Chokecherry Syrup

RECIPE by Sheri Kisch

5 cups chokecherry juice
6 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup

Combine juice and syrup in a large pan and bring to a boil while stirring. Add the sugar and continue stirring to dissolve. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, skim off any foam that has formed and pour into hot pint jars to within ½ inch.

Clean the rim and screw on hot lid and band to hand tighten. Place in hot water canner and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a steady boil and process 15 minutes (or as to your elevation). Shut off heat, remove lid and let sit 5 minutes and then remove from canner. Let jars sit for 24 hours.

The biggest difference in whether you get jelly or syrup out of a recipe is the amount of water that is added to the juice (to make even cup amounts or straining the pulp again to get all the juice out).

Chokecherries have a lot of natural pectin. Pectin in fruit decreases as fruit ripens. It is good to pick 3/4 to 7/8 ripe, and 1/4 to 1/8 less ripe berries depending on whether you use dry pectin. It is not recommended to crush or grind the seeds in processing juice because they contain cyanide.




1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup chopped onion
Desired vegetable and seasonings (see list)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
½ tsp. salt
Few dashes white pepper
1 cup milk

In saucepan, combine the chicken broth, onion and one of the
vegetable-seasoning combinations from the list below. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer the time indicated below or till vegetable is tender. (Remove bay leaf if you’re using broccoli.) Place vegetable mixture in a blender container or food processor. Cover and blend 30 to 60 seconds or till smooth. In same saucepan melt the butter. Blend in the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the milk all at once. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Stir in the vegetable puree. Cook till heated through for a warm soup. For a chilled soup, refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

Submitted by Ann Guthals

Ostrich Ferns

Matteuccia struthiopteris has the apt common name of Ostrich Fern because its fronds resemble the elegantly graceful plumes of the ostrich. Native to North America, once established, this Zone 3 fern performs well under conditions that few garden plants prefer, while offering a culinary spring treat to boot. Ostrich ferns in the wild thrive in rich moist soil in part to full shade, yet they are one of the best performing ferns in our area. They tolerate our drier alkaline clay soil and with a little love will colonize an area with a northern exposure that few plants, much less ferns, will enjoy. Better still, they survive with benign neglect: no pruning and the deer and rabbits seem to leave them alone. If you have a difficult shaded area on the north side of your house, this plant will take that spot from barren to lush in a few years’ time.

When planting ostrich ferns, choose a site that will shelter the delicate fronds from burning sun and the strongest winds. It’s also a good idea to prepare the bed with an addition of sphagnum peat and compost. This will lighten the texture, provide nutrients and improve water holding capacity. In future years, a nice topdressing of compost and an occasional feeding will keep them happy. Plant them 18 to 24’’ apart, making sure to keep the crown just above the soil level, mulch lightly to hold moisture and prevent weeds and water in well. They will need regular water, especially in the first season, during which they should never be allowed to dry out. After they are established, they will survive with consistent but less generous amounts of water, while still appreciating a little extra during periods of drought. The first year or two they will work hardest on establishing a strong root system, spreading underground by rhizome. The fronds may appear shorter than the expected 36 to 48 inches and a little sparse. Don’t worry, in a few years’ time, your patience will be rewarded with a lovely soft colony of lush, almost tropical looking ferns. (Ostrich ferns can be feisty in wetter climates, but our dry conditions limit their ability to spread more than we want them to.)

They provide a graceful backdrop for other shade loving plants such as Dicentra and Hosta. It’s also fun to mix in early spring woodland plants that go dormant for the summer such as Dodecatheon, known commonly as Shooting Star. Although the leaf fronds die to the ground in autumn, once the ferns reach maturity, they will produce shorter, fertile spore-producing fronds which remain standing attractively through the winter.

Historically used by Native Americans, fiddleheads are a treasured wild forage food which appears fleetingly in restaurants and farmers’ markets in the spring. Once your002 ferns have established a healthy colony, you too can harvest the early unfurled leaves. Remembering to never take more than half of the shoots from a crown and only the early sterile leaf shoots, the fiddleheads must be tightly coiled at harvest, and must be washed and husked of their brown papery covering, then fully cooked before being consumed. When steamed for 10-12 minutes, they are reminiscent of asparagus. I have also boiled and pickled them successfully, which is an easy way to preserve them for later. They are especially tasty when boiled for 15 minutes then drained and quickly sautéed in bacon drippings with a little garlic. They can also be served cold on a salad by boiling them and chilling in an ice bath. A quick Google search will return lots of recipe ideas but, however you choose to eat them, make sure that you are eating Matteuccia struthiopteris and not a similar looking fiddlehead.

Even if they never make it into your kitchen, ostrich ferns are a beautiful plant for a difficult location in your garden.

Bulletin #4198, Facts on Fiddleheads


Submitted by Ann McKean

Recipe: Pumpkin Pudding

Pumpkin Pudding


2 cups cottage cheese
2 cups cooked well-drained pumpkin (or other winter squash)
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (or less)
1/8 tsp. salt

Blend cottage cheese, pumpkin, eggs, sugar and salt in the blender. Pour into small greased Pyrex glass baking cups till about 2/3 full. Set cups in baking dish and fill baking dish about halfway up cups with hot water. Sprinkle tops of custard with nutmeg, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees until custard is set – about 45 minutes to an hour.

from NY Times Natural Foods Cookbook
Submitted by Ann Guthals

Recipe: Onion Kuchen


This recipe comes from Mr. Siebel (83 year old “student” in my dad’s Adult Ed Art Class) who served it when Dad visited him at home. Dad took a big helping thinking it would be a dessert….and then was too polite after polishing it off to say no to a second helping.

3 med. onions, sliced and separated into rings
1/4 c. butter
1 (7.5 oz.) pkg. refrigerator buttermilk biscuits
1 egg
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. poppy seeds

Saute onions in the butter until softened. Separate biscuits and place in a single layer in an ungreased 8 inch layer cake pan, pressing together to cover bottom of pan. Spoon onion mixture over dough. In a small bowl, beat egg, stir in sour cream and salt. Spoon over onion mixture; sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 min. or until topping is set. Cut into wedges; serve warm.

Submitted by Elizabeth Waddington

Recipes for Tomatoes and other Garden Bounty

All Those Tomatoes Spaghetti Sauce (AKA Stephanie’s Freezer Spaghetti Sauce, All Recipes)
4 chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
16 cups chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons dried oregano
(or 4 tablespoons fresh oregano)
Cook down onions, garlic, and pepper in oil in your crock pot on high. Add chopped toma-toes, herbs, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Cook on low heat for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust herbs and spices to taste. Cool sauce and freeze in plastic bags (quart size – add one can tomato paste when ready to use).
Fresh Tomato Salsa, All Recipes
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Stir together in a bowl and enjoy!
(I sent in a different one last year…)
Homemade Pesto Pizza
Pesto Sauce []
Use fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, mint, basil, rosemary, cilantro in combination to your taste. Chop to make 2 to 3 packed cups. Add a clove of chopped or pressed garlic, 1/4 cup chopped toasted nuts – pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, or macadamias – 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or other light oil, and about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Combine and pulse in a food processor until finely chopped and of a thick, paste-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Store up to 1 week.

Pizza Crust (Pioneer Woman) []
1 tsp or 1/2 packet active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let it bubble. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Drizzle in olive oil and stir until just incorporated. Drizzle yeast/water into flour mixture then knead until soft dough forms. Coat a bowl with olive oil and turn the ball in the bowl to coat. Cover with a moist towel and let rise in warm location for an hour, or store in refrigerator up to two days. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Divide dough (makes two medium pizzas) and spread on oiled or greased pan or stone. Lay toppings on dough (sauce, meats, cheeses) and bake on center rack 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Spread dough with pesto, using oil to thin if necessary. Choose toppings – my favorites are Romano, mozzarella, cheddar, and/or ricotta cheeses, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, breakfast sausage, chicken, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, ham-burger, green and red peppers, fresh tomato.

~ Submitted by Corinna Sinclair

Rhubarb Chutney
Mix together in a saucepan:
¾ c. cider vinegar
1 ½ c light brown sugar

Boil together and ADD:
8 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup either raisins, craisins, or currents
¼ c. chopped fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic- chopped

Salt and pepper to taste
Add chopped nuts if desired.
Seal in jars or store in refrigerator up to 3-4 weeks.
Especially good with pork.

rhubarb 1.png~From Gwen Rock, submitted by Elizabeth Waddington

Cilantro Pesto
2 c loosely packed cilantro leaves
3-5 garlic cloves
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c toasted pumpkin seeds
red pepper flakes and salt to taste

Purée in food processor until smooth.
I have made this numerous times and freeze it in ice cube trays then put in a Ziploc in the freezer. I use it to season soups, chilis, or rice to accompany a Mexican dish, even over pasta with a sprinkling of feta or goat cheese. I do a
similar thing with kale.

Submitted by Temia Keel