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Roberta Rassmussen makes aebleskiver.
Roberta Rassmussen makes aebleskiver.

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An Aebleskiver a Day

In the 1860s, Danish immigrants to the region that would become Turner County in southeastern South Dakota brought with them Lutheranism, Baptism and, of course, aebleskiver. Danish for “apple slices,” aebleskiver is customarily made with apples and served with pork for breakfast. In Viborg, which hosts the Danish Days festival each summer, the round pancake balls endure as a multi-generational tradition.

Viborgians Roberta Rasmussen and Kayla Neilsen share their time-honored techniques as the two make aebelskiver from scratch using special cast iron pans, an increasingly rare method. “A gentleman from Denmark said they don’t even make aebelskiver in a pan over there,” says Neilsen. “It’s very old fashioned to do that. They just go to the store and it’s in the freezer section.”

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Land of Infinite Chislic

In July, Freeman launched the state’s first Chislic Festival, inaugurated after the state legislature designated the cubed meat South Dakota’s “official nosh.”

SDPB’s Social Media Manager and resident chislic expert Heather Benson had the honor of officiating as a chislic judge at the festival, where estimates say almost 8,000 folks flocked to Freeman (population 1,306) to sample the salty, deep-fried goodness.

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Stalking Rhubarb

If the popularity of local rhubarb wine and spirits are any indication, South Dakotans are embracing our humble, herbaceous perennial on a grander scale. While toning down rhubarb’s tarty flavor with alcohol is a fun option, traditional crisps, pies, muffins and cake abide. Savor Dakota visits Vermillion, where the W.H. Over Museum hosts “Rhubarb Day.”

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The Humble Mulberry

Mulberries: coveted by birds and pie bakers, hated by those who disdain the purple stains left on sidewalks and car hoods. We visit Centerville for a simple mulberry jelly recipe.