Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

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By Andy Bedwell

In the country, we have always planted a garden every spring. It never seemed like a lot of trouble because I always knew how good all of the vegetables were going to taste when they were cooked. As we recently celebrated the Fourth of July holiday, I remember that my mother and I were always picking and snapping bushels of green beans. We brought five gallon buckets of tomatoes out of the garden and carefully placed them on a picnic table that Mac built while he was in high school. On that same picnic table, we placed tons of freshly shucked corn from the garden. We also solved most of the problems of the world while we were working around that table. After the picnic table had been painted many times, I am sad to say that it finally left us. This week, I want to share with all of you some of our favorite “recipes from the garden.”

Mother’s Frozen
German Soup
2 gallons tomatoes,
peeled and chopped
16 ears of corn (cut off)
1 1/2 quarts of okra (sliced)
1 1/2 quarts of butter
beans (or lima beans)
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
8 onions, chopped
8 potatoes, cubed small
1/2 cup salt

Cook all the ingredients together until done.
Andy’s Note: Everything should be fresh from the garden. It makes about 10 quarts. You can thaw it out and have a great soup. Mother and I would fill gallon pails of tomatoes for our correct measured amount for the soup. You can add some meat if you prefer but all you need is a huge iron skillet of cornbread and a huge pitcher of southern sweet tea. I loved opening my free-zer and seeing this beautiful soup ready to eat on a cold rainy day. You must try!

Squash Dressing
4 cups cooked
squash, drained
2 cups cornbread, crumbled
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 eggs
1 can cream of
chicken soup
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon sage

Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Andy’s Note: You must double this recipe or you will regret that you did not. This is usually the first vegetable that appears in our garden.

Ripe Tomato Relish
20 really ripe
tomatoes, peeled
7 hot peppers
4 large onions, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons salt
3 cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
Chop vegetables really fine. Mix together and cook for three hours or until thick. You have to simmer this on low heat or it will scorch on the bottom.
Andy’s Note: I think this could be cooked in a crock pot, and I believe I will give it a try. I always double this recipe.
Experiment, be creative and have fun. That is just as much a part of cooking as is the eating, to my way of thinking. That’s just what I have always tried to do.

Happy Cooking,

Andy Bedwell

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Alabama Gift Company in downtown Gadsden and The Messenger on Rainbow Drive.

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