Over a Cup of Coffee: Mixing up some jelly, followed by an encore

Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

I've been keeping an eye on our chokecherry bushes the past couple of weeks. Deciding when to pick the berries is tricky because we want ripe berries, but if we wait too long, the birds beat us to them.

Anyway, last week, I barely beat the birds and picked a bucket of berries that yielded enough juice for a batch of jelly. Since I worked from home today, I made time to cook it up.

I don't have a recipe for chokecherry jelly. I just follow the directions on the pectin box, sometimes (like today) having to use the directions for a berry close to chokecherry-like currant.

I'm not a good jelly maker. I remember watching my mother as she stirred the boiling jelly with a big spoon. She held the spoon up and let the mixture run off the spoon and when it dripped off at the right consistency, she knew the jelly was ready. I've tried to follow suit, but sometimes I get syrup.

Today, when I poured the jelly into jars, I accidentally knocked one of them over. You can take my word for it - spilling jelly in the kitchen is a nightmare.

After cleaning jelly off the counter, dishwasher, stove and floor, I think I can safely predict that this batch of chokecherry jelly will set up. I have mopped the kitchen floor three times, the silverware drawer is still sticky, my socks sport a purple-dot design and, because my hair brushed up against the dishwasher, a hummingbird hungrily circles my head when I go outdoors.

Seriously, if you have jelly recipes or tips for making jelly, please call or write me. Have any of you made serviceberry jelly?

The rest of this column is an encore. This week, I had a request for the "Pig-licking Good Cake" recipe that I featured last year. In case you missed the recipe or forgot to clip it, here are the directions.

To make the cake, you'll need: a yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix and ingredients for making the cake, a small can of mandarin oranges, a large box of instant vanilla pudding, a 16-ounce can of crushed pineapple, and a 16-ounce container of whipped topping.

Prepare the cake as directed on the box, except substitute juice from the mandarin oranges for part of the water called for. Add the oranges and blend well.

Bake according to the box directions or until the cake tests done. While the cake cools, mix up the pudding mix and can of un-drained pineapple. Stir into the whipped topping.

When the cake is cool, frost with this mixture. Refrigerate until time to serve and refrigerate leftovers, if there are any.

Call me at 824-8809 or write to me at Box 415, Craig, 81626, with your recipes.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.

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