Sweetened and Dried Tomato Fig Recipe from 1845

Dried tomatoes on plate with green checked cloth and small pear-shaped tomatoes scattered around

This recipe for sweetened, dried tomato figs is an unusual way to preserve tomatoes that I’ve seen mentioned in several old 19th century cookbooks . Despite the name, there aren’t actually any figs in this recipe at all, but the dried tomatoes do somewhat resemble figs in both appearance and taste. 

In the 19th century as tomatoes were gaining in popularity in America, you start to see more and more recipes (or receipts) using tomatoes in 19th century cookbooks, including recipes for ketchups, sauces, and dried tomato figs. For making tomato figs, small tomatoes are simmered in sugar and then dried fully and coated in more sugar for storage. 

I’m not quite sure if the original intention of the tomato figs was to create a more economical way to make a substitute for dried figs (like with using citron melon to make candied citron for fruitcake rather than buying imported citron fruit) or if someone preserved tomatoes this way and then decided that they happened to look and taste reminiscent of dried figs. Either way, though, they really do remind me of figs and they’re certainly an interesting way to preserve an abundance of fresh tomatoes.

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DIY Herbal Salt Recipes to Try

Salt in mortar with pestle with bundle of herbs and pair of scissors on table

Making your own DIY herbal salt blends is a simple and easy way to create your own gourmet seasoning blends and to control the quality of the blends and customize them the way you like based on your favorite herbs and which dishes you like to cook.

DIY herbal salt blends are also a great way to preserve the harvest if you have an abundance of herbs growing in your garden that you want to save for later. Or, if you don’t have herbs growing in your garden, you can also often find good deals on herbs at local farm stands and farmer’s markets during their growing seasons. 

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Cinnamon Maple Peach Jam Recipe

Bowl and Mason jars full of peach jam on table with peaches and spoon.

The changing season between late summer and early fall always gets me in the mood for more fall-ish flavors and for the old-fashioned tradition of putting up the harvest by making preserves. And this cinnamon maple peach jam recipe is one that I think fits perfectly into the change of seasons because of the fresh summer peach flavor and the hint of warm cinnamon spice and maple syrup that feel more like fall. 

This recipe would be delicious spread over warm, freshly-baked bread or rolls, but it’s also great to eat straight from the jar by the spoonful (which is what I usually do). And it’s a pretty adaptable recipe, too, because you can double or triple the recipe if you have more peaches, and you can adjust the amounts of maple syrup and sugar, too, if you want it to be more or less sweet or to have more or less maple flavor. 

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Quick and Easy Ground Beef Stir-Fry Recipe

Ground beef stir fry on blue plate on table

On busy nights when I don’t have a lot of time to cook but I still want a homemade meal, this quick and easy ground beef stir-fry recipe is one of my go-to meals because it’s very simple to make and it’s very customizable based on whatever ingredients you like and have on hand. 

The ground beef in the recipe cooks pretty quickly, and using shredded carrots rather than bigger pieces of chopped carrots cuts down on the cooking time quite a bit. And since the rice can cook in a separate pan at the same time that the other ingredients are cooking, you can multitask to prepare everything all at one time.

I kept this basic recipe very simple with just ground beef, rice, carrots, Swiss chard, and herbs and spices, but you could add in whatever ingredients are your favorites or use different vegetables at different times of the year based on what’s in season where you live.

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Over 30 Sourdough Recipes to Make with a Sourdough Starter

If you’ve ever made your own sourdough starter from wild yeast for making homemade sourdough bread you’ve probably found yourself wondering what else you can use it for besides just bread. And if you’ve been maintaining a sourdough starter for any length of time, then you know that it can multiply pretty quickly when you feed it and you can end up with a lot of extra.  But rather than just throwing away the extra sourdough starter, it’s nice to be able to use it to bake with, so I decided to gather up a big list of ideas for sourdough recipes to make with a sourdough starter. 

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Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cookie Recipe from 1868

These old-fashioned gingerbread cookies have a soft texture and a blend of warm spices and rich molasses.

Gingerbread is one of the most classic old-fashioned desserts, and it’s been around in some form or another for centuries. This old-fashioned gingerbread cookie recipe dates from the 1860s, and it has a soft texture and a nice blend of molasses and spice flavors. 

For this recipe, I adapted two 19th century gingerbread recipes. The main recipe is from the 1868 edition of Mrs. Winslow’s Domestic Receipt Book. (Which was a recipe pamphlet designed to advertise Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for babies – a syrup that contained morphine as it’s main ingedient!) 

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Heirloom Apple Crisp Recipe

This heirloom apple crisp recipe is the perfect blend of fresh apples and autumn spices.

One of my favorite things to make each fall is apple crisp, and this year I was especially excited to make an heirloom apple crisp to celebrate the autumn season.

I’ve decided to call this recipe an heirloom apple crisp recipe for a couple of reasons. First, because it’s a recipe that my grandmother, mother, and I have all used, so it’s an heirloom in the sense of being a recipe that has been in my family for a couple of generations now. And the second reason is because this year I used all heirloom varieties of apples in my crisp. 

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