Around the Kitchen Table 02-13-14

Canning Mince Meat and Preserving Memories


This is another old picture that someone forgot to label. It might have connections to the Steer Creek Tanner/Miller families.

I thought, judging by the clothing, that it might have been taken during or before the 1920s. Imagine washing those long dresses in a washtub on a washboard. One of those dresses would almost fill up a washtub.

I remember Frank Hardman, who was our neighbor on Briar Lick during the 1950s and 1960s, said he almost always planted his lettuce bed around the first of Feb. I do not think anyone has found lettuce bed planting weather this Feb. We go from extremely cold to flooding and then back to snow. This week has been a little warmer but we have had lots of rain, ice and snow slick roads.

I have been working on quilts. I am working on five different quilts. I hope to soon have three of them finished. Last week, daughter Jo Ann took me to the Arnoldsburg fabric shop to get some fabric I needed to finish some of them.

Last week I made a turn of mince meat from a recipe that Mom gave me when I was first married, 66 years ago. I bought 2 and half pounds of pork (mostly, but not all lean), shoulder roast, cooked and ground it up and added the following ingredients: one pint of meat broth, 3 boxes of raisins, one pound of cranberries and three quarts of applesauce. I always add sugar, cinnamon and ground nutmeg to taste. Simmer in a heavy bottomed cooker for two and half to three hours. I added the zest and juice of two lemons, two oranges and one can of cranberry sauce to my pot. We had a sour cherry tree at home and Mom always added a quart of sour cherries and a pint of juice from a jar of wild plums she had gathered and canned for her minced meat. Once I made my minced meat out of raw unseasoned sausage, but never again will I try that because I never got it to taste like it should have. Minced meat is best frozen, but I canned mine. It keeps longer canned.

When getting my jars and lids ready to can, I found two glass lids from WWII days. At that time, canning was done with a metal lid that had a rubber seal in it. The lid was held on top of the jar until it was sealed with a metal ring. The metal lid was only used one time and then discarded. Metal was scarce during the war and substitute glass lids were made with a rubber ring that went between he glass lid and the jar to seal the jar. A special wide band screwed over the glass lid and sealed the jars. I remember schools closed for scrap metal drives and students and parents gathered up scrap metal, zinc jar lids, meat fat and anything that could be used in the war effort and big trucks came and collected it.

Electric did not come to our part of the county until after WWII ended. We had a radio that ran on what was called a dry cell battery. The battery had to be bought at town and could not be recharged. I do not remember how many hours the battery lasted but money was scarce and the radio was mostly used for supper. I remember listening to Lum and Abner, Amos and Andy and every evening we listened to Lowell Thomas to see how the war was going. Sometimes the news was very bad.