fresh beets

Ways to Cook Beets / Beetroot

Beets (also called beetroots) were an important root crop in the 1800s.  They kept well during the winter, were nutritious, and provided color to a meal. Beet tops (greens) and stalks were also cooked, but only when fresh. I had only eaten canned pickled beets until recently.  A friend baked some beets that were drizzled with olive oil and I liked them. The beet recipes below also sound interesting, especially the Beetroot Fritters. GLOSSARY: Arrowroot […]

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Homemade Cottage Cheese

Making Homemade Cottage Cheese from Raw Milk

My mother loves cottage cheese and told me her mother made it when she was a child. She put clabbered milk in a cloth bag and hung it from a clothes line to let all the liquid drain from it. In the past, people usually made cottage cheese from sour or clabber milk. Cottage cheese was also called “smearcase” and clabber milk was also known as “loppered milk.” Soured milk was fresh raw milk that […]

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escargot snails

How to Cook Snails

I’ve read through dozens of old cookbooks from the 1800s and this is the only time I’ve seen snails mentioned. This photo is of escargot (land snails) but they look bigger than any snails I’ve ever seen. The information below is from The Hand-Book of Practical Cookery For Ladies and Professional Cooks by Pierre Blot , New York, 1884 SNAILS A good many are now imported from Europe. HOW TO CLEAN AND PREPARE SNAILS Throw them […]

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basket of fresh eggs

Preserve Eggs With Slaked Lime or Water Glass

This post is a continuation of ways to preserve eggs.  You can read the previous post here, How to Preserve Eggs for Winter. Two more ways of preserving eggs in the 1800s, was to use slaked lime and water glass. DEFINITIONS: Slaked Lime is calcium hydroxide,  an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca(OH)2. It is obtained when calcium oxide (called lime or quicklime) is mixed, or “slaked” with water. It has many names including hydrated […]

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bowl of eggs

How to Preserve Eggs for Winter

Hens normally lay most of their eggs during the spring and summer when there is more natural daylight.  They slow down or stop laying eggs in the darker winter months. In the 1800s, people needed to preserve eggs that were laid in the spring so they would last through the winter. Today, poultry can be raised under artificial light and we have refrigeration, so we don’t have to worry about egg shortages. INFORMATION BELOW FROM […]

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molasses poured from a spoon

Making Candy With Molasses

Molasses (treacle in the U.K.) is a sweetener made from refining sugar cane or sugar beets. I’ve always loved the taste of molasses.  When I was young, my mother sometimes let me taste a spoonful of it.  It was good just like that, but of course, I like it when baked into cookies, too. GLOSSARY: angelica – a plant of the parsley family syrup spins a thread – syrup will form a brittle liquid thread when dropped into […]

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dumplings in soup

How to Make Different Types of Dumplings

Most of the recipes from old cookbooks are for rounded dumplings. Some recipes say to wrap the dumplings in cloth, like when boiling a pudding.  Others say to roll the dumplings in a ball or drop the dumpling mixture from a spoon into hot liquid. The only dumplings I’ve ever eaten were in a Chicken and Dumplings recipe.  Those dumplings were rolled out flat and cut into small rectangular strips.   GLOSSARY: Dripping / Drippings […]

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walnut fudge

Making Fudge by Hand

Fudge is expensive when you buy it in candy stores, but it’s easy to make. The hard part is beating the mixture because it gets so thick.  Electric mixers make the job easy for people today, but years ago, fudge was mixed by hand. Candy thermometers became available to household cooks in the early 1900s, but they were expensive.  Prior to that, people determined the temperature of their candy mixtures by dropping a bit of […]

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