We enjoy this fiery pepper spread on crackers with cream cheese. It also makes a terrific holiday gift. For a milder flavor and different color, substitute a green bell pepper, jalapeno peppers for the habaneros and green food coloring.
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!
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. 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
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
A neighbor of mine passed along this favorite recipe. I've given many jars of this jam as gifts. Day to day, we enjoy it on toast with ham and eggs or on hot rolls with a meat. —Karen Bockelman, Portland, Oregon
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
This recipe came from my mother-in-law. It's very old-fashioned—in fact, the friend who gave it to her used to cook it up on an old wood stove.
With all the cherry orchards here in Bitterroot Valley, I make two batches of these preserves each summer. (I get the cherries from a nearby cannery by the gallons!) My family likes them on fresh bread, muffins, pancakes and even ice cream—the consistency's similar to a topping. I have to be careful, though, and ration the jars out or they'd be the first thing to disappear from the root cellar!
Both my husband and I serve as 4-H leaders. We have three children—girls 16 and 14 and a son who's 12.