Food does not play a major role in “Yankee Reconstructed,” but here a a couple of recipes from the period that Sarah and the other women from her church might have prepared for sale in Eddie and Gretchen’s Country Store.
Put beets in a large saucepan or stockpot and add enough cold water to cover them with 3 inches over the top. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to maintain a slow boil. Cook until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes.
Pour water off and let beets cool. Slip skins off once the beets are cool enough to handle. Slice and set aside.
Place the sugar, cider vinegar, water, salt, and spices in a smaller saucpan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour this pickling liquid into a large glass jar (1.5 liter or 1/2 gallon), add the sliced beets, cover with a lid and refrigerate. Let the beets sit at least a week before tasting.
Add shelled hard boiled eggs to the mixture once the beets are ready. Try to use the eggs in 2 to 3 days. If left in the pickling liquid too long, they turn rubbery.
Keep adding more cooked beets (and eggs) as needed. May keep in the refrigerator up to 6 months.
In a very large bowl, toss the bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cabbage with the salt; cover and refrigerate overnight.
Drain the vegetables, discarding the liquid. In a large, heavy pot, bring the sugar, vinegar and water to a boil. Add the mustard seeds, dry mustard, crushed red pepper, celery seeds, ginger and turmeric and stir well. Add the drained vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the relish is thick and saucy, about 1 hour.
Pack the chowchow into 6 hot 1-quart canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top, and close with the lids and rings.To process, simmer the jars at 180 degrees for 30 minutes and monitor the water temperature with a thermometer.
Store the jars in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks before serving, to allow the flavors to meld; store unopened for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening. Serve with any meat or sausage. Particularly good on hot dogs.
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