before my research, I didn't know exactly what some of it was.  But I did grow up hearing about them.  By that time they were mostly mocked as back woods fare.  However, from the same robust German kin come our recipes for Muskellunge (Muskie, freshwater fish), so many cheeses and sausages, and my favorite pickled herring.

These German "Deitch" came around 1839-1848 from northeastern Germany - Pomerania and Prussia, Westphalia and the Teuton low country.  And for these women, neglecting the care of her home and family was a mark of substantial inadequacy.

Pickled Beets
Makes 3 pints

4 cups sliced cooked beets
1 large mild onion
2 cups vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Slice beets 1/8 inch thick.
Slice onion.
Combine remaining ingredients and boil 3 minutes.
Pack beets and onion in clean jars.
Add hot vinegar to overflowing.
Let stand 24 hours before using.

Dill Beans
Makes 6 quarts

8 quarts wax beans
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 large stalk dill
3 bay leaves
3 grape leaves
2 quarts water
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup vinegar

Cook whole beans in boiling, salted water 5 minutes.
Pack in jars with next 4 ingredients.
Fill jars with boiling water, salt & vinegar.
Cover with dill and let stand 2 days.
Will keep about 2 weeks.

Elderberry Cordial
Makes 6 quarts

8 quarts elderberries
2 quarts cold water
4 pounds sugar
1 Tablespoon whole allspice
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 quarts whiskey or brandy

Stem and wash berries.
Cover with water and cook until very soft.
Measure juice, for each quart add 2 cups sugar.
Add spices, tied in cheesecloth.
Cook until thick.
Cool, remove spices and measure again.
Add 1 pint whiskey or brandy for each quart syrup.
Bottle and cork tightly.
Improves with age.

Minnesota Scandinavian

This is my heritage.  It's what I grew up with.  It's pickled herring, sweet pastries, lots of dairy, and lefse rolled with butter and honey. 
I've never tasted lutefisk, but I've been to the dinners as a youngster.  My young eyes gawking at the jellied white mass on the plates of many jolly blue-eyed old-timers.

(Sweedish Hardtack)
Makes 24

1 pint buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or other shortening, melted
1 teaspoon salt
7/8 teaspoon baking soda
Coarse rye flour

Mix ingredients to make thick dough.
Shape into 24 balls, dipping them into flour.
Roll very thin with peg rollin pin.
Bake 425° until browned, about 15 minutes.
These are very crisp and tender.
Stores dry for a week.

They would hang over the stove to keep longer.

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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!