April is National Grilled Cheese Month - honoring the gooey greatness of toasted bread and melted cheese. The modern version may have started in the 1920s, when sliced bread and American cheese became available. For a modern version full of comfy farmhouse flavors, use raisin bread with onion jam, prosciutto and cheddar. —Susan Andrichuk, New York, New York
This tangy sweet spread is "jam-packed" with lots of cherry flavor, plus a hint of rhubarb. My mother gives jars of it to friends during rhubarb season—it's so delicious on toast and muffins. —Faye Sampson, Radcliffe, Iowa
With a hint of apple and cinnamon, this jelly spreads cheer from breads to bagels to muffins. Its rosy pink color looks lovely blushing through the food jars I save and decorate with fabric-covered lids. —Betsy Porter, Bismarck, North Dakota
Watching my grandmother can hundreds of jars of tomatoes, peaches and pears inspired me to first try making jams and jellies myself. I can remember, as a girl, going down into her cellar—all those jars on the shelves gave me such a warm homey feeling! This jam is one my family enjoys on warm homemade corn or blueberry muffins. The cinnamon's a bit of a surprise. —Barbara Burns, Phillipsburg, New Jersey
I have a passion for cooking, and it's probably my grandmother I can thank for it. She was a marvelous cook who could really stretch a food dollar.
All the same, I've had my share of trial and error over the years. Shortly after we were married, my husband and I were invited to a family picnic. I made the prettiest potato salad you'd ever hope to seen. There was only one problem with that dish I was so proud of—I hadn't cooked the potatoes!
While my jam won a first-place pink ribbon at our local county fair, that may not be the highest compliment it's received. Two girlfriends that I share it with tell me if they don't hide the jam from their husbands and children, they'll devour an entire jarful at just a sitting! —Patricia Larsen, Leslieville, Alberta
My mother-in-law and I dreamed up this jam after we'd been picking blueberries one day. She wondered if blueberries, raspberries and strawberries would taste good together. So she made a test batch—and we quickly learned that they definitely did! Then I came up with my own version of the jam. I preserve everything from our garden! —Karen Maerkle, Baltic, Connecticut
Years ago, my in-laws had three pear trees on their acreage and gave us all the fruit that we wanted to pick. So I canned plenty of pears. Then a neighbor passed along this favorite recipe.
I've given many jars of this jam as gifts. Day to day, my husband and our boys—we have a married son and two teenagers—enjoy it on toast with ham and eggs or on hot rolls with a meat.