Recipe Box: Home Canning Resources, Plum Preserves Recipe and More

article image
Photo By Lori Dunn
Zucchini Relish is the perfect condiment for hot-off-the-grill burgers.

Reports on food safety can be alarming, and many people have started their own gardens to counteract those concerns, in addition to yearning for the most flavorful produce known to mankind. Folks also are learning that great taste doesn’t need to end when the harvest is finished.

As the season continues, the garden is green, growing with produce galore. The dinner table is filled with fresh vegetables every day, and even the neighbors are benefiting from your generosity. Yet, ripening on the vines are still more tomatoes, beans, carrots, squash and other goods.

What to do? Do as our ancestors did, and put by food for the winter. Home canning your fresh produce — whether from your own garden or from the local farmers’ market — isn’t as difficult as you might think. It can be a time-consuming endeavor, however, to preserve food — either by canning, freezing or drying.

The first step is to learn more about home canning. Some of us were lucky enough to learn the art following our grandmothers or mothers around the kitchen. Some of us were not so blessed. We have the solution, though. GRIT has published a number of articles about home canning, including U Can Can, a guide for beginners from the July/August 2011 issue; Save Money With Home-Canned Foods, the Comfort Foods article found in the September/October 2012 issue; and Canning Made Easy, an all-around informational article from our September/October 2007 issue.

The articles have in common a straightforward, no-nonsense approach, a clear sense of encouragement for those just starting on the canning journey, and a few recipes to help you begin your new endeavor.

Other great sources on canning can be found at the public library, the county extension office, or on the website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation, which is based at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Read all you can, follow the recipes and directions closely (canning doesn’t lend itself to experimentation), and then head for the kitchen and put your knowledge to work.

When you see those colorful jars lined up on the pantry shelves, pat yourself on the back and give a sigh of relief. Your work in the garden has been preserved for the world to see and for your family to enjoy all year long.


Karen Ann Bland, Gove, Kansas, hopes to find recipes for zucchini jams, jellies and relishes. Since it’s that time of year, here are a couple of recipes to help with the surplus.

Zucchini Relish Recipe
Zucchini Jam Recipe


Karen also requested recipes using sandhill plums. “Thanks to the birds, we now have a mature stand of sandhill plums on the north side of our limestone barn,” she writes.

Plum Preserves Recipe and Plum Honey
Plum Kuchen Recipe
Plum Jam Recipe
Plum Dumplings Recipe


Peggy Craig, Homer, Alaska, remembers a recipe from the 1950s and ’60s that appeared on the box of Hershey’s cocoa. The cake recipe called for milk and used three eggs. She says it was easy and delicious, and she would like to find the recipe again.

Our readers knew exactly what to send – well, kind of. We received numerous recipes from Hershey boxes and cans, but there are a lot of different recipes, and not all of them include three eggs. It appears that Hershey’s changed the recipe over the years, but it remains a favorite.

Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe with Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Devil’s Food Cake Recipe with Mocha Cream Frosting
One Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Recipe with Chocolate Sour Cream Icing and Filling


John Kasavicha, North Hoosick, New York, is looking for a recipe for a fish soup or stew that was in Grit back in the 1970s. He remembers it being delicious over rice.

Our recipe archive doesn’t go back that far, and, while CAPPER’s archive does, only recipes from the 1990s were found.

Fish Chowder Recipe


If you have a recipe created for a diabetic menu, or a favorite recipe that has been adapted for a diabetic, please share with your fellow Recipe Box readers. We hope to publish one (or more) in a future issue.

• Janet Archer, Seiling, Oklahoma, is searching for someone who has a start of “everlasting” yeast, and would be willing to share. She says it is not sourdough, but a yeast that you save back some, to maintain your start, each time you use it. She put about 1/2 cup in a jar and covered it with white sugar, put the lid on and placed it the refrigerator for the next use. Her mother-in-law used this yeast her entire life and taught her how to make bread this way more than 50 years ago.

• Linda Hamid, Roseville, California, is looking for a recipe similar to a dish her grandmother made that includes onions, ground beef and hard-boiled eggs. She thinks the gravy was thickened with cornstarch. Her grandmother was born in New Zealand of English descent, and the dish was a favorite of her father’s. The mixture was served over biscuits or puff pastry shells. Her grandmother served it with spaghetti.

• Donna Reiter, Cambridge, Minnesota, says her family remembers a dish made by her grandmother that contains mashed potatoes, rutabagas and shredded pork roast. Her great-grandparents were German immigrants, and her grandfather was Pennsylvania Dutch, but she’s not sure which side of the family the recipe is from.

• Catherine Conner, Manassas, Virginia, remembers a recipe for barbecued short ribs that may have been in Grit or CAPPER’s a number of years ago. It contained tomato sauce, vinegar and spices. The meat was soaked in a marinade overnight, and the next day the ribs were cooked in the marinade until done.

• Sue Clemente, Rutland, Vermont, is looking for a lost recipe from her childhood. She says her mother used to make what they called “choker cookies,” which were a type of sugar cookie that included chocolate cookies. The cookies were higher and rounder than other sugar cookies.

• Betty Schmidtlein, Richmond, California, hopes someone has a persimmon cake recipe to share.

• Cora Bash, Stuart, Iowa, has lost a recipe for Cherry Mash Candy Bars. The center fondant was made with cherry flavoring, not chips. The recipe also includes ground nuts and chocolate chips, which were mixed together to form the bottom and top crusts, with the fondant in the center. It was cut into bars.

• Armyllis Isom, Bedford, Indiana, is looking for a lost recipe called Chicken & Mushroom Risotto.

• Bonnie Elliott, Belleville, Kansas, hopes someone has the Lemon Meringue Pie recipe that was printed on the back of the Argo Corn Starch box. She calls it fool-proof, and she would love to have the recipe again.

• Betty Goodman, North English, Iowa, lost a recipe for Rhubarb Bars when her family’s home burned down. She says the recipe included a mixture of oatmeal and other ingredients. Half was spread in the pan, followed by a layer of raw rhubarb, possibly mixed with sugar. The rest of the oatmeal mixture went on top of the rhubarb. She says it was a bar cookie.

If you’ve been looking for a long-lost recipe, or can provide one, please send an email to, or write to Recipe Box, c/o Grit and CAPPER’s, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. Email is our preferred method of communication, and requests and submissions will be more likely to be answered in a timely fashion if sent electronically. Please include your name, address and daytime phone number on any correspondence. Recipes cannot be returned; we will forward the first 10 recipes to the person who made the original request, and then file the rest for possible online or print publication. Addresses are not printed to allow us the opportunity to publish recipes before sending them on to the requesting party.

Need Help? Call 1-866-803-7096