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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Strawberry Preserves

When I was preschool age, we had a strawberry patch.  It was possible to sometimes have snakes in it.  Mom had a story about me being in the strawberry patch and a snake raising its head to strike and she was scared to death it would get me.  I suppose it was a harmless garter snake, but even so, that’s pretty scary for a mama to see.  My oldest brother and his wife had wild strawberries on their farm and I barely remember picking them once after he’d come home from the Korean War and settled on the farm. I’ve raised strawberries a few times myself.  Once, when we lived in McPherson, KS, I had them in the front of my rose garden by the patio.  We have an empty lot beside ours right now, and I have had strawberries there.  The last two years they haven’t done very well, but a few years ago we had a pretty good crop.  Now, I’m  really not a “picker”.  I’m a “planter” and a “weeder”, but my husband loves the harvest so he usually picks them for me.  My husband’s Aunt Rita, in Michigan, introduced me to freezer jam and it’s quite remarkable in the way it retains more of a fresh flavor.  I still like to make jam when we have an overabundance of them.

Now, when I make jams, jellies and preserves, I always use pectin like Sure-Jell or Pen-Jel.  I think this recipe is before those were commercially available, so to me it’s more like making candy when you cook it to a soft-ball stage or the like.  Perhaps Preserves are different from jams and jellies.  Do you know?

Strawberry Preserves

Combine alternate layers of sugar and fresh berries, using 2 cups of sugar to  quart of berries.  Let the berries stand in sugar overnight, or at least 8 to 10 hours, before cooking.  Or heat the berries and sugar slowly at a low heat until the sugar is dissolved, and then let stand overnight.

If berries have a chance to absorb sugar before the final cooking, the fruit and syrup will be less apt to separate.  Cook 1 quart of berries at a time.  Use a large saucepan, and heat quickly to the boiling point.  Boil from 10 to 15 minutes.

The preserves are done when the syrup falls from the spoon in thick heavy drops.  Place the pan in ice water to cool.  When the preserves are cool, remove the scum.  Pour the preserves into sterilized containers.  Cover with hot paraffin immediately.  Geraldine Acker, Illinois


Best White Layer Cake

I imagine that homemakers constantly were trying to achieve the perfect white cake.  In another post we had my sister-in-law Kathy’s famous “Aunt Aggie’s White Cake”  and there are other white cake recipes in the cookbook.  This one has two ingredients available to farm wives in my mom’s day: lard and eggs.  Cake flour was a staple on mom’s pantry shelf but when cake mixes became more available, I don’t imagine it got used as much.  Well, she probably would opt for a recipe like this if she was trying to use up a bunch of eggs.  This one uses a total of ten eggs between the cake and the icing.

Beat White Layer Cake

1 cup lard
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla
7 egg whites, beaten stiff

Reserve 1/2 cup sugar to beat with egg whites.l  Cream lard, 2 tablespoons water, remainder of sugar and salt.  Sift flour, measure, add baking powder and sift again.  Add flour alternately with water.  Add vanilla to creamed mixture.  Fold 1/2 cup sugar into beaten egg whites and fold into batter. Bake in three 9-inch layer pans in a 375 degree oven 25 to 30 minutes.  Put layers together with 7-minute icing.  For the icing you will need:

2 1/4 cups sugar
7 1/2 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons white corn syrup
3 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all ingredients, except vanilla, in top of double boiler.  Cook 3 minutes over boiling water.  Remove from heat, but leave over hot water, and beat 7 minutes.  Blend in vanilla.

Swell Fudge!

This clipping was pasted in the margin of one of those entries hand-written in German.  If you are someone who can decipher the script, please let me know what it says.  Meanwhile, I can barely remember when the only way to make fudge was to cook the sugar mixture to the soft-ball stage.  You always ran the risk of it being grainy if you didn’t get it right.  So, this recipe using evaporated milk and marshmallow creme was probably the talk of the Sunflower Club circuit and Mom latched on to this recipe in Hope Needham’s Drover’s Telegram Household column.  At the end is a recipe (ingredients only) for a moist chocolate cake….guess you shouldn’t even have to ask what size pan or what temperature or how long, huh?
Swell Fudge

Dear Hope: Here is a new recipe for fudge that is really swell and very simple.  It makes a large batch.


4 1/2 cups sugar
One 14 1/2 ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine

Let boil gently five minutes, then pour into a large mixing bowl and beat till blended.  Add:

A 12 1/2 ounce chocolate bar, broken up
A jar of Marshmallow Creme (8 1/2 to 10 oz.)
2 squares (2 ox.) chocolate, shaved
1 teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of salt, if desired.

Put in large pan and cool till ready to cut.

Chocolate Cake that stays moist

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening, and
2 beaten eggs.

Mix together:

1/2 cup sorghum
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup hot water

Add (to first mixture).  Then add
1 3/4 cups flour
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

–Janet Rauch, Deep River, Iowa

Health Hints

When I was just a kid, Mom’s reading and utilizing home remedies for ailments seemed like “quackery” to me.  It’s amazing how my perspective changed now that I am “that age” myself.  I find myself attracted to natural ways to overcome flaws in my body or in my general health.  Now I completely understand Mom clipping something like this and wanting to save it.  I find Rose of Missouri’s cure for insomnia pretty incredible.  I can’t imagine that Mom actually ever used this remedy, unless of course, she was mad at Dad or us kids and wanted us to stay away!

Sends Helpful Hints

Dear Hope and Friends:  Howdy to all the friendly folks.  I like the Household just as it is–it’s very seldom I don’t find something to clip and save.

To those who ask for relief from gall bladder trouble, try filling a tall glass one-third full of pure unsweetened purple grape juice, then fill the glass up with sweet milk, and drink this about an hour before breakfast.  No sugar!  This has helped many, and if it doesn’t help, it sure won’t hurt, so it’s worth a try.

For those that have trouble sleeping:  In the morning slices or shave onions real thin, and in a pint jar put a layer of onion and a layer of sugar until jar is full, with sugar on top.  Put lid on and leave at room temperature till bedtime.  Use plenty of sugar to make a good syrup and you won’t mind the taste.  Take four good bites of onion and four or five good swallows of the syrup, than a good drink of water, and go to bed.l  You’ll get a good night’s sleep.  I’ve used this for years and it never fails.

A tall glass of unsweetened grapefruit juice daily will relieve sinus trouble and in many cases effect a real cure if kept up.  Drink it 45 minutes or an hour before breakfast.

Honey is one of the best remedies for colitis, also helps indigestion.  Just eat it by the spoonfuls or any other way.

Try the unsweetened grapefruit juice over a long enough period of time to make sure whether it would not help.  Vitamin C combats infection, and the unsweetened juice contains many other valuable minerals and vitamins.l  Be sure to keep covered tightly in refrigerator. –Rose of Missouri


More Gift Verses

It’s amazing to me the sorts of things that could be gifts to your friends and neighbors that I wouldn’t even think of in this day and age. Of course these were written and contributed in the context of the time, probably the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Most of Hope Needham’s Homemaker column was targeted to the farm wife who did not have a job outside the home.  I think the term “Wifey” just wouldn’t fly today.  But, the verses are still fun and the suggestions were probably very appropriate to the homemaker in the day.


With Stuffed Dates

There are dates that make us happy,
There are dates that make us blue,
There are dates that steal away the sunshine
From the dates bright golden hue,
There are dates that have a joyful meaning
The heart of love alone can see,
But the dates of which I’m speaking
Are the dates to you from me.

With Home Made Pickles

Some folks are always in a pickle
No matter whatever they do,
But I wonder if you wouldn’t rather
Have the pickle in you.
If so, here’s some home made pickles
To add to your Christmas cheer.
Good wishes galore go with them
And hope for a bright New Year.

With a Glass of Jelly

Before the frost was on the pumpkin
Or the trees their leaves had shed
I made those glass of jelly
From apples bright and red.l
Just eat it on your breakfast toast
When dawns the Christmas day.
Best wishes for your happiness
With peace and joy alway.

With a Dressed Chicken

We may talk of all good eatables
And name them one by one,
But what with chicken can compare
Beside the total sum?

And when you’ve polished drumsticks
And of white meat ate and ate,
There is still the bread and gravy
For cleaning up your plate.

With Any Gift

Best wishes for the Christmas day
And all the days to come,
May happiness be your always
From dawn till set of sun.
In all my blessings I count o’er,
Which number not a few,
I thank the Giver of them all
For friends the like of you.

-Sent in by Molly K. from Wisconsin

More Verses

Dear Hope:  I am sending a few verses to be used with gifts as my contribution to the Household, as I enjoy the contributions from others very much.  I would like to hear from someone who has used sheet music.  I prefer religious songs but any would be all right.  send a list of songs you have.  Now here are the verses:

With an Apron

A maid in an apron is always quite charming
Ro a young man’s affections completely disarming.
You might don this one and invite “him” to tea,
As for the result, well, we’ll all wait and see.

With a Handkerchief

I’m sure you’d think old Santa Claus
Had really passed by you
If among your gifts you failed to find
A handkerchief or two.

With a Pair of Towels

A couple of towels for husband and wife,
Use each one separately, live without strife,
But if “He” never wishes to hear Wifey howl,
He’ll wash on the wash cloth and not on the towel.


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