Once, quite by accident, I created a dish I'll call, Purple Meatballs. My children were small and we were, well, slightly on the the poor side. At the time, I didn't own a crock pot but believe it or not, I did have access to one. My neighbor in back of me, who would later become my husband, had a brand spanking new crock pot. "George, are you ever going to use that thing?" I asked him one day. A man of few words, was George, so he shook his head, with a smeared smile and kindly said, "no". "Do you mind if I give it try", I asked. Of course, he didn't and the rest as we say in our house, is purple meatball history. I suppose I should explain. Although, I collect cookbooks, I don't really use them for cooking. I read them like others read novels. When I'm contemplating a new meal for either home or visit, I take a bunch of cookbooks off the shelves, sit back in my favorite chair, and I scan through the pages. This act is not a mission of reading. It's more of an inspiration for creating. I put all the cookbooks back in their nestled places, sleep on it, and the next day, I decide my menu. I've probably been doing this since I was around 9 years old. My mother had few cookbooks but even then I did the same thing.
The "invention" of the purple meatball was of course not my alone. Perhaps, in my mind's eye, I had seen the recipe before and just didn't recall it. It is certainly possible. My recipe was merely my favorite cocktail meatball recipe simmered in the crock pot with grape jelly, and apple cider vinegar. Yep, that's all it was and the kids just loved it! As I said, I didn't know much about crock pots then so with ingredients on hand, I made the meatballs, scooped out some grape jelly added a bit of apple cider vinegar and crocked away. I suppose I put the vinegar in just because I needed a bit of liquid and it happened to be in the fridge. There's just one thing I distinctly remember about those meatball; they didn't complement very many side dishes. "You guys want purple meatballs and noodles?" I would ask the kids. Nay, they would yell in between watching reruns of The Brady Bunch. I'll try again, "How about purple meatballs and rice?" "Nope" they would answer with eyes still glued to the TV. The solution would finally reveal itself in miniature purple meatballs with french fries and whatever vegetable happened to be in the cabinet, if any. Later, when I got married to George, we rarely had the purple meatballs. In 1994, George passed away. I recently gave my first crock-pot to my daughter. "Ma" she said as she was packing the crock-pot to bring across country to Idaho, "do you remember those purple meatballs we use to have for dinner"? I smiled, "I certainly do".
At wikipedia, I discovered the Concord Grape. "The Concord grape was developed in 1849 by Ephraim Wales Bull in Concord, Massachusetts". "The Father of the Concord Grape" worked tediously for over 10 years experimenting with seeds and seedlings and eventually in 1853, Bull's grape won first place at the Boston Horticultural Society Exhibition. Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch who developed the first 'Concord' grape juice in 1869 was born on December 31, 1825 in England. He emigrated to America with his father in 1834. In 1869, he discovered the pasteurization process to prevent the fermentation of grape juice. Through Dr. Welch's process of pasteurization, the grape juice did not ferment. Dr. Welch, a Methodist minister from New Jersey, originally tried to introduced the newly developed grape juice to his church, to be used as a "unfermented sacramental wine" for communion. His son, Charles Welch, began selling Welch's Grape Juice in 1873.
Since today is the birthdate of Thomas Bramwell Welch, I thought it a perfect time to share some recipes from the cookbook titled The Wonderful World of Welch's (1968)
(pictures will open to view recipes)
Welch's was founded by Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch in 1869, over 100 years ago. Through the years Welch products have become synonymous with natural goodness, excellent flavor and outstanding purity resulting in superior quality.
Welch's is now owned by The National Grape Cooperative Association which is comprised of over 1,282 grape growers located in Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Ontario, Canada. In recent years, research has elevated the status of the Concord Grape. I have included some resources below for you to explore the health benefits of Concord Grapes. Now, let's get to the recipes!
|3/4 cup milk|
1/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
1/4 cup butter/margarine
1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
|2 eggs beaten|
1/4 tsp. allspice
3-3*1/4 cups unsifted flour
Welch's Concord Grape Jelly
Confectioners' sugar (optional)
|In a saucepan, scald milk; stir in sugar, salt, and butter. Cool to lukewarm. Pour water into large, warm mixing bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add lukewarm milk mixture, eggs, allspice and half of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. turn dough onto well floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Place ball of dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Allow to rise until double in bulk (approx. 1 hour.) Punch dough down and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with 2-3/4 inch round cutter. Place on greased baking sheet; cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk.|
In a skillet, fry in about 1 inch hot fat until brown on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper. When cool, puncture small hole in side of each and, using pastry tube, fill with grape jelly. Roll in confectioners' sugar, if desired. Yield: about 16.
|3 cups sifted all purpose flour|
1 tea. baking powder
1 tea. baking soda
1/4 tea. salt
1 tea. ground cinnamon
1 tea. cloves
|2/3 cup vegetable shortening|
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs well beaten
1-1/4 cups Welch's Concord Grape Jam
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. Cream shortening until soft and smooth. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until very fluffy. Beat in eggs and grape jam. Add flour mixture alternately with sour milk, mixing after each addition, until mixture is smooth. Turn into (3) 9 inch greased and floured layer cake pans and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven about 30 minutes. Put layers together using a butter or boiled frosting as filling. Frost cake on top with same icing. Garnish with lavender coconut. Serves 8-10
Resources (will open in new window)