Friday, August 26, 2011

Forgotten Skills Or Wives Tales 4 ?

Like my mother and grandmother before me I am a farm wife. My father went to work at his "off the farm job" and my mother was responsible along with us kids for taking care of the livestock and the garden as well as the children, house and cooking. Since  the kids were home in the summer anyway we learned early how to pick, wash and prepare and preserve the harvest.  

 My grandmother raised 6 kids, cooked and helped  to work the fields beside my grandfather when she could. Meals were not lavish but hot, simple and usually from what was raised right on the farm or hunted from the surrounding woods. 

These women were simple women who believed strongly in their god and their family. During difficult times what they grew in their backyards and gardens made the difference in whether their family ate or not. These women became experts at preparing the vegetables from their patches.


What do you do when those turnips got a little large and had somewhat of a bite to them. Boil them in water with about a half teaspoon of baking soda till just about soft. They will foam! 

Drain them in a colander and rinse well. Then put them back in the pot and finish boiling.It will take the bite out of them. Then mash, serve with butter  or put in your favorite casserole.

Try my Scalloped Turnip recipe HERE

Never salt turnips while they are cooking as it extracts the sweetness !

Want those potatoes to fry crispy try soaking them in cold water and a couple Tablespoons of vinegar for a couple hours first. Also helps them not to turn brown. Want them to bake faster soak them in boiling water for fifteen minutes before baking.......

I chop lots of onions when my onions are ready in the garden. To keep from crying just light a candle near where you are working.

When cooking corn on the cob add a little milk and a pinch of sugar to the cooking water for a better taste....

Fresh tomatoes keep longer if stored with the stem down.

okay your turn.......

What tips and tricks have you learned about preparing those fruits and veggies?  

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. I am loving your Forgotten Skills series! I was taught a lot of the same things... not the cucumber fever one though.

  2. Thanks for all these great posts on forgotten skills & wives tales. I didnt know about the turnips. Thanks for all you do.

  3. I run cold water in the sink while peeling onions. Helps keep the tears away.

  4. Wow those are all good tips! I never knew why we stored the tomatoes upside down...just that that was how it always

    My grandmama always kept her potatoes in salted cold water to keep them from turning. I would so love to sit with my feet under her table one more time and have her potatoes.

    We did all the usual -- collards aren't good until after the first frost.

    Don't salt your dried beans until they're almost done and don't add tomatoes to them.

    A little cold iced water can revive a limp veggie.

    When canning or freezing squash so ahead and cook and season them just like you'd serve them (maybe with a little less pepper) and just heat them to serve. They turn out more like fresh than trying to "cook" them after storage.

    Oh, and we always used the fruit from the orchard ground first before you ever picked anything off the tree.

    I think my grandparents truly personified the waste not want not motto.

  5. Thanks so much about the tip for lighting the candle~I've never heard that one. I usually wear safety glasses while I peel onions, LOL! (They work great!)Also, keep your mouth closed-that helps, too.

    My mom used to make mashed turnips like that! I always loved them.

    I love the waste not want not motto! It is somehting I am striving for in my own household.

  6. These posts got me to thinking about some old books I liked the art in from when I was a kid.

    I found this site and thought of you for some reason. Maybe you can take a look at it over coffee. I saw some books there that I bet you read when you were a wee thing.


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    Mom always put a dab of sugar in the turnips to cut the bite. Sometimes she would grate them and cook them for breakfast like hashbrown potatoes...delicious! We also hill our turnips for the winter and have very good luck with that.

    Great tips, I knew the tomato one but not the reat...thank you.

  8. Never heard the tomato one but I'll be using that one-like today!


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