When the sunny jams and jellies of summer have disappeared from your pantry, all is not lost. You can still fill the family's need for a sweet, homemade spread for toast and breads.
There are several simple spreads that can be made from ingredients at hand when the gray, cold days of winter drag on.
Fill your kitchen with a simmering summer fragrance by preparing some of the recipes below.
These recipes make just a few jars, enough to tide you over until berry time arrives.
Lemon Cheese, or Curd:
Juice of six lemons
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 pounds sugar
1/4 cup butter (no margarine) cut into cubes
6 eggs, beaten slightly
In a large saucepan, mix lemon juice, rind, and sugar. Add butter and eggs. Mix well; simmer slowly over a low flame, stirring steadily until mixture thickens, about 12 minutes. It will be firmer when chilled.
Pour into sterilized pint jars with screw-top lids. Store in refrigerator. Makes 2 pints. If you can bear to part with it, use as delicious cake filling, or in dainty lemon tarts. Apple Butter 8 large, tart apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1 cup water 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves Small piece lemon rind, white removed 2 teaspoons vinegar 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
In large saucepan, cook apples in the water until apples are very tender. Mash thoroughly to make a smooth sauce.
Add cinnamon, cloves, lemon rind, vinegar, and sugar. Mix thoroughly and simmer slowly, uncovered, until thick (about 45 minutes). Stir occasionally, especially when it starts to thicken. Remove lemon rind.
Pour into sterilized pint jars with screw-top lids. Store in refrigerator. Makes 3 or 4 pints.
Note: You can use 2 1-pound cans unsweetened applesauce, then add remaining ingredients and cook as above. The result is good, but using fresh apples makes the finished butter taste more homemade.
Many years ago, a dear old English friend introduced me to hot scones spread with ''lemon cheese.'' It was heavenly! I coaxed the recipe from her, and have used it only for special occasions on biscuits, homemade breads, and toast.
In an old cookbook, I discovered that ''Lemon Cheese, or Curd,'' was treasured in England and the recipe kept secret. This secret came to New England with the settlers and was closely guarded as ''private property'' until the early 20th century. Try it, you'll love it! Sunshine Marmalade 2 cups carrots, peeled and shredded 2 lemons, sliced very thin 1 orange, sliced very thin 2 cups water 1 1-pound 4-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained 4 1/2 cups sugar
In large saucepan, mix together shredded carrots, fruit slices, and water. Cover; simmer 20 minutes. Add pineapple with juice and sugar. Mix thoroughly; boil uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Pour into sterilized half-pint jars. Seal with melted paraffin. Makes 5 to 6 jars. Store in cool place. Pumpkin Butter 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind 1 1-pound can pumpkin 1/2 cup orange juice 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon cloves 1/4 teaspoon salt
Place all ingredients in saucepan and mix well. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Spoon into a quart jar, or bowl; cover; and store in refrigerator.
Chill for 4 hours before spreading on hot breads, biscuits, popovers, and so forth.