Shared recipes for dandelion jam, cider beans and another for rhubarb pie

  • By Sue Ade
  • Tuesday, June 28, 2016 5:18pm
  • LifeFood

It’s been several years since I first introduced you to Joan E. Aller’s “Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly: Recipes from Southern Appalachia.” Since acquiring the book in 2010, I’ve kept the warmly written book nearby, not only because Aller’s recipes are good and her writings touching, but because I also just like looking at the book and its stunning images, by photographer Ben Fink. Finding the book in its customary place, like favorite photographs in their frames, or passed down heirloom knick-knacks on the shelf, is comforting to me and part of what contributes to making my house a home.

Few of us have never picked dandelion flowers for our mothers or received them as gifts from our children. For some they are merely the yellow flowery part of dandelion root leaves, a weed to be banished from our lawns and gardens, and for others, the edible makings for jam, salad and even wine. Loving the time-honored, down-home culinary traditions of the Appalachian people, Aller offers recipes for Dandelion Jelly, with a tip for collecting the flowers you may not have fully appreciated before, “If you can’t collect enough dandelion blossoms at one time, you can freeze what you collect until you have enough.”

In addition to the recipe for Dandelion Jelly, you might also enjoy the one for Appalachian Cider Beans. Made with sorghum syrup and apple cider, Aller recounts first tasting the “ol’ mountain” recipe in the “local gas station,” a place where “home cookin’” is often found.

And, while we are relishing the deliciousness of vintage recipes, good cook and baker Sally Oelrich, a reader of this column in Kenai, Alaska’s Peninsula Clarion, shares with us her favorite recipe for Rhubarb Cream Pie, “an old recipe, probably 1950-1960’s, from a Betty Crocker cookbook.”

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