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Pointe Place residents Chet and Ruth Musser have been avid gardeners since the day they were born. Gardening has helped them both to keep their minds, souls, and bodies healthy. They enjoy the process of watching plants grow and keeping an eye on their progress; but most importantly, they enjoying eating their produce. 

If you have a fridge full of cucumbers and a countertop lined with more tomatoes than you know what to do with, Chet and Ruth have you covered! Try some of their favorite family recipes:

10-Day Sweet Pickles                       

Although this recipe may seem a bit daunting at first, Ruth and Chet say, “They are well worth the work!”


  • Enough cucumbers to fill crock (about 5 pounds of cucumbers in a 1 gallon crock)
  • Salt water (1 c. salt dissolved into 1 gallon of warm water)
  • 1 Tbsp. Alum powder
  • 1 box cinnamon bark
  • 2 dozen whole cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. celery seed
  • 2 qt. of vinegar
  • 6 lbs sugar (about 14 cups)


Day 1-5           Wash and place cucumbers in crock.  Cover completely with salt water (1 cup of salt dissolved into one gallon of warm water).  Let sit in salt water for 5 days. (If cucumbers are not covered completely, they will rot.  Place a plate on top to hold them under the salt water)

Day 6              Drain and rinse cucumbers thoroughly.  Note: there will be some mold on top of water, which you will just rinse off.  Cover with boiling water and let sit for 24 hours. 

Day 7              Drain and cut cucumbers and place back in crock.  Cover with boiling water and alum powder. (1 Tbsp. alum to 1 gallon of boiling water)  Let stand on cucumbers until the next day.

Day 8              Drain old water from cucumbers. Pour fresh boiling water over cucumbers and let stand for 3 hours then pour water off cucumbers.  Tie spices in cloth*.  Heat syrup to a boil, with spice bag included.  Cover cucumbers in croc with the syrup (spice bag included).    

Day 9              Pour syrup** off pickles into pan and heat until boiling (spice bag included).  Pour again over pickles in crock. 

Day 10            Pack pickles in canning jars.  Heat syrup once again with spice bag and pour over pickles in jars.  Put heated lids and rings on jars. 

*Spices in cloth bag: 1 box cinnamon bark, 2 dozen whole cloves, 1 Tbsp. celery seed

**Syrup: 2 qt. of vinegar, 6 lbs sugar (about 14 cups)

Note from Ruth: “If you have any remaining syrup after canning, put it in a bowl and mix it with mayonnaise (ratio of half syrup half mayonnaise) for dressing for potato salad, macaroni salad, broccoli salad, etc. It makes the best dressing!”


Homemade Ketchup (Old Family Recipe)

Homemade ketchup is a great alternative to bottled ketchup from the store.  A majority of the ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen, and it is very easy to follow the recipe.  This recipe is also great because there are no preservatives or high fructose corn syrup and you can add extra ingredients to get it to taste just the way you like.  


  • 16 qt. of tomatoes (1/2 bushel) – Cooked, drain excess water
  • 2 qt. of onions – cook and blend
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. of cinnamon
  • 2 ⅔ Tbsp. of salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves


  1. Mix tomatoes, onions, and vinegar.  Cook until thick and water is gone.
  2. Add sugar and cook until thick (15 minutes to 1 hour)
  3. Add in remaining ingredients all at once.  Then put in jars and seal ASAP while ketchup is still boiling hot.    


Spaghetti Sauce

Making your own spaghetti sauce not only helps save money but also allows you to control and know every ingredient that is in your sauce. You can season it to taste and can cut out any ingredients you would prefer to avoid. Ruth says that this recipe is “great for spaghetti, pizza, or any recipe calling for tomato sauce.”


  • 9 qt. of tomatoes
  • 3 tsp. garlic salt
  • 3 green peppers, diced
  • 6 cups onions, sliced or chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. parsley
  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 6 stems of celery with leaves
  • 3 tsp. oregano
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. salt
  • ⅜ tsp. basal 
  • 3 12 oz. cans of tomato paste
  • 1 ½ tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • ¾ tsp. black pepper


  1. Cook the tomatoes and put through sieve. 
  2. Add the garlic salt.
  3. Cook peppers, onion, parsley, oil, and celery in separate pan. 
  4. Once vegetables are soft, blend in blender then pour into sieved tomatoes. 
  5. Add the remaining ingredients to tomato mixture. 
  6. Put in jars and seal while boiling hot.

About the Author


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