Lillian’s Jam Balls

I’ve been making these cookies for years, adapted from a recipe in an old 1970s Redbook Cookbook.  It’s a good way to use up a little bit of jelly, jam or preserves left in the jar.


  • Servings: Approximately 3 dozen cookies
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  • 1 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 Tblsp. jam, jelly or preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Have an ungreased cookie sheet at hand

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the salt.  Gradually add the flour, mixing well.

Shape a level tablespoon of dough into a ball.

Place balls one inch apart on the ungreased sheet.  Press each ball with the index finger, making an indentation.  Drop about 1/4 tsp. of jam, jelly or preserves into each indentation.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes until cookies are lightly browned.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Yield:  Approximately 3 dozen cookies

Since my daughter and I like fresh cookies and I don’t want too many around to tempt us, I like to make a dozen cookies and then divide the rest of the dough into two containers to seal and either refrigerate or freeze for another time.  I like these Lock ‘n Lock containers, available on QVC.  They really do make and keep a tight seal.

In my recipe binder I have a note:  “First made on March 18, 1984 – excellent – very short.”

Spicy Plum Preserves

I wanted to add to my small stash of jam/preserves that I have set aside for the winter and saw some beautiful purple plums at the farmer’s market that I thought would do the trick.


  • Servings: 4 half-pint jars
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  • 4 cups unpeeled, diced purple plums (6 to 8 medium plums)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 box powdered Sure Jell pectin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a large, heavy kettle, combine the prepared plums and water.  Cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While plums are simmering, measure out the sugar into a container (a 4-cup measure is handy because the sugar can be easily poured) and have the pectin ready to use.

After plums have simmered for 5 minutes, stir the pectin into the fruit mixture.  Continue to cook over medium heat for 1-1/2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the sugar all at once, raise heat to high and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil (one that can’t be stirred down).  Boil for 1-1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and let rest for 2 minutes, then skim off any foam that remains.  Stir in the cinnamon and immediately ladle into sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.

Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  For small batches, I like to use an asparagus steamer.

Remove jars to a rack to cool.  A jar-lifter is essential for this.

From this batch, I got four half-pint jars and one small sample jar of preserves that I won’t process and will have on tomorrow’s breakfast toast.

Let cool completely and label.

Here’s a good website with information on canning and preserving.

Blue Ribbon Zucchini Marmalade

For 20 years, we lived in a rural area where my husband delighted in tending a huge vegetable garden.  He liked to grow zucchini because he got such great results.  Prior to moving to the country, I had cooked zucchini once when I was in my 30s because a kind Italian neighbor lady had given me some and raved about how good it was.  I wish I could have told her how much experience I got later in life with her favorite vegetable.

Trying to keep up with the zucchini my husband brought into the kitchen daily, I fixed it every conceivable way.  My sister-in-law from Somerset, Kentucky, gave me this recipe for using SIX CUPS of the stuff, so I made several batches.


  • Servings: 8 half-pint jars
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  • 6 cups peeled, seeded, chopped zucchini
  • 6 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 6 oz. package Jello (I used banana-strawberry)

Combine zucchini, sugar and lemon juice in large pan.  Bring to boil and let boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 15 minutes of boiling time, add the drained pineapple, bring to a boil and boil for 6 more minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in Jello.  Place in sterilized half-pint jars, cap and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Let cool on a rack before storing.

Makes eight half-pint jars.

This is a good web site for information on canning and preserving foods.

We all enoyed the “marmalade” and I decided to enter it in the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Fair in 1984.  I was thrilled and surprised when it won not only the Blue Ribbon, but the Best of Show Rosette.