Garden bounty ends up in family recipes

Susan Manzke

Over the years, my family and friends have shared the bounty from our gardens. The produce eventually finds its way into the kitchen where it is used in savory and sweet recipes.

These dishes made from homegrown vegetables have been ejoyed by my family for years.

I’m starting with two recipes for zucchini. Often we had an overabundance of this vegetable. Everyone loved both the zucchini bread and brownies. Some family members objected to eating zucchini but loved the bread and brownies, too. Of course, they weren’t told of the dreaded ingredient and never suspected it.

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

2 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1-½ tsp. cinnamon

¾ tsp. nutmeg

2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

1 can (8-¼ oz.) crushed pineapple, well-drained (or 1 cup)

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped pecans (if desired)

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla until thick.  Combine dry ingredients.  Stir in dry ingredients and zucchini and pineapple, mix well.  Fold in chopped dates and pecans. Pour into two greased 9 x 5" loaf pans.  Bake at 350° for about 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Makes two loaves.

One Bowl Zucchini Brownies

1-½ cups sugar

1 egg

⅓ cup cocoa

½ cup vegetable oil

2 cups flour

1-½ tsps. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsps. vanilla

2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

⅓ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Beat for 1 minute. Pour into greased  9” x 13” pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.

Bushels filled with apples meant we needed to use more. Apples were peeled, cored, and chunked. These chunks went into a pot to slowly cook down into sauce. No ingredients were measured. Sometimes cinnamon and sugar were added to the taste of the cook.

Apples can be made into a variety of treats, raw or baked.

Taffy Apple Salad

When apple season arrived, Taffy Apple Salad was a sweet treat for everyone.


1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. flour

½ cup sugar

1 8-oz. crushed pineapple – juice and all

1 egg

Combine in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until very thick.  Cool in refrigerator for 20 minutes, or freezer for 10 minutes.

Peel, core, and slice or dice 4 cups red delicious apples. Combine apples, 1 8-oz. whipped topping, and sauce.  Add ½ cup chopped unsalted peanuts. Mix well.  Top with another ½ cup chopped unsalted peanuts.

(We made this without the peanuts because of a grandson’s peanut allergy and it was still good.)

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Another bountiful vegetable from the garden was the cucumber. This next recipe was shared many times over with family and friends.

Stir together:

½ cup sour cream

1 tbsp. vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. dried dillweed

¼ tsp. salt

dash of pepper


1 large cucumber, thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings.

Toss together to coat.  Chill 2-24 hours, stirring often.

Kolaches are Czech pastries usually filled with fruit, but sometimes cheese.


I hate to leave out my Polish relatives. Holiday treats often included a Polish cookie called a Kolachky. If lucky, thick homemade strawberry jam added a special flavor.

1 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

2-¼ cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

Thick homemade jam or canned fruit filling, such as apricot or prune

Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. Combine butter and salt. Add in fourths to butter mixture, blending well after each addition. Chill dough until easy to handle. Roll dough to ⅜ inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut out 2-inch circles or other shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Make a thumbprint about ¼ inch deep in the center of each cookie. Fill with jam or fruit filling. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until delicately browned on edges. When cool dust with powdered sugar. Makes about 3-½ dozen. (I roll the dough very thin, cut into squares, put a dab of filling in the middle, moisten two edges of the cookie, lift the edges, and press together. Bake them at 375 for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness.  Makes about 6-7 dozen. These are stackable.