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Instant Orchard Bundles


By Raintree Horticulturist Theresa Knutsen


4 C diced apple-not too small mostly peeled
2 C sugar- mix well and add:
1 C nut meats (optional)
2 well beaten eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix well and add:
2 C flour
2 tsp. soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt

Bake in a 9x12 greased pan at 350 oven for 1 hour

Chestnut Stir Fry

This recipe is from the Outstanding "Chestnut Cookbook" by Anne Bhagwandin
This is a light, quick and easy vegetarian dish.

1/2 lb. fresh chestnuts
7 oz pkg. of bean thread noodles
1/4lb shiitake mushrooms
1 medium zucchini squash
3 tbsp peanut oil
4 thin slices ginger
1 clove garlic crushed
1 small can bamboo shoots
soy sauce

Roast and peel chestnuts and set aside. Place bean threads in a pan and cover with boiling water, place lid on and set aside. Slice the mushrooms long and thin and set aside. Slice zucchini into 2 inch spears and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok or fry pan and add the ginger and garlic to the hot oil. Stir for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Stir for 2 minutes, then add the zucchini and chestnuts and stir for another 4 minutes. Remove ginger. Drain and chop bean threads, add to the stir fry and cook another 2 minutes. Season with soy sauce and serve.

Winter Cranberry and Pear Upside-Down Cake

Recipe from the book Northwest Berry Cookbook by Raintree customer Kathleen Desmond Stang.
Makes 8 servings

Ruby-red cranberries sparkle among the pear slices on top of the cake. Use firm ripe pears. They are ready when the stem end yields when gently pressed.

4 tbsp(1/2 stick) plus 2 tbsp butter, softened
1/3c packed brown sugar
2 small to medium firm ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
2/3c fresh or partially thawed frozen cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 1/4c all purpose flour                                             1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt                                                                1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger                                              1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 C milk
1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
vanilla ice milk or frozen yogurt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the 2 tablespoons of butter in a 9-inch round cake pan. Heat in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes, or until melted. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and arrange the pear slices in the pan, slightly overlapping. Fill in with cranberries and set aside.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar and the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter until well blended. Stir in the egg, milk, and lemon peel. Stir in the flour mixture. Pour the batter evenly over the fruit.

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes on a rack. Loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and invert onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice milk or frozen yogurt, if desired.

Methley Plum Butter (C Methley plums are done for the season, but this recipe and the others will remain on our website for next year's use!)

Wash the fruit, remove the pits before or after the first cooking step.
Place in heavy bottomed pan, lightly crushing the bottom layers to release juice.
Cook until soft.
Run fruit (including skins) through a food processor until smooth.
Return the pulp to the pan, cook on low heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until most of the moisture is driven out.
Put a small quantity of the butter on a plate, when no rim of liquid separates around the edge it is done.
Pour into hot sterilized jars, process according to instructions.

For an extra bit of zing, allow the fruit to ferment slightly before cooking (in other words get sidetracked for a day or two between picking and cooking). I’m told the results bear remarkable resemblance to Asian Plum Sauce.

Aronia Jelly  (Aronia melanocarpa)

Recipe #1

This aronia recipe was adapted from a chokecherry recipe by a friend, her mother pronounced the results fantastic, even better than chokecherry.

31/2 cups berry juice                                    ½ cup lemon juice
1 package pectin                                          6 cups sugar

Wash fruit and cover with water, simmer 15 minutes. Strain the juice. Pour measured amount into a 6-8 quart non-reactive kettle such as enamel or stainless steel. Add lemon juice, pectin and stir. Bring to a boil, add sugar, stir, and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil exactly two minutes. Skim and pour into clean, hot jars. Seal.

Makes approximately 4 pints of jelly.

Recipe #2

I like to make cooked-down jellies, which rely on the natural pectin found in the fruit and use less sugar per cup of juice than commercial pectins.

4 cups berry juice                                          2-4 cups sugar

Wash fruit and barely cover with cold water. Slowly heat to a simmer, and simmer until the fruit has a transparent or colorless look to it. Strain the juice. Measure the juice into the kettle (as above) and follow the directions for making cooked-down jelly. 2 cups is the minimum amount of sugar to add, add more if you like a sweeter product.

Makes approximately 2 pints of jelly

Cooked Down Jelly

If the juice you are working with is high in pectin, such as apple and quince, use equal portions of sugar and juice. If there is less pectin you can reduce the sugar to as little as ½ cup per cup of juice, unless the fruit is very tart. Use the alcohol test to more accurately determine how much sugar to add. Put 1 tbsp of cooled juice in a clear glass, add 1 tbsp of grain alcohol and shake gently. The alcohol will combine with the pectin to form a blob. A large single blob indicates a high level of pectin, so use equal parts of sugar and juice. 2-3 smaller blobs requires less sugar, 2/3 –3/4 cup per cup of juice. If there are many small blobs use 1/2 cup sugar per cup of juice, unless the fruit is very tart. If you don’t see any blobs then there is no pectin in your juice. Mix your juice with a high pectin juice so you can make a jelly. You can also create your own blends of juice, then check for pectin content so you know how much sugar to add.

Making the jelly:
Measure the juice into a large enamel or stainless steel pan (avoid aluminum), no more than 4 cups per batch. Simmer the juice uncovered about 5 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms. Add the measured sugar (you can also use up to 1/2 honey, expect the jelly to take longer to cook and to make a softer jelly), stir it in well, and continue to simmer about 10 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, when the temperature reaches 8 degrees above the boiling point in your area your jelly will be ready. If you don’t have a candy thermometer then start testing the juice. Place a small amount of the juice on a spoon and let it cool slightly, then pour it off the side of the spoon back into the pan. At first the drop is light and syrupy. As it thickens 2 large drops begin to form along the edge of the spoon. When the drops come together to form one, the “sheeting stage” has been reached, the jelly is done and ready to put in jars. Take off the heat right away, pour into hot dry jars, and seal.  If you thought the jelly was ready and it is still syrupy after it has cooled, then put it back on the heat and cook a little longer. If the jelly comes out too stiff, there was too much pectin or you may have cooked it too long. If the jelly is tacky you overcooked it.  By the way, if you follow the above steps but leave the fruit in, you get jam.

Highbush Cranberry Ketchup

Here are two recipes generously shared with me at the nursery, both originate in Alaska.

Recipe #1

11/2  C chopped onions                               4 C water
8C high bush cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 C cider vinegar                                          11/4 C packed brown sugar
1 C light corn syrup                                       11/2  tsp salt
11/2 tsp cinnamon                                        11/2 tsp ground allspice      
1 tsp ginger                                                    1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine onion and water in a large, aluminum free pan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the onion pieces are clear.
Add the berries and bring the mixture to a boil; partially cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft, about 10 minutes.
Puree the mixture and return it to the rinsed out pan. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring the ketchup to a boil over medium high heat and boil, stirring constantly, until it is thick, about 3-5 minutes. If the ketchup becomes too thick, thin it with a little extra vinegar and water. Taste the ketchup and add a little more sugar and/or salt if desired.

Recipe #2

4 pounds highbush cranberries or 21/2 quarts                  1 pound chopped onions    
2 cups water                                                                          2 cups vinegar
4 cups sugar                                                                          1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp ground cinnamon                                                       1 tbsp ground allspice
1 tbsp celery salt                                                                   1 tsp salt

Cook the cranberries and onions in the water until soft. Put the mixture through a food mill to remove the large seeds. Return the mixture to the kettle and add the vinegar, spices, and sufar. Simmer until the mixture thickens and reaches the consistency of bottled ketchup. Pour into sterilized jars according to manufacturers directions or freeze.    This recipe is considered excellent for serving with wild game (moose, elk, or venison).

Elderflower Recipes

The following recipes were shared with me by a customer who grew up in Denmark, he recommends the Sambucus nigra type of elderberry for the best flavor in the flower, the plain green leaved cultivars especially.

Elderflower juice drink
1 lb. blossoms (pick when fully fragrant), 1/2 lb.  brown sugar, juice of 3 lemons

Place rinsed blossoms in non-aluminum large pot, barely cover with water, cook until flowers are tender. Strain the liquid, add sugar and lemon juice, and enjoy. You may also can the juice following usual  canning directions.  This juice is very high in vitamin C.

Elderflower fritters
Blossoms (clip at full open, fully fragrant stage, keeping a stem on the back)
Thin crepe batter (use your favorite recipe)
Vegetable oil

Dip the blossoms in the batter, using the stem as a handle. Fry in oil in a skillet until browned, still using that handle, there is no need to flip. Enjoy with powdered sugar, jam, or plain.

Elderberry soup
Elderberry juice,     thickener (corn starch, potato starch, etc.),      sugar (to taste)

Put the juice in a pot, add thickener and heat ( you could try 1 Tbsp cornstarch per 2 cups juice), adjust thickness with juice or more thickener, add sugar to taste. Serve with crackers, biscuits, etc.  This is high in vitamin C, my friend said he and his siblings never got sick during the winter like the rest of his friends because they ate this soup regularly.

To make the juice:
Place the washed berries, stem and all in a large non-aluminum pot, barely cover with water, bring to a simmer, cook until the fruit is somewhat transparent looking, or about 10 minutes, (much longer and your juice will taste stemmy). Strain the juice from the berries.
Or- place the washed fruit, stem included, in a steamer juicer, steam about 10 minutes.
Or- use a juicer, relax the plates so you don’t crush the seeds, and remove the stems.

Sea Buckthorn

Make the juice following any of the above methods. Heat the juice to almost a simmer, add sugar (to taste), cool and enjoy. Add water to thin if too strong, or mix with another juice. Sea Buckthorn juice tastes a bit like tangerine/orange/citrus blend. Make jelly using pectin, you can follow the marmalade instructions, or test the juice for pectin content and follow the instructions on the other page for making a cook down jelly. Juice is high in vitamin C and A.


To make the juice:
Wash fruit, place in non-aluminum pan, add cold water just to cover, heat to a slow simmer and simmer for 10 minutes or until fruit is “washed out” looking. Strain juice and put remaining fruit through a fruit processor to squeeze the rest of the juice out (the sweetest and most flavorful juice, pretty pink color). I haven’t tried steaming the berries to make the juice, but that should work also. The squeezing step is very important though to get the flavor. Then make jelly following above recipes. Goumi juice is low in pectin.

Goumi ripen unevenly, when the fruit is soft and easily comes off the stem it is ready for harvest. Shaking the bush with a ground cloth beneath to catch the fruit that drops would work well. 


Bramley Apple Pie recipe

This is the best we’ve tasted! Enjoy Raintree horticulturist Theresa Knutsen’s recipe:   The Filling:  6 cups Bramley apples, peeled and sliced.  ½ cup sugar, 1 tbsp corn starch, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2/3 tsp allspice. Mix dry ingredients, blend with apples, let stand 10 minutes and then put in pie crust. Dot with 1 tbsp butter or margarine. Top with lattice pie crust. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, 350 degrees for 45 minutes. 

The Crust:  2 cups flour,  ½ tsp salt, 3/4 cup shortening,  5 tbsp water:  Sift flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour until thoroughly blended, gently cut  in water until dough clumps together. Makes one 8 to 10 inch pie with top and bottom crust.

If you would like to submit Recipes using Raintree Plants please email us!