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COUNTRY ECHOES

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BRANDON WISCONSIN RR-2 53919

Now that our world has awakened to Spring once again, this is a fitting time of the year to take stock. Which of nature's bounties can be used to cut down our ever increasing grocery bills? First of all, don't underestimate rhubarb. Its freezing qualities are excellent. Old coffee cans, lined with Baggies, secured with the plastic lid, make handy containers. I must have between 100 and 200 by now. Cut up your washed rhubarb, shake off moisture and pack in cans. It is that simple.

From my mother's kitchen comes a recipe which I am sure is not widely known. She used to cover this jam with paraffin and store in the basement, but I freeze mine. It keeps so tasty and fresh.

Take 3 cups of rhubarb, cut up fairly fine. Put in large kettle. Add 1 small can of crushed pineapple, 1 large orange, cut up fruit and add. Of course I'm assuming you all know that the seeds and any stringy parts should be removed. Add to all of this 3 cups of sugar. Boil the orange rind and some water in a small kettle until tender. Chop into tiny pieces, and add rind and water to first mixture. Boil all of this slowly until it is of the right consistency. Stir often, but carefully. Test by dipping a small portion into a sauce dish now and again. It does thicken up even more after it cools.

Last Spring, as I was cutting up my rhubarb for the freezer I prepared about three large coffee cans containing 6 cups each. In mid-January I used one of these. I forgot I needed 9 cups for the large batch I always make. I merrily dumped in the six cups, added 3 oranges and rinds, 2 medium sized cans of pineapple, 9 cups of sugar and proceeded to cook it all. It was even better than before. So that is: how I may make my jam from now on, using 3 less cups of rhubarb, for: the original recipe.

To freeze the rhubarb in season seems not to hurt it at all, and then refreeze the jam. It is luscious, and especially so on homemade bread, just a little warm. UMMMM!

Then there is a rhubarb cobbler which is tops with us. This takes 3 cups of rhubarb, cut fine, 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon butter or margerine. Arrange rh. in 7? x12 or 9x9 in. greased' pan. Cover with sugar and dot with margerine. For the cobbler part take 1/2 cup shortening, (I used marg.) 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 cup flour, 1 teas, baking powder, and a little salt. Method.

Cream short, and sugar, add egg, and beat in mixer. Sift flour, B.P., and salt together. Add alternately with milk to first mixture. It is best to finish with flour for a really smooth batter. Do this last mixing with a spoon. Pour over rhubarb. Bake 40 minutes at 350 or hotter. You know your own oven. Try it. You'll like it. We think it is best warm from the oven.

As the summer wears on you may find your cabbage all getting usable at the same time. What to do with it? I found the answer last Fall when a lady from our church handed me a recipe for frozen cole slaw. IT IS GOOD! This calls for 1 medium cabbage, shredded, 1 large carrot, grated, 1 green pepper, chopped, and a little onion, if desired. 1 teas. salt. Mix salt with shredded cabbage. Let stand 1 hour. Squeeze out excess moisture. Add carrot and pepper. While cabbage is standing make the following dressing. 1 cup vinegar, ? cup water. 1 teas. whole mustard seed, 2 cups sugar. Combine ingredients and boil 1 minute. Cool to lukewarm. Pour over slaw mixture. Put into containers, cover and freeze.

The smaller size cottage cheese containers work fine for the two of us. It is so nice to have the mess all over with in one operation. A salad maker is a great help in making this. My Duncan Hines is a much used item, and has been, throughout the last ten years.

Also among my file of recipes is one for Rose Hip Jelly. I will gladly share it with you in the next column if enough of you are interested and will write me. Rose hips are the fruit of the rose bush and are very rich in vitamin c, which one gets in orange juice, tomato juice, etc. But rose hips contain this in far greater amounts. I am also very much interested in the use of Day Lily blossoms in cookery. I have heard they can be used in soup. Do any of you ladies have anything on this? I chew on them in my garden (when no one is looking.)

I am anticipating Spring with special urgency this year. Some of our children gave me a pair of binoculars for Christmas and our daughter-in-law, (the one on the farm) is as interested in bird watching as I am. So the two of us should have some happy mornings. No doubt I will be carrying them with me as I start my gardening. Isn't God good to us? All that we need for food will grow, one way or another, and all the abundance of beauty besides.

A well tended garden can certainly cut down on our grocery bills. My niece passes this pointer on, when you harvest your carrots in the fall, cut off both the crown end, and the bottom. Pack in large plastic sacks and store in a cool, dark place. Mine are still very usable as I write this in mid-February.

Maybe you will save enough money so your 'Steam Man' can go out and buy another engine. Think how sweet he will be to you for weeks to come! How about that? God bless you all.