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apple butter parties, schnitz, bread, schmierkase, quilting parties, cider
A handwritten transcription of an excerpt from History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, transcribed by Alfred L. Shoemaker. The notes detail a typical Pennsylvania German "apple-butter party" including the steps involved in producing the butter as well as the unique method of eating it on bread with cream cheese.
The Pennsylvania Germans by A. R. Horne
in 1884 Phil. History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon Alfred Mathews and Austin N. Hungerford
p. 35 The apple-butter party is still in vogue where apples are plentiful. The Pennsylvania Germans are noted for their apple-butter, which is different from any other, and pronounced by competent judges the most palatable article made. It is not a New England sauce, to be eaten with a spoon, nor a Shaker apple-butter, with its pumpkins used in connection with the apples and cider. It is a marmalade, made of sweet cider and schnitz. Schnitz are a Pennsylvania German product, for which there is no English name. At the apple-butter party the schnitz are made. The young folks are seated around a large tub, peeling the apples and cutting them into slices (schnitz), which are thrown into the tub until bushels of them are made. These are poured by the bucketful into the cider, boiling in a kettle which frequently holds a barrel. As the cider concentrates by boiling, and a fresh supply of apples is continually added, the apple-butter thickens. It becomes a brown, smooth mass, which is seasoned with allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and other spices, and then put in crocks. The kettle is scraped with pieces of bread, which, with the fresh apple-butter on, are eaten, and constitute one of the pleasures of the party. This apple-butter is used as a substitute for molasses, and when spread on bread with schmierkaes, another Pennsylvania German product, is unequalled, even by the best of jellies. After the apple-butter is boiled, the young people spend the evening in a manner similar to that of the quilting-party. These gatherings, when not held in connection with quiltings or apple-butter boilings, are sometimes called en gruscht.
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Shoemaker, Alfred L., "Notes From History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" (1950). Alfred L. Shoemaker Folk Cultural Documents. 97.
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