Winter 1997-1998

By Roberta Bailey

Winter is upon us again.The days are short and the nights, long. Time to catch up on reading, knitting, sitting by the fire and reflecting. A time to rest, to peruse the seed catalogs, and dream about what we will do next year. But the seeds are dormant in their hulls, silent within their seed packets, the ground is frozen beneath the snow cover, it’s cold and dark, so dark outside. What better time to celebrate, to get out and share in each others’ light. Gather, talk, eat, give gifts of thanks, notice the light in another’s eyes, and know that the days will soon be growing longer. The light of long summer days will return and for that, be ever thankful.

A few gifts from the home and garden –

Cranberry Butter

Serve with meat or as a spread for bread.

2-1/2 lb. cranberries

2/3 c. apple juice or cider

1 c. maple syrup

1/2 c. honey

1/4 t. cinnamon (optional)

In a stainless steel or enamel kettle, combine the cranberries and the juice. Cook about 20 minutes or until the cranberries are popped and soft. Blend, purée in a sieve or a food processor. Put purée back in kettle and add the maple syrup, honey and cinnamon. Cook until thick. Spoon into hot, scalded half-pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space, and seal. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Yield: 6 half-pints

Ruby Vinegar

Beautiful in a tall, elegant jar.

12 ounces cranberries

3/4 c. cider vinegar

1/2 c. honey

1 cinnamon stick, 2″ long

Rinse cranberries and pat dry. In a medium size stainless steel or enamel pot, combine cranberries with vinegar, honey and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Simmer until berries burst, 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and pour into scalded bottles. Store in refrigerator up to one year.

Hot Pepper Vinegar

4 hot chili peppers

2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled

4 c. cider vinegar

Wash peppers and make 2 to 3 small slits in each. You may opt for wearing rubber gloves. Place peppers and garlic in a sterilized quart jar. Pour vinegar over peppers. Cover tightly. Let sit for three weeks using. Remove peppers and garlic. Store in refrigerator for up to one year. To process, heat vinegar to a boil after removing peppers and garlic. Pour into sterile glass jars or bottles and seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Yield: 4 pints.

Ginger and Pear Conserve

3 lbs. winter pears (20 to 24 Seckel pears)

1 orange, seeded and chopped fine (skin and pulp)

1 T. chopped ginger root (piece about 1-1/2” long)

1/2 c. honey

1 T. lemon juice

Wash, peel, core and slice pears. Make a cheesecloth bag and put ginger into it. Combine pears, spice bag, orange, honey, lemon juice and bring slowly to a simmer in a covered saucepan. Cook until pears are tender. Remove cover and simmer, stirring as needed, until desired thickness is reached. Pour into hot, sterilized jars. Seal. Boiling water bath can for 10 minutes. Makes 3 cups.

Poppyseed Bread


Bring to a boil:

1 c.milk

1 c.sugar

Add 1 to 2 c. ground poppyseeds (more for a thicker filling)

1/2 c. raisins

1/3 c. orange juice

1 T. lemon juice

Stir and let cool. Once cool, add 2 large egg whites, slightly beaten, and 2 T. soft butter. Set aside.


In a small bowl, combine:

1 T. yeast

1/3 c. warm milk

1 T. honey

1 T. flour

Set aside for 15 minutes, until yeast is active.

Scald 1 c. milk, let cool and add:

1/2 c. honey

5 T. butter

2 c. flour

1 large egg

Beat until smooth and elastic. Knead, adding flour until only slightly sticky (about 1 cup flour), knead for 10 minutes. Cover and let rise for two hours. Punch down. Roll into a 24″ x 14″ rectangle. Spread poppyseed filling to within 1″ of edges. Beginning with the long side, roll the entire piece like a jelly roll. Set seamside down on a buttered baking pan. Let rise in a warm place for one hour. Brush with water and bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Cool.


In a small bowl, beat 2 c. confectioner’s sugar, 2 T. lemon juice, 2 T. boiling water until light and fluffy. Spread glaze on bread and let set. Makes one large delicious loaf.

Raspberry Almond Torte Cookies

Delicious and festive cookies.

Grind to flour:

1 c. raw almonds

1 c. rolled oats


1 c. whole wheat or white flour

1/4 t. cinnamon

pinch of salt

Blend or whip together:

1/2 c . maple syrup

1/2 c. good vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients together. Form small cookies from batter, place on a greased sheet. Make a small bowl or indentation in each cookie. Fill it with raspberry or any flavor jam. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

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