As I finish up making my Thanksgiving Turkey I want to share with all of you some thing that I love…. it is the tradition of MEAT FREE, Mock Mince Meat at our Thanksgiving table. Toms Dad made the filling from his garden every few years. Home made pie and filling was one of his many specialties. The recipe came from his mother who made it before “Grandpa Powers” birth in 1918. Making this pie over 100 years old. I miss him at this time of year more than any other. My own father passing away when I was five made my relationship with him very sentimental. He only lived a few years after Tom and I married but his importance to my family lingers around the holidays.
He is the one who inspired all the canning and gardening that Tom and I do. His gardens were huge in comparison to anything that I have ever tried and he was able to keep a family of 9 or more at times, well feed and well stocked on fresh vegetables and fruit from his trees. He knew his way around the kitchen and shared my love of food and having family all around. I only wish that I had more time to pick his brain. He had so much knowledge in his head that I could still use today.
So when I make and fill my pies today I think of him and all the years his hands worked so hard to take care of all of us.The bushels of apples and green tomatoes that he had to be picked to fill just one jar of spicy goodness. The hours of time it takes to make the filling stirring every few minutes to make sure it does not scorch and the money spent on the spices and pounds of sugar. The steam from the canner as the quart jars rise out to cool on the kitchen table. It is him that I see and hear when I open the jar of my frist batch of that Mock Mince Meat… he stands beside me as I roll out a crust and pour in the filling. He whispers to me that I should have cooked down the filling just a little bit more, but the flavor is right. He reminds me to check the oven and not burn the pie and reappears when we slice each piece.
He is here with us for Thanksgiving because we fallow a tradition that means nothing to anyone but us. The pie will be with us until I can no longer make the filling from our garden and trees. It will then pass to my sons who already have the recipe and are learning about the huge amount of time and love all went into one very simple pie.
The following is the actual recipe that we fallow to make our MEAT FREE MOCK MINCE MEAT pie filling.
15 lb green Tomatoes
- 15 lb Apples
- 3 lb Raisins
- 1 cup Cider Vinegar
- 12 cups Granulated Sugar
- 2 Table spoon Cinnamon
- 2 Table spoon Allspice
- 2 Table spoon Cloves
- 4 Table spoon Salt
- 1/2 pound beef fat from butcher
Wash, core and chop unpeeled green tomatoes… grind or finally chop in food processor. Drain through colander lined with cheese cloth into shallow pan. Measure juice after draining and discard. Place tomatoes in large stainless steel kettle with 2 tablespoons salt adding small amount of water to keep from scorching. Bring to boil, strain hot tomatoes again and remove excess juice.Again add 2 tablespoons salt and water boil again strain and remove excess juice.Wash, peel, core and chop apples, chop up beef tallow into tiny chucks, add apples raisins, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves. Cook together until thick. (1 to 2 hours) stirring frequently, mixture will be thick and sticky. Ladle into hot sterilized quart jars leaving 1″ head space. Process 20 minutes..in boilng water bath.