Spring brings with it the anticipation of fresh vegetables and fresh fruits, either from your own garden or from the weekly farmers’ market down the road.
A cool helping of coleslaw complements barbecued hamburgers and franks, and corn relish adds to a backyard feast or a festive picnic. Gelatins add flavor to different types of jellies and jams, so take your pick. There’s even a recipe to help you put a dent in that mountain of zucchini that has you leaving baskets of the vegetable on people’s porches. And if you have jujube trees, the fruit makes a wonderful snack and adds to special treats straight from your kitchen.
Enjoy the warm weather, and may the best of nature’s flavors find their way to your table.
Stephen Fiske Sr., of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania, sends this rendition of an old favorite.
1/2 head cabbage, small
1 carrot, small
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, finely chopped (optional)
Celery seed, to taste
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons half and half
Remove outer leaves of cabbage, core and shred in 1/8- to 1/4-inch wide shreds with knife.
Peel and trim carrot. Grate on coarse side of grater. Combine with cabbage, parsley and scallions.
Sprinkle celery seed, salt, black pepper and sugar over cabbage mixture, tossing with fork to combine. Sprinkle vinegar over mixture and toss again to mix.
Add mayonnaise; toss to mix. Add half and half; toss to mix.
Turn slaw into covered storage container and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours before serving.
Juanita Phillips, of Roseburg, Oregon, sends this version from a cookbook published by the Choctaw tribe in Oklahoma.
2 quarts corn, cut from cob
2 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green peppers
3/4 cup chopped red peppers
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon mustard
3 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
In deep kettle, combine all ingredients. Mix well, cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Pour hot mixture into hot sterilized jars and seal. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
18 ears sweet corn, kernels cut off cobs
8 large onions, chopped fine
4 green peppers, cut fine
4 red peppers, cut fine
1 large head cabbage, cut fine
1/4 cup canning salt
2 quarts vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons ground mustard (dry)
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 cup flour
In large kettle, combine corn, onions, peppers, cabbage and canning salt. Pour 1 quart vinegar over corn mixture; cook for 15 minutes.
In separate kettle, combine remaining vinegar, mustard, sugar, tumeric and flour. Bring to boil.
Add mustard mixture to corn mixture; cook until heated through, stirring all the time. Pour hot mixture into hot sterilized jars; seal.
Mae Hoskins, of Melbourne, Florida, offers this tip: Recipes that call for gelatin should not be frozen, or they may become thin after thawing. The freezing process separates the water from the gelatin, and the two do not combine again once the product is thawed. Such jellies can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Jelly from Jell-O
2 boxes (3 ounces each) gelatin, any flavor
1 box powdered pectin
31/2 cups cold water
41/2 cups sugar
In large pan, bring gelatin, pectin and water to rolling boil. Add sugar and bring to boil again. Cook for 1 minute. Skim; pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.
6 cups peeled, ground zucchini
6 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
1 box (6 ounces) apricot gelatin
Boil zucchini until water forms, then simmer 12 to 15 minutes. Add sugar, lemon juice and pineapple. Boil 6 minutes. Add gelatin; stir well and let cool. Pour into hot, sterilized jars; cool. Store in freezer.
Mock Strawberry or Raspberry Jam
3 cups fig pulp
3 cups sugar
1 large package strawberry gelatin
One needs to choose ripe but not overly ripe figs. Peel enough figs to make the 3 cups of pulp after mashing with potato masher.
In medium kettle, combine all ingredients and mix well. Over medium or medium-high heat, stirring constantly, bring mixture to boil. Lower heat if necessary, and boil for 3 minutes. (Bernice says her source calls for the 3 minutes boiling time. She usually boils it for 5 minutes.)
Proceed from this point as with any jam, using sterilized half-pint jars and lids. You may process jars in hot water bath or bring to 5 pounds pressure in cooker, then turn off heat. If jars and lids have been well-sterilized and jars are filled immediately, processing isn’t necessary.
Note: Kiwifruit makes a slightly more tart jam. Raspberry gelatin is best with kiwifruit. Jam made with figs and strawberry gelatin is difficult to tell from jam made with real strawberries. The recipe can be doubled.
Sarah Vaughan, of Waterville, Maine, sends three recipes. She says she’s read that jujube fruit is best dried on the tree; it makes a wonderful snack and doesn’t need the preservatives common to other dried fruit; and jujube fruit can be used in recipes calling for raisins or dates.
According to Wikipedia.com, the jujube tree tolerates a wide range of temperatures, including fairly cold winters, and it requires hot summers for good fruiting.
1 cup white sugar
2 cups minced dried jujube
1 cup water
2 cups wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 325°F. Grease square baking dish; set aside.
In large saucepan, combine sugar, fruit and water. Bring to boil; remove from heat, set aside and allow to cool.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to fruit liquid. Pour mixture into prepared dish; bake until done.
3 pounds dried jujube
5 cups water
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Wash fruit, drain; prick each piece of fruit several times with a fork.
In large kettle, bring water, sugar and cornstarch to boil. Add fruit; simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Cool, cover and chill overnight.
The next day, bring syrup and jujubes to boil; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
With slotted spoon, lift jujubes from syrup and place slightly apart on rimmed pans. Dry in oven or sun for 2 or 3 days.
Check fruit frequently, turn occasionally until fruit looks like dried dates you see in the store.
Boil syrup from candied jujubes, uncovered, until reduced to about 2 cups. Use over pancakes and waffles. Store covered in refrigerator.
This recipe from Jane Rossen, of Binghamton, New York, isn’t strictly for jujube fruit, but it sounds good for any type of fruit. Jane writes, “The batter rises up through the fruit and makes a crust.”
Pearl’s Any Kind Fruit Pie
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups lightly sweetened fresh fruit, any kind
Heat oven to 400°F.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk and vanilla; mix until smooth.
In 8- to 9-inch pie plate, melt butter. Pour batter over butter, but do not mix. Top with fresh fruit.
Bake in center of oven for 10 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350°; bake pie for another 50 minutes, until pie bubbles and crust is lightly browned. /G