photo by mwri

High food prices have more people planting produce gardens. Many have decided to skip adding their usual annuals and perennials to save on costs. Instead, some people are planting fruit-bearing shrubs and trees, or they're buying from U-pick farms, roadside stands or local farmer's markets. Early in the growing season, rhubarb, blueberry and raspberry recipes are often requested by readers who have an abundance of fruit. Here are a few tried-and-true recipes.

Cinnamon Rhubarb Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
3 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 cup sugar
dash of cinnamon
2 cups whipping cream

Mix cake as directed on box, using a 9-by-13-inch pan. Mix rhubarb, sugar and cinnamon together and place on top of prepared cake. Pour whipping cream over the top of cake. Bake 40 to 45 minutes at 350 F. -- submitted by Startingover, e-mail

Blueberry Bars

1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons cornstarch
4 cups blueberries

Cook's note: After patting the dough into the pan, I sprinkle it with a little water mixed with lemon juice and prebake for 5 minutes. This is good with a glaze and works fine with strawberries, too.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Stir together 1 cup sugar, flour and baking powder. Mix in salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter, egg and vanilla. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half into pan. In a separate bowl, stir together remaining sugar and cornstarch. Mix in berries. Sprinkle berry mixture over crust. Crumble remaining dough over top, pressing lightly if it seems too crumbly. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until slightly browned. Cool in refrigerator. Cut and serve with vanilla ice cream. -- Kimberly, New York

Fruit Cobbler

6 tablespoons butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
dash of salt
3/4 cup milk
2 cups prepared fruit (washed, peeled, pitted and sliced)

Cook's note: Originally, I used this for peach cobbler, but it works wonderfully with any cobbler-suitable fruit, such as peaches, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.

Melt butter in a 2-quart baking dish. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Pour batter over butter. Don't stir together. Mix fruit with remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Spoon fruit over batter. Don't stir. Bake at 350 F for 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.
Serves 6 to 8 -- submitted by Sinclairwife, Missouri

White-Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

6 ounces high-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup white-chocolate chips
1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter 8-inch square baking pan. Melt 6 ounces white chocolate. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl to combine. Mix in eggs, vanilla and almond extract. Mix in melted white chocolate. Stir in flour mixture just until blended. Don't overmix. Stir in white-chocolate chips. Gently fold in raspberries just until distributed evenly. Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake 40 minutes or until top is golden. Cool in pan. Cut and serve. -- Linda, e-mail