Holiday Family Traditions

Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 08:04 PM

My family has had some long standing Easter traditions. Typically Easter Sunday started out with a hunt in the house for a special basket with goodies and colored eggs.

As far as the main meal went, typically after a morning at church, or a sunrise service out on the Great South Bay we had a beautiful leg of lamb. Over the years, as I have grown older, I have tried to change up the menu in some ways. I have had smoked and spiral cut ham. I even roasted a leg of lamb in my Brinkamnn grill. This year I plan to roast a fresh ham on my grill.

Most of the traditions we had primarily came from my mother’s mom’s family. They were of German decent and were farmers in eastern Pennsylvania. Two of our traditions are actually recipes that we only make at Easter time.

One traditional recipe is actually a pickled beet recipe, but since I was a kid, I only knew it as pickled eggs. You make the brew and pour it over your beets, eggs and some sliced onion. Then you just need to let them set for a day or two before eating. They are a bit sweeter than your traditional pickled egg, but I like these purple eggs much better. The others are usually too vinegary for me.

Pickled Eggs:
1 can sliced beets
1\4 c water (I usually use the purple water that the beets were in…save the rest of the beet water too in case you need a little extra liquid)
1\3 c sugar
1\2 c white vinegar
1 small onion sliced thin or 2-3 pearl onions sliced thin
6 hard boiled eggs
1 qt sized large mouth mason jar

Peel eggs. Place eggs, beets, onions, alternately in mason jar.
Heat water, sugar, and vinegar to just boiling. Pour heated liquid over eggs and beets in the jar. (Now if you need a bit of extra liquid, pour some beet water in until everything is covered). Cover the jar. Let sit until cool. Place in the fridge. Let the eggs set for at least 24 hours before sampling.

I have also used this recipe for after Easter when we had too many leftover colored eggs. It is a better way to preserve hard cooked eggs.

Another traditional Easter recipe that came from my Gram’s family was orange drop cookies. My great grandmother’s recipe was big enough that all her 12 grandchildren always got a cookie or three.

Orange Drop Cookies:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2 c sugar

1 c shortening

3 eggs

juice and rind of 2 oranges (about 1\2 c juice)

1 c buttermilk or sour milk

4 1\2 c sifted flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

dash of salt

Cream the sugar and shortening. Add the 3 eggs, orange rind and juice, and the milk.

In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients, then add to the wet mix.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool the cookies, then ice with the following:

1 box confectioners sugar, 1 tsp melted butter, juice from 1 orange(about 1\4 c), and 1 egg yolk.

I have tried to pass my own family traditions on to my children over the years. We always colored eggs together, I had my kids hunt for baskets. We went to church and shared a nice meal together with family and friends. My own children are older now. Not old enough to have children of their own yet, but too old for Easter baskets and for coloring eggs with mom. I will miss those days, but treasure their memory dearly. Hopefully if my children are blessed with children of their own, they will share the traditions that I have shared with them.

Have a blessed holiday.

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