Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Under the Dumb Plum Tree

Thanksgiving weekend I made Mom's Chili Sauce

Chili Sauce

by Jaime Kaufhold
(September 17, 1991)

September has always been a lovely month for me. This year's weather has been great and it's time to harvest the bountiful crop of tomatoes, onions and peppers from my garden. Summer just wouldn't be complete if I didn't do some canning. I made chili sauce again - oh how I love the aroma of chili sauce simmering on the stove. There is something about canning which demands it be done on a fall day with the windows open so everyone can smell the wonderful infectious aroma.

Every year I say it will be the last time I make chili sauce because we don't eat as much as we used to, but year after year I get many requests for the piquant sauce, so back to the hot kitchen I went last week.

My eldest daughter came for her annual visit and we had a lovely time together. This time, she persuaded me to purchase a word processor, saying that it will be easier for me to write and edit my column. The manual I received with the machine is approximately two inches thick and I am still on page 14. The computer age is here and whether I can figure it out and benefit from it will remain to be seen.

Having Karen here for a week was like stepping back in time. The children all had to visit with one another so of course they all said, "Let's go to Mom's!" I was prepared for them, after filling the grocery cart and making a family meal. Our visit went well and it was just like the good old days as I listened to their happy chatter. It makes me realize how peaceful and quiet my life has become. Now that they are back at their respective homes, I feel like poor old Mother Hubbard.

The week with Karen went by quickly and as she prepared to leave, I found myself asking the same questions as always: "Are you packed? Have you forgotten anything?" The reply was, "of course, Mom, don't worry so much." Pacing, I watched the clock. I have learned from experience that if we don't leave soon, she may miss the plane. I remember well the time my husband and I spent a lovely vacation in Europe visiting with relatives. We were casually saying our good-byes at the Frankfurt airport. I heard the word "Canada," faintly announced and as we ran towards the departure gate, I caught a glimpse of the tail end of a plane with a red maple leaf, backing away. Somehow we managed to catch the flight and found our seats amongst fellow passengers, many laughing at the sight of us. Others were angry for the delay and it was quite embarrassing. So that explains my paranoia about missing the plane.

The bathroom door remained closed and I could hear the hair dryer going at full speed. I wondered how someone with such short hair could take so long to fix it. I glanced at my watch again and after what seemed like an eternity, she emerged lovely as ever. Soon we were on our way and arrived at the airport with plenty of time. We said our good-byes, hugged and kissed and as I watched her go through security, looked forward to the phone call that would come later, as she opened her suitcase to find two carefully wrapped jars of chili sauce that I'd tucked inside. Chili sauce is Karen's favourite and she always serves it when she cooks roast beef, which is often considering they have a cattle farm. She is a busy mother, business owner and writer who doesn't have time to do canning herself.

Maybe someday she will and I hope if she does, she'll follow my recipe.

Mom's Chili Sauce

12 cups ripe tomatoes
4 cups tomato paste or tomato puree
2 large onions
4 green peppers
4 stalks celery
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/4 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp nutmeg

Wash, peel and cut tomatoes, onions, peppers, celery. Place everything except the tomato paste and lemon juice together in a pot.

Heat until bubbly, then reduce temperature to low and cook for approx. 5 hours, stirring frequently. Add tomato paste and lemon juice. At this point, the sauce should be quite thick so watch it closely as you continue cooking to desired thickness, as it will scorch easily. If you don't have time to finish the process in one day, refrigerate the sauce for a day or two and then warm up in a microwave right before ladling into jars.

This recipe fills 16, 8oz. jars. 

1 comment:

  1. How I remember her chili sauce! We could smell the cooking chili sauce from the road when we got off the bus from school. I can smell the sauce as I am writing this!
    How fortunate are we that (with a little encouragement from you) mom wrote down her thoughts and memories in her column that you printed in your paper. She was so proud of her writing and she was so proud to say that her daughter was a published writer. She was a great writer and she could tell a story that made people laugh so hard they cried. Thank you for giving her a little push Karen, without that, we wouldn't have these great tidbits of her thoughts. Our mother loved us and was very proud of us and it shows in her stories. Love you lots, and I miss you more.