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Connecting with old family recipes

Below is a very sweet letter that I received after a jam workshop.  One of the women in the class wanted confirmation that her grandmother's salsa recipe was safe to make.  The old "no one has died yet" just needed a little more confirmation.  This is one of my favorite parts of what I do, connecting people with their old family recipes and giving them the confidence that it will be safe to eat.  This recipe is safe to make and eat!!!  I also love how she adds that she will make some for her 94 year old grandfather (tears in my eyes) and what could be a better gift for him....

"Thank you so much for the class yesterday!  I feel completely more confident in my skills. 

I really wanted to sign up for your Tomato classes but unfortunately I am out of town from the 3rd-10th in August! 

Below is my grandma's/ great - grandma's tomato chili recipe.  I grew up with it being added to basically every meat dish - meat loaf, pork chops etc.  My Grandmother passed away 10 years ago and no one has attempted the recipe since then.  I really wanted to be able to can some jars for my grandfather this year.  He is 94 and I think would really enjoy getting it as a gift. After hearing about the change in tomato acidity I was wondering if you would just be able to look at it to see if it looks reasonable.  I figure between the sugar/vinegar it should be fine, but it does add some extra vegetables in.

1 pk. Tomatoes (Great grandmother said only  ½ pk. though in her recipe)
2c. chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 Tlbs. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ cup mixed whole (Great grandmother said only allspice)spices and cloves tied in a spice bag (Grandmother's recipe mentioned using a tea caddy, “works great instead of cheese cloth”)
2 sticks whole cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cider vinegar


1.       Peel, core, and cut tomatoes in at least quarters. Place in kettle and allow to drain while preparing other        vegetables.
2.       Pour off drained liquid from tomatoes and other chopped vegetables.  Mix together.

3.       Add other ingredients and mix.  Place spice bag in mixed ingredients and bring to a rapid boil.

4.      Lower flame and simmer until thickened and of desired consistency; about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

5.       Remove spice bag and cinnamon sticks.

6.       Fill clean, sterile jars and seal process in hot water bath.  10 minutes for pints.  15 min. for quarts. The hot water bath must return to a full boil before timing.

 Thank you for all your help!



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  • Robert on

    I’d like to try this recipe. When you say 1 pack of tomatoes, how many are considered a pack? Also the red and green peppers are they bell peppers or spicy peppers, such as Jalapeño?

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