Hints for Effective Dormroom Cooking

Hints for Effective Dormroom Cooking

By: Louis Conrad on November 2, 2014

Fall semester is about to begin and already you're dreading cafeteria food. You've been feasting on your mom's home cooked goods for some three months now and you're loth to give them up. Don't despair; going back to college doesn't mean going back to humdrum cuisine. You can pickle and can your mom's favorite recipes...and we'll tell you how!

Pickling is the means by which people preserve food. Pickling can entail allowing fruits and vegetables to ferment, or it can meaning dousing fruits and vegetables in a mixture of vinegar and sugar. Pickling was a popular means of preserving food in the nineteenth century. Here's a recipe for pickled onions from an early cookbook:

"Choose the small silver-skinned variety. Peel and place overnight in a brine that will float an egg. In the morning drain. Put over the fire to boil enough vinegar to cover the onions and about one teaspoonful each of allspice and cloves to each quart of onions. Fill the onions into the jars, adding a few small red peppers, then pour over them the scalding hot vinegar and seal. A tablespoonful of sugar added to each quart of onions will improve these for many. If preferred, cook the onions until tender before placing them in the jars. Either way will make good pickles."

For those who prefer green tomatoes, here a pickle for that fruit:

"Slice without peeling one gallon of green tomatoes, and peel and slice one quart of onions. Arrange in layers in a crock, placing salt between each layer, using about one cup of salt for this amount of tomatoes. Pour over one quart of water and let stand until morning. Place in a saucepan or kettle one quart of vinegar, one cupful of water, two cupfuls of sugar, one teaspoonful each of ground mustard and pepper, one-half teaspoonful each of allspice and cloves--or one tablespoonful of mixed spice may be used,--the spices tied up in a little bag and boiled in the vinegar. Place the tomatoes in this and boil until tender, then fill jars."

Canned and pickled vegetables can be brought with when you head off to university. Most don't require refrigeration, and you can store them easily in your dorm. One very popular recipe is Piccalilli, the recipe for which can be found below:

"Take one peck of green tomatoes, one dozen of small onions, one quart of vinegar, one pint of water, a horseradish root, one head of cabbage, one-half dozen of cucumbers, two pounds of brown sugar, and mixed spices. Slice and chop he tomatoes, also the cabbage, the onions, and the cucumbers. Soak in a weak brine overnight, and in the morning drain off well. Place the vinegar, water, sugar, mixed spices (tied in a muslin bag), and the root of horseradish in the preserving kettle; add the vegetables and cook slowly until tender. If not salty enough, add salt to taste. Put into jars and seal."

Another tasty recipe! Next time you feel a touch of melancholy at the prospect of eating cafeteria food, make one of these recipes before you head back to school. They're tasty and nutritious, and they're sure to leave you pining for more! 

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