Wednesday, December 31, 2014


DON'T you just love pickles, jellies, jams, marmalades?

I do and feel the Pennsylvania Dutch deserve a “tip of the tam” for their seven sweets and seven sours approach to meals.

There is, of course, a huge variety of commercial preparations on your supermarket shelves and most of them are excellent, too. But these just don’t have the same appeal as those marked, for example, “From the kitchen of …” where your name shines forth.

Really, unless you’re over run with your own home grown fruits and vegetables, I’d not be apt to go out and buy the fresh ingredients from the local farmers’ market or favorite produce stand. No, I’d opt for the commercially packed with a few exceptions like the recipes included here. (Editors note: her daughter disagrees.) But that’s just my view.

There is nothing, but nothing, of course, as scrumptious as the aroma drifting from a kitchen where canning or preserving is in progress, whether you grew, bought or were given the ingredients.

Whatever your decision in this department, the recipes herein are quite different from any you’ll find either in supermarkets or in those marvelous gourmet shops that seem to be mushrooming around the country. I can spend hours in these, whether it’s the shop devoted to utensils and kitchen aids or the kind that features foodstuffs not available in ordinary markets.  I treasure a knife found in a kitchen shop along with many other items, but that knife remains my favorite above all others. Had never seen it before and haven’t seen it since.

And the crackers, mustards, cheeses, teas, coffees, and on and on, to be found! But back to the subject at hand.

We spent two autumn days a few years ago in my sun-dappled kitchen where many hands made light work. That was the last year we had time to have a garden. What fun we had, laughing and chopping, smiling and slicing, endlessly stirring, skimming, pouring and sealing.

Much of the fruits of our labors went into Christmas baskets for city dwelling friends and relatives after we took care to see that our own pantry shelves were generously stocked.

From that all out autumn effort, you’ll find four pickle relish and just one for jelly – the pepper relish jelly that I always have on hand, even if I have to buy the ingredients despite my feelings on that score.

The other recipes can be made any old time not being at all dependent on the garden’s bounty.

If I had to choose one favorite from this chapter, it would be the pepper relish jelly, but I don’t have to make a choice. They’re all so delicious, so easy to make, and I feel so delightfully domestic during the making, storing and best of all, eating!


Back in my newspaper days I was assigned to do a feature story on Ann Morgan of Gray and Cole Nursery,Inc., and before we got through the interview the talk had turned to cooking.   


Ann is an accomplished hand a growing, freezing, canning and cooking. When she mentioned “zucchini pickles” I was intrigued for that was the year of our last garden and we were overrun with the ubiquitous zucchini.   

Ann very graciously wrote out the recipe for us and it was a top favorite then and now.
  • 3 quarts thinly sliced, unpeeled zucchini squash, (If you want to use up your larger zucchini, slice thinly and halve or quarter, dependent on size).
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced    
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 2 tsps. mustard seed
  • 1/4 cup pickling salts
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 cups vinegar                                             
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard 
  • 2 cups sugar
Combine zucchini and onions. 

Sprinkle with salt, cover with cold water and let stand two hours.   

Drain, rinse with fresh water, drain again.  

Combine remaining ingredients in enamel or stainless steel kettle and bring to boil. Cook two minutes.   

Add zucchini and onions, remove from heat and let stand two hours.  

Bring again to boil and cook five minutes.   

Ladle hot into hot sterilized pint jars and process in boiling water bath for five minutes to ensure a seal.   

Makes about four pints.   

You’ll be asked for this recipe! 



This is really delicious served as a garnish for roast pork, ham or poultry and it does wonders to dress up a meat loaf.  In the latter case, put chunks on top of your loaf during the last 15 minutes in the oven.  You can, of course, just serve it as a nice addition to your relish dish. Can’t remember where or when I found this but have been making it forever, it seems.
  • 1 No. 2-1/2 can of sliced pineapple, drained
  • To the pineapple juice add:
  • 1 cup vinegar                                                
  • 1-1/2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1 cup brown sugar                           
  • 3 three-inch sticks cinnamon
Bring this mixture to a boil and then simmer 10 minutes.   

Add the pineapple which you’ve cut into thirds or quarters and cook very slowly for 15 minutes.

Now you may put it in hot, sterile jars and seal or simply chill in the refrigerator until needed. It should disappear quite quickly!


Clipped this from some newspaper and made just half a batch. Knew immediately it should have been
doubled, not halved for these pickles are absolutely superb. Even people who don’t like pickles like these as proven by a friend who loathes vinegar and hence shuns pickles. How Louisa loves these. And she’s not alone – everyone does.  Try to eat just one slice… no way!
  • 3 large green cucumbers (or an equivalent amount of pickling cukes)
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • 2 tsp. celery seed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  •  green pepper, finely chopped                            
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (onion flakes if you must)
  • 1 lemon sliced into half circles
Cut unpeeled cucumbers into about one-sixteenth inch slices. 

Mix with green pepper, onion, salt and celery seed and let stand at room temperature for an hour. (They’re good even now but resist the urge to nibble).  

Mix sugar with lemon juice, being sure sugar is completely dissolved.

Pour over vegetable mixture, add lemon slices and stir to blend well. 

Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Crisp, delicious and makes five cups.


“You didn’t put in any Tabasco,” I said to J. as he scrambled eggs on a Sunday morning. 

“Of course not, I’m not the Tabasco nut, you are. You’d put it in ice cream, I think,” he retorted.   

Not quite, but almost, I thought.  So . . . when I found this recipe for Tabasco jelly, my day was made.  I haven’t mentioned it to J, however. It’s lovely with meat, men like it, women like it, and this is a great gift item. Try it, please!

In a large sauce pan mix 1 cup water, 2 tsps. Tabasco (more if your taste buds can stand it very hot), 1/3 cup lemon juice and 3 cups sugar.   

Bring to a boil, stirring all the while.

Add 1/2 bottle fruit pectin and a small amount of red food coloring (to the shade that appeals to you).  

Continue stirring well until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil.

Boil hard 1/2 minute and remove from heat; skim thoroughly.  

Pour into 4 hot, sterilized 5-oz glasses and seal with paraffin.


Back in 1965, I cut this from one of the women’s magazines and made it the very next day. This is good with meat, your breakfast eggs, on your relish dish, and again, as a deliciously different gift.  

This is one of the jelly recipes I said before that doesn’t depend on your garden’s bounty and can be made any old time the jelly-making mood strikes, or the taste buds dictate.

In a large saucepan measure 2-1/4 cups unsweetened grapefruit juice and 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (don’t quibble here – use FRESHLY SQUEEZED lemon juice).

Add 7 cups of sugar and mix well.  Place over a high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.   

The VERY MOMENT it starts to boil, stir in one bottle of liquid fruit pectin.   

Then bring to a FULL rolling boil and boil hard for ONE minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, skim thoroughly, and stir in two teaspoons dried rosemary and pour quickly into scalded jelly glasses. 

 Or if you prefer to use fresh rosemary, plunge a spray into boiling water for one minute.  Remove and separate into large or small sprigs depending on the size of your glasses.  Place one sprig in each glass. 

Makes about 6 cups.


Shirley and I, she was a former newspaper colleague, used to anticipate green tomato season with mouth
watering discussions of favorite recipes and this was high on the list.  

We also discussed best methods of frying the green globes and never did come to a decision on this.

But about pickling, you choose the quantity of tomatoes and then do this.            
  • Firm green tomatoes, preferably small (cut larger ones into quarters)                        
  • Celery stalks (one for each jar) 
  • Green peppers (1/4 for each jar)
  • Garlic cloves (one for each jar)
For the brine:
  • 2 quarts water                                                         
  • 1 head fresh dill or two tbsp. dill seed per jar
  • 1 quart vinegar                                                          
  • 1 cup of Kosher or canning salt
Boil water, vinegar, salt and dill for five minutes.

In each sterilized jar put tomatoes, one whole garlic clove, one stalk celery, and a quarter of a green pepper. Pour hot brine over all and seal.   

Store for a minimum of 6 weeks.

Resist sampling!


I have a friend who has everything and is a real challenge when it comes gift giving time. After years of
searching for the unusual I finally came up with gourmet gift baskets.  

Then this began to pall.  

How many times can you give cheese, fruits, nuts, exotic teas, gourmet coffee blends.  And she could buy these herself. 

Now she is the recipient of the choicest items from our kitchen which is an ideal solution because she just doesn’t have the time.  Eileen loves these pickled carrots at cocktail hour.
  • Enough carrot sticks to fill a pint jar                     
  • 1 tbsp. salt                                                                
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large garlic clove, diced
  • 1 tsp. dill seed
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
 Put carrots and all ingredients except water and vinegar into the pint jar (sterilized, of course!)

Combine water and vinegar and boil.

Pour hot over carrots.

Refrigerate at least two days before sampling or serving.

Will keep refrigerated for four to six weeks.


Mother had a friend named Mable who was probably the most fastidious housekeeper I’ve ever known.   
A particle of dust wouldn’t have dared settle in her immaculate home. 

She was also an excellent cook.

During my adolescence this lady and I didn’t always see eye to eye especially if one of my teen-age escapades had disturbed my mother.

But on recipes we did agree and exchanged them early on.

This Pepper Relish Jelly is hers and I shall always be grateful.

She adored my Luncheon Hamburg which I’ve not included here since it has since become quite commonplace.

This jelly, by the way, is superb with meat, scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese!
  • 2 cups or 14 oz. of green and red peppers
  • 1-1/12 cups vinegar
  • 1 bottle Certo
  • 7 cups or 3 lbs. of sugar
Chop peppers finely and rinse thoroughly in sieve.

Put sugar, vinegar and peppers into a large kettle, mix well and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly for two minutes.

Add Certo and boil one minute.

Remove from stove.

Stir and skim by turns for just five minutes.

Cool slightly to prevent floating pepper pieces.

Pour quickly into sterilized glasses and seal with paraffin at once.


Talk about easy recipes!  If you love half sours you’ll adore these, both the results and the ease of
preparation. Put these in your picnic basket. Make room on your relish tray.  Munch on them if you get the pickle craving some people do..  Give them as gifts. First make your half sour pickling brine.
  • 8 cups cold water                                       
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt (Kosher salt  if you can find it)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
Mix very, very well, but DON’T BOIL or even HEAT.

Now sterilize as many jars as you care to fill.

Wash small cucumbers (pickling type preferred).

Wash green tomatoes.  Notice we’ve let you determine quantities.

If you’re using larger tomatoes and cucumbers cut into pieces to fit

Put into jars and in each put 1 chopped garlic clove, I heaping tablespoon pickling spice, 1 hot finger pepper, and 1 teaspoon dill seed.

Add brine to cover and seal and refrigerate for 14 days.

Turn jars upside down every couple of days to mix.


Really questioned whether these properly belonged in the pickle chapter but the Merriam-Webster pocket
dictionary defined marinate as “to steep in a brine or pickle.” So I use a commercially bottled salad dressing, several in fact, not all at once, of course!

Another minimal effortless way to get compliments. 

Another nice gift!

One pound of fresh mushrooms or equivalent in the canned variety.  Fresh button mushrooms are best. Canned will do.  If using fresh, wipe clean before sauteing in butter. If you can only get the large, cut into quarters or whatever is necessary to approximate the button size. 

Now choose a commercial salad dressing, or use one of your own favorites and simply pour over the mushrooms you’ve drained and put in sterilized jars.

Don’t bother to seal… they’ll disappear too fast.  But do let them marinate for 24 hours at least.

My No.1 choice for dressing is a Caesar or a red wine vinegar and oil! Green Goddess dressing is very good and colorful too! It’s your choice now! 


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