By Anna Kathryn Lanier
Unlike Skhye Moncrief, who put this blog hop together, I am not much of a Prepper. When hurricane season rolls around, I stock water and one shelf of non-perishable foods. I don’t have a month’s worth of food stashed away, let alone a year’s worth. Come the end of the world, or even life as we know it, I’m a goner.
But I do have an interest in the Old West, wagon trains and pioneer life. I know just enough to get me into trouble (as evident by the invite to participate in this blog hop). I don’t know if I really know enough about cooking with dried food or canned goods, but I do have shelves of resource books. So, I’m willing to give it a try. I turned to my log cabin and pioneer living cookbooks for help. On this subject, they weren’t a lot of help…as they focused more on open flame and fireplace cooking, but I lucked out and found a few recipes.
Now, the trick is having the dried and canned goods on hand, so be sure to stock up on those ahead of time (you have about 3 weeks if the Mayas were right). Oh, looking over these recipes, I’d stock up on sugar too…lots of it!
From AMRICAN COOKERY by Amelia Simmons, 1796, we are given a recipe to dry peaches:
Take the fairest and ripest peaches, pare them into fair water; take their weight in double refined sugar; of one half make a very thin syrup; then put in your peaches, boiling them till they look clear, then split and stone them (remove the pit); boil them till they are very tender, lay them a draining, take the other half of the sugar, and boil it almost to candy; then put in your peaches, let them lie all night then lay them on a glass and set them in a stove, till they are dry, if they are sugared too much, wipe them with a wet cloth a little.
Now that you have dried peaches, here’s a recipe for using them:
Fried Peach Pies
Combine 5 cups dried peaches, 4 cups sugar, and water to cover. Cook down until tender. Mash peaches with potatoes masher, add sugar, and let cool.
Use a good pastry dough for the crust. Cut the dough about 5 by 8 inches. Place the peaches in each crust fold over and stick edges of crust together. You may have to dampen edges to get them to stick good. Fry till browned in well greased skillet.
Log Cabin Cooking by Barbara Swell has a dried apple recipe:
Dried Sweet Apple Schnitz: Boil either a ham bone or a piece of pork with the desired amount of dried sweet apples and cook until almost tender. Add about one-half as many pared raw potatoes and continue cooking until meat, apples and potatoes are well done.
Schnitz un Knepp – a popular dish with the Pennsylvania Dutch
3 lbs. ham
1 qt. dried apples, soaked in water overnight
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 egg, well beaten
3 tbsp. melted butter
Milk to moisten batter, but keep stiff
Boil ham until soft. Add soaked apples, water in which they were soaked, boil another 1/2 hour. Add sugar. Make dumplings by sifting together the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and shortening. Drop by spoonfuls into the hot liquid with ham and apples. Cover and cook 18 minutes without lifting lid.
Log Cabin Cooking also has instructions on how to make Leather Britches or dried beans.
Pick your fresh beans and wash them. Snap off the ends if needed. Break the beans in half and run a threaded needle through the middle of each bean. Once you have a string of beans as long as you like, hang it in a dark, cool place, checking on it occasionally to make sure they don’t start to mold. Once dried, you can unstring them and keep them in a muslin sack, or you can keep them strung. To cook the beans, soak them overnight in cold water. Strain off the water and rinse the beans. Cover with water, add some ham and simmer about six hours or until tender.
Preserves or canning is also a good skill to have. But you’ll need to stock up on pectin if you’re going to do jellies. A recipe that might come in handy when the world as we know it ends is Dandelion Jelly…as they should be easy enough to come by.
1 quart dandelion blossoms
2 quarts water
1 pkg. pectin
5 ½ cups sugar
2 tbs orange extract
Pour blossoms into a large saucepan or soup kettle with the water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for about 4 minutes. Strain through cheese cloth, pressing out 3 cups of dandelion liquid. Return 3 cups of liquid to the kettle. Add pectin and let boil, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in sugar and boil 5 minutes more. Add orange extract. Boil 1 minute. Skim foam from jelly. Pour into sterilized jelly glasses. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
So, since we’ve established I’m not much of a Prepper, for visiting me today and leaving a message, one lucky person will win a copy of OLD PIONEER RECIPES Cookbook (hey, they didn’t have microwaves back then!) and I’ll throw in some surprise romance books for your reading pleasure.
Don’t forget to visit tomorrow’s Bug-in with Romance blogger Tina Gayle at www.tinagayle.blogspot.com. Tina will be talking about camp cooking…a great subject for when you lose your electricity and your stove stops working!