On a recent drive to Topeka (about 110 miles from my Tea Events office) I decided to stop at Grandma Hoerner’s Food & Factory located just off the highway in Alma, KS. Grandma’s big red barn glimmers in the sun beckoning cars to “stop by.” Well, let me say that I was glad I did. Inside the big red barn is a small showroom filled with award winning foods along with samples galore. Through a glass window you can watch the Grandma Hoerner team creating these classic recipes day in and day out.
Grandma Hoerner’s has an array of products from Big Slice Apple Sauce to assorted preserves, pie filling, sauces and more. My personal pick was their amazing Pumpkin Butter which I found perfect for a variety of tea time treats. (think scone topping, tart filling, drizzled on mini cheesecakes and more!) I also loved their line of Chutneys which would be a true delight in a variety of tea sandwiches.
Here’s grandma’s story
Yes, there was a real Grandma Hoerner. Mabel grew up on a farm in Kansas in the late 1800s. Her family’s farm included an apple orchard, and Mabel became known as a talented cook. Her apple sauce, made with thick slices of fresh apples, was a frequently requested treat from family and friends. Every autumn, she preserved the bounty of the orchard as it matured and ripened. Grandma never used an apple that wasn’t ripe enough. She peeled bushels of crisp apples and added cold spring water, freshly ground cinnamon, and pungent nutmeg. As the sauce cooked slowly over a low flame, the thick slices of apples grew soft and flavorful. The jars of applesauce sitting in the cellar were a vivid reminder of the summer bounty even on the coldest nights of winter.
All natural. The way Grandma used to do it.
Mabel’s applesauce recipe was passed down to her grandson, Duane McCoy. Recalling the wonderful flavor from his youth, Duane worked hard to replicate Grandma’s recipe. Cooking batch after batch, he found that Fuji and Pink Lady apples were best at maintaining their firm texture and sweet-tart flavor, and made the sweetest applesauce. As Duane experimented he did make one change to Grandma’s recipe—he replaced refined sugar with natural juice concentrate. Today’s Big Slice™ Apple Sauce provides the health benefit of natural juice while maintaining the wonderful sweetness of Grandma’s tradition.
Duane searched the marketplace for something similar to Grandma’s applesauce but found nothing like it. In 1987, he started producing and marketing Grandma’s Big Slice Apple Sauce. From that first basic recipe, eight more fabulous flavors were developed.
As demand for Grandma’s wonderful applesauce grew customers also began to ask for other foods made with the same high quality, attention to detail, and all natural ingredients. Now, from sauces, jams and preserves, pie fillings, toppings, chutneys, and relishes to premium dry mixes, gourmet coffee, and candles, Grandma Hoerner’s stands for the old fashioned pure products Grandma Mabel would have made herself.
Grandma’s is available at Safeway and Super Targets. They are also available online at http://www.GrandmaHoerners.com
Here are a couple recipes that would work well at the tea table (there are more featured on their website) :
Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
1 package (18-1/4 oz.) yellow cake mix
2-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
¾ cup butter, melted
¾ cup Grandma Hoerner’s Raspberry Preserves
1 tablespoon water
In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix, oats and butter until crumbly. Press 3 cups of the crumb mixture into a greased 13-in x 9-in baking pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir the preserves and water until blended. Spread over the crust. Sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
Pineapple Ginger Chicken Lettuce Spread
Mix together 3 cups cubed cooked chicken, 1 cup chopped celery, 1 cup golden raisins, and 4-oz. Monterey Jack cheese (1/2” cubes). In a small bowl combine ¼ cup Grandma Hoerner’s Pineapple Ginger Chutney, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour over chicken mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve on lettuce leaves.
Apple Struesel Bread
2 ½ cups Bisquick
½ cup flour
2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1 cup Grandma Hoerner’s Big Slice Natural Apple Sauce
3 cups Grandma Hoerner’s Apple Pie Filling
3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
2/3 cup oil
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the Bisquick, flour and apple pie spice.
In another bowl, combine eggs, apple sauce, apple pie filling, ½ cup brown sugar, and oil. Add to Bisquick mixture, stir till just moistened. Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans.
Top each loaf with a mixture of the remaining brown sugar and the walnuts. Bake 55-60 min. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Wrap and store overnight for easier slicing.
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