Saturday, November 21, 2015

How will your Cranberries be served this Thanksgiving?

On today's version of the Thanksgiving table, there are many choices for adding that bit of red that decorates our plates and tantalizes our taste buds. Versions of cranberry sauce.

At one time, the tradition called for a cranberry sauce made simply with cranberries, sugar, and water. The recipe was on the bag of cranberries and in the tried and true Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Of course, somewhere along the timeline, canned versions of this traditional cranberry sauce as well as a pureed and jelled sauce were available. But nothing quite matched that cooked at home from fresh cranberries sauce served in Grandma's pretty glass dish.

Through the years, I've varied my own home cooked sauce adding peeled and minced apples, orange rind (I choose to put big chunks rind and remove it prior to serving), pecans, and perhaps even spices. Just whatever strikes my fancy or I happen to have in the 'fridge at the time.

And then there are many versions using jello congealing the sauce for a lovely jeweled presentation at table. And Mom's where she actually ground the fresh cranberries with oranges (this was a grinder fastened to the table and cranked by hand) and pecans. This was mixed with sugar and perhaps jello. I don't know the recipe nor can I find it. But it was made several days in advance and allowed to sit in the 'fridge for optimum flavor merging. This was a culinary delight! Of course, it seems that anything about food that my mother set her hand to the task of preparing was always a culinary delight.

But what will Vera do about cranberry sauce this year? I have a bag of cranberries. I have sugar. I have some apples. I may buy some oranges. Who knows? Will the sauce be plain this year or will Vera choose to add a bit more for flavor variety?

TIP: I usually use a little less water than the recipe calls for. This makes for a sweet and less runny sauce.

TIP #2: Cranberries are a very healthy food.

NEXT DAY NOTE - AFTER COOKING: Well, the deed is done! Sadly when I opened the bag of "name brand" fresh cranberries, over 1/2 cup were very bad, so I didn't have a "bag" of cranberries. Never-the-less, I used less water, about the amount of sugar for a bag, 1/2 orange (not just rind), and 1/2 peeled and finely chopped apple. Cooked until berries all popped, then a wee-bit more. Removed the orange (this is pretty good to nibble on later). Sauce is Delicious! 

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