Volume I, No. 4, Summer 1974
Soon the heat of summer will bring a season of haying and harvesting to the Ozarks. This in turn brings tables loaded with food for hungry workers. A typical summer dinner table might be sighing under the weight of platters and dishes heaped with fried chicken, mounds of mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, dripping with butter, green beans fresh from the garden, fresh lettuce wilted in sizzling bacon drippings, sliced, juicy red tomatoes, fresh, sweet onions, a variety of pickles, and a host of other tempting dishes tucked in the corners. If this, is not enough, one can always count on a side table with enough desserts to satisfy everyone. I have looked up a few desserts that use in-season fruits of the Ozarks. One of these is a recipe for blackberry cake from the collection of Wilma Atkins.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
3 tsp. sweet milk
1 tsp. soda or 2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon*
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Cream together sugar and butter and then beat in eggs and milk. Combine soda, flour and spices and mix in batter alternately with the blackberries. Bake in a greased 8"x 8" square pan in a moderate oven. Serve warm with fresh cream. Variation--I also tried this recipe with rhubarb and it turned out very well. Substitute rhubarb for the blackberries, being sure to chop the stalks in rather small pieces so the flavor will be evenly distributed.
Ethel Massey remembers how her mother used to make gooseberry cobbler.
Her mother would take the girls out to pick gooseberries that grew wild around bluffs and creek banks. The berries would be ready the latter part of May or early June. They picked them green to use in pies, cobblers, and jellies. To prepare the gooseberries for use they pinched off the blossom end as well as the stem. Gooseberry Cobbler
1 pint gooseberries
2 cups sugar
4 Tbs. flour
1/2 cup water*
butter pie dough
*If using canned gooseberries omit water and use less sugar.
Spread the rolled pie dough in the bottom of the pan so that it hangs well over the edges of the pan. Instead of a separate top crust, the extra dough is folded to the center over the fruit. Mix together the flour and sugar. Spread half of the mixture over the pie dough in the bottom of the pan. Dot with butter. Add gooseberries and water. Sprinkle remaining flour and sugar mixture over the berries and dot with butter again. Fold over the extra dough to form the top crust. Sprinkle a little sugar on top and bake in a moderate oven. Variation--Any fruit may be fixed in this manner. You might want to try peaches, blackberries, plums, or some other fruit.
The people of the Ozarks are extremely fond of pickles. One favorite that shows up on shelves from year to year is pickled peaches. Here is a recipe that you might like to try. Pickled Peaches
1 gal. peeled whole cling peaches
2 doz. cloves
1 pint pure cider vinegar
3 lbs. sugar
6 sticks cinnamon
Boil vinegar, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon for 15 minutes, and pour over peaches. Let them stand overnight in a stone jar covered with a plate. The next morning pour off liquor and heat to the boiling point. Then add the peaches and cook until tender. Seal in hot glass jars.
The small wild plums that grow in the Ozarks have a delicious tart flavor that is excellent in jams, jellies, and butters. Myrtle Hough gave us these directions for making a delicious, rich, red butter.
 Plum Butter
3 qts. red plums
1/2 cup water sugar
After washing, put the plums in a large preserving kettle with 1/2 cup water, cover and cook over low heat to simmering point. Simmer gently until plums burst and juice flows freely. Remove from fire and rub plums through a colander. This should produce about 9 cups of pulp.Measure the pulp and for each cup of pulp add one cup of sugar. Return pulp and sugar to the kettle and heat to simmering. Stir until well mixed. Bring to a boil and boil vigorously until mixture reaches the desired consistency. It should coat the spoon and drop off thickly and slowly in about twenty minutes. Be sure to stir constantly, as plums will burn easily. When done, pour into jelly glasses or jars and seal. Lois Roper Beard prefers to cook her plum butter in the oven in an open, flat pan for about one to one and a half hours. When cooked this way, the butter doesn't pop and doesn't require stirring.
Have a happy summer cooking all these delicious foods and keep sending in those recipes.
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