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SHARING SECRETS: Favorite Garden Bounty Recipes

Edited by Christina Ivany.

Our fruit and vegetable gardens can yield an abundance of riches that we love to enjoy right away or preserve for later.  Do you have a favorite family recipe that uses ingredients harvested from your garden? 

Susan Starr: My husband's family loved their pineapple guava trees (Feijoa sellowiana), so one of the first things we did when we moved to San Diego in 1980 was to plant 3 of them.  I use my mother-in-law's recipe to make cranberry-guava sauce every Thanksgiving.  Sort of a family tradition at this point.  And a great way to use up the guava crop.  Easy to make. I have a lot of guavas, so I usually preserve this in jelly jars and use throughout the year with chicken or over ice cream.  Yummy!  (My mother-in-law used to freeze her extra in meal-sized portions.  That works too).  

Recipe: Scoop out the insides of the guavas and discard the rest. (You can do this ahead and freeze the flesh until you are ready to make the sauce).  Follow the directions for cranberry sauce on the back of a bag of cranberries, adding the guava flesh at the same time as the cranberries. 

Ingredients are: 1 lb cranberries, 3 cups guava flesh, 1 ½ cups water, 1 ½ cups sugar

Makes about 7 cups

Deborah Young: We often have a generous supply of limes – (Do my husband’s Margaritas count as a favorite family recipe?) And lemons! So here is Maida Heatter’s wonderful recipe for The Best Damn Lemon Cake:

The Best Damn Lemon Cake (from Maida Heatter’s Cakes, p. 23)

(A word about copyrights from the Managing Editor: Since we do not have permission to publish the full copyrighted recipe from the book, we are giving you the ingredients list, which cannot be copyrighted, and then sending you, via a link, off to read a recent Boston Globe article which does have copyright permission to publish the instructions.)

For the cake:

1/2 cup blanched almonds

1 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 one ounce bottle lemon extract

finely grated rind of 2 extra-large or 3 medium lemons

For the glaze:

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

For the recipe instructions visit the recent article in the Boston Globe online -

Linda Jones: Here is one of my favorite family recipes using fruit from our garden.  It was originally from a San Diego High School cookbook that my Mom had; she and Dad both graduated from SDHS.  She changed the fruit depending on what was ripe and over-ripe fruit worked well.  The batter is different from most upside-down cakes, more sponge cake like.


From the San Diego High School Cookbook circa 1930’s

1. Heat an iron skillet and melt 3 tablespoons of butter in it.

2. Sprinkle 1 cup brown sugar evenly over the melted butter.

3. Add fruit to cover the bottom of the pan– (I use apricot or Satsuma plum halves.)

4. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

5. Beat 2 egg yolks well.

6. Add 1 cup sugar and mix with the yolks.

7. Sift together; 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder.

8. Alternately, add the dry ingredients and ½ cup milk to the egg-sugar mixture.

9. Beat 2 egg whites until stiff.

10. Fold egg whites into the mixture.

11. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

12. Pour the mixture over the fruit.

13. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes

14. Loosen the sides of the cake from the skillet. Place a plate over the cake and invert.

It is good warm or at room temperature.

Pat Venolia: Last year we had a huge crop of guavas, and I found this recipe on the internet, which was wonderful and relatively simple to make.

And here’s a delicious treat: Toasted TJ’s Crumpet, generous spread of Mascarpone, topped with Guava Spice Jam. Yum!

Margaret’s Guava Spice Jam 

4 cups guava pulp (scooped with lime juice to prevent discoloration)

3 cups sugar

1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root

3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Combine and cook slowly until thick, stirring often, about 30-45 minutes. Pour into hot, sterilized jars, and seal immediately. You can substitute finely chopped orange or lemon (including peel) for part of guava.

Cathy Tylka: This is really simple and wonderful. I save the water from any vegetables I cook in quart jars to use for the broth, or you can also use saved chicken stock. You can put almost any veggies from your garden - like kale, spinach, summer squash, etc. in - also whatever is ready today or yesterday. I like it almost like a stew, but you can make it more “soupy” to your liking.

Cathy’s Vegetable Soup/Stew

Cut up the following ingredients:

1 potato

1 sweet potato

1 zucchini

1 pepper

1 onion

several stalks of celery

2-3 carrots, cut in nickels

some dill

some parsley

salt and pepper


Cook the onion, carrots and celery in some olive oil, then add the potatoes, the chicken or vegetable broth, and the rest of the ingredients.

In 1-2 hours you will have a wonderful vegetable soup. You can also add

some left-over chicken or pork roast or whatever, if you desire and

not if you are a vegan.



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