Trying Grandmother Jane’s Mysterious “Fruit Appetizer”

This is the sixth installment in my series in which I cook all eleven recipes I found my grandmothers had submitted to their old church cookbooks. Previous recipes include Salad with Cashew NutsHam & Sour Cream CasseroleOld Fashioned Cauliflower SlawApricot Jello Salad, and Ship Wreck casserole (the one my mom hated). 

For Fat Tuesday, we went sweet. Way sweet.

I forgot to add Grandmother Jane’s “Fruit Appetizer” to my list of retro recipes I still had to prepare. I found it at right moment considering I was just lamenting about wanting to sip a beverage from Psycho Suzi’s in Minneapolis, MN. More specifically, the type they require a credit card deposit for and serve in a wild tiki glass. Mmmm. . . yup.

How does grandmother’s “Fruit Appetizer” relate to a tiki drink? I can’t speak for all fruit appetizers, but Grandmother Jane’s resembles a granita more so than a traditional appetizer. It does not contain mayonnaise, cream cheese, or melted ice cream, just an ungodly amount of sugar.

I was very curious about what the end product would look and taste like.

Fruit Appetizer Recipe

Like many other recipes in this old church cookbook, it’s written vaguely in paragraph form. I was unclear about the first step so I just boiled the sugar and water until it was thicker.

Palin Collage.jpg

Then I added the fresh fruit juices to the sugar syrup along with four cups of ginger ale. I mixed the ingredients together, poured them into a large baking dish, and set it in the freezer. Every hour or so, I whisked the mixture to break up the large frozen pieces and it resembled a slushy or granita.

Fruit Appetizer edited

Of course it tasted delicious because it’s made from soda pop, sugar, and fresh citrus juices. Next time, I won’t add extra ginger ale to each glass upon serving because it melts the slushy and compounds on the sticky sweetness.

My addition of rum helped immensely, though I’m not sure if Grandmother Jane would approve. All of the fresh fruit juices just scream for rum and it helps to cut the sweetness. Alcohol or no alcohol, the fruit appetizer tastes pleasant and would make an interesting dessert or party punch. I prepared Jake a test glass and he finished it immediately.

I’d recommend preparing this for a family celebration or party, unless you don’t mind having a giant pan of “fruit appetizer” taking up a whole shelf of your freezer. If it keeps snowing, though, this might not seem so inconvenient.


  1. Beth Ann Chiles

    I might have to venture out to come sample some of your fruit appetizer if you don’t finish it off soon…..looks delightful and I am sure the rum addition made it much better. 🙂

    • Jeni Flaa

      You are welcome to sample anytime:) We have a huge amount still.

  2. Marylou hill

    Grandmother Jane WOULD approve of your addition of the rum!!! She knew it was probably not “appropriate” for the church cookbook, but when she served it at home to adults, it contained alcohol, usually rum. We also made a similar one using less sugar , more fruit juices and added vodka and apricot brandy!!!

    • Jeni Flaa

      That’s fantastic and I love the addition of apricot brandy. I’m not sure the sugar syrup was necessary with the addition of the ginger ale, so I think it could be tweaked easily like you did to reduce the sugar. My parents ran a 100% dry household, so maybe they got it from the Bossens:)

  3. Jantina Wennerstrom

    I just started reading your blog… and I LOVE this idea of going back to the church cookbooks! What a fun way to try new recipes and explore some family favorites. I will totally have to borrow this idea and give it a try 🙂

    • Jeni Flaa

      Thanks Jantina. It’s a lot of fun even if we don’t love the recipes. We feel like human guinea pigs but that’s ok.

  4. Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog

    I love this idea! I wish I knew where my grandma’s recipe box is… Sadly, I think it might have been thrown when cleaning out her house. But maybe I can find some that she submitted to cookbooks.

    • Jeni Flaa

      I wonder the same thing. I know I’ve seen it, but it may have gotten inherited by one of her children when my grandma passed away.

  5. Kitty

    Is this cookbook called unsere kirche?

    • Jeni

      It’s called “Favorite Recipes” from Faith Lutheran Church in Akron, Ohio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2024 Jeni Eats

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Visit Us
Follow Me