There are five recipes for Chili Sauce in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. It was one of the first things I made to try to fill up the preserve shelves in several historic sites since it is such a common recipe to find during this era. I decided to make Mrs. H. Hanneburg’s Chili Sauce since it was among the more basic recipes. I’ll branch out into some of the others in a few weeks.
I found I had 10 tomatoes so I made one-third the recipe. I attempted to peel the tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them. This was the method I learned as a child. It did not work with these tomatoes. In fact I suspect I bought one of those tomato varieties grown to stand up to machines and transportation. The skins were thick and the flesh was firm and pale not the dark red I expected. I ended up peeling using a knife and even leaving the peel on the tomatoes by the end. I think I can just scoop them out once the sauce is cooked. I chopped the tomatoes small and added them to a pot. I chopped two green peppers and add them next. Finally I tackled the onions (they make me cry). I chopped up three and a half onions and added them too. I located my vinegar finally and added 3/4 of a cup. I spooned in 5 (and a bit) tablespoons of sugar and almost 2 tablespoons of salt. I left the mixture to simmer on medium heat for 1 1/2 hours. I checked on it and gave it a stir occasionally. Once it was ready it was time to taste and “bottle” or can the chili sauce.
Mrs. H. Hanneburg was slightly challenging to find. There are no Hanneburg’s listed on the Waterloo Generations website and the ones that show up on the 1911 census do not include a male with the first initial H. However, they are listed in the 1901 census. Henry age 33 and his 29-year-old wife Christina have a 10-year-old daughter Alice. They are listed just below another Hanneburg household — probably Henry’s parents. They are William (76) and Frederica (73) and were born in Germany. Henry is a cabinet-maker. Christina and Alice are Roman Catholic but the rest of the family is Lutheran. Many of their neighbours are cabinet makers so it is likely that they live and work near one of the furniture factories. By 1911 there is an entirely new group of people with the Hanneburg last name but these two households have disappeared. A further search on Waterloo Generations shows the family as Hannenburg and they appear with that spelling in the 1911 census. Henry, Christina and Alice (now 20) live at 238 Wellington street and they are all Lutherans. Henry is a machine hand in a furniture factory and Alice is a book-keeper in a printing-house.
It is always a good idea to taste what you plan to preserve. Why bother going to the trouble to can something you don’t like and that your friends won’t enjoy either? I’m not going to address the canning process here but this sauce is very simple to jar and seal. However, I’m not sure I’ll bother. This truly is a very basic chili sauce. There are no spices added at all. It tastes okay… not bad but not exciting either. This would be a good base for experimenting but it would do nothing for other foods. I’m still not sure how chili sauce was used 100 years ago. I do remember hearing when I worked in the Martin House (a Mennonite home) at Doon Heritage Village, that a bit of pickle or preserve helped that last bit of fatty meat go down. This chili sauce would help but I’ve tasted others I like much better. Preserve Mrs. Hanneburg’s Chili Sauce for friends who like simple food. They might like it with a burger or meat loaf.
30 ripe tomatoes, 10 onions, 6 green peppers if you like, 16 tablespoons sugar, 5 tablespoons salt, 1 pint vinegar, peel tomatoes, chop onions and tomatoes, boil 1 1/2 hours, then bottle.