Monday, July 26, 2010
An obsession gone too far!
Last fall in Maine I bought a half-pint jar of piccalilli from this lovely man, known only as 'Dad.' It was so tasty on crackers, we quickly consumed it. And, since then, my mouth has watered for more.
So, after looking to no avail at all our local farmer's markets for a similar delight, I decided to make my own. I got out my Ball Blue Book. My copy happens to be the copy my grandmother used to use. It is dated 1932. Not going out and buying a more current copy was my first mistake.
This fantastic picture is inside the front copy of my 1932 Ball Blue Book. Doesn't she make it look civilized and simple? Not even an apron is needed!
So, I googled to find out how many green tomatoes in a peck, as that was how many the recipe called for. Google said '17, if baseball sized." Went to the farmer's market and came home with a peck of green tomatoes. And a head of cabbage, eight large onions, and a red, a yellow, and an orange bell pepper. I had to chop all those up. No, I do not have a food processor. I barely have a sharp enough knife! I chopped and I cried - very cathartic, really. This photo does not really show you how large this full bowl is. I began to worry a bit. I went to the store and bought a dozen more half-pint jars, as I've used all mine on apricot jam.
I let the chopped veggies sit overnight (as per recipe) then I drained it and put it in my biggest stockpot. Well, no I didn't.... it wouldn't all fit in my biggest stockpot, so I had to use the canner (which it filled,) then wash it out to do the canning. In addition to the veggie mix, it called for 2 quarts(!) of vinegar, brown sugar, and lots of spices, including cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, cayenne pepper, and a half-pound of mustard seeds. (Should that not have been a clue?) I wanted about 6 half-pints of piccalilli. I ended up with 13 half-pints, and 5 pints, and I had to dump about a quart, because I ran out of jars.
Does anyone want some piccalilli?