Plate 1. Harvest-time maple leaves, Roark Mountain. October 5, 2008.
from How They Lived In The Ozarks by Chick Allen
Chick Allen, fourth generation in the Ozarks — of Indian blood — was born in a log cabin on the James River. This is the story of the way the early Indians and white settlers lived — and how they prepared their food without refrigeration. [The book also includes] some Hillbilly recipes.
How to Dry Peaches:
Freestone peaches were used. They were cut in halves (not peeled) — they were the early peaches. They were laid out in the sun on a clean, white cloth, with the inside of the peach turned up to the sun.
They were left until thoroughly dried (the peaches had to be brough in every night or before a rain). [Once dried] they were stored in a dry, warm place for the winter.
When ready to prepare for the table, boiling water was poured over them. The skins were then slipped off.
This is the time peach butter was made.
Freestone peaches did not have to be cooked long and, when mushy, they were sweetened with sorghum and put in a wax-sealer jar, then sealed with wax.
Cling peaches were used more for canned peaches and pickled peaches. A pickled peach was peeled and the seed left in, then put into jars and sealed like peach butter.
How to Dry Apples:
All apples were peeled. They were cored and sliced in about eight pieces, then placed in the sun on a clean, white cloth until thoroughly dried.
Usually the peaches and apples were put on the roof of a shed to dry. They were then put in a white cloth sack to be put out in the sun occasionally to keep dry; then stored in a warm, dry place.
Then it was time to make apples butter. The fresh apples were peeled and sliced and cooked to a pulp, then sweetened with sorghum and flavored with cinnamon and canned like peach butter.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED October 5, 2008