Susan S. Yeske: Recipe of the week
Cranberries can be cooked in many ways
Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, which is why I’m thinking about ways to cook with fresh cranberries.
I’m partial to the tart, colorful fruit, and eat it throughout the year whenever I serve poultry. The whole-berry sauce recipe on the Ocean Spray cranberry bag found in local supermarkets is easy to make – it only takes minutes. And I think it tastes better than the sauce that comes in a can.
Another personal favorite is the Cranberry Bread recipe from Ocean Spray that also appears on some bags. Moist and mildly sweet with a hint of orange, it is forever tied to the fall and winter holidays in my family.
While no one grows cranberries here in Bucks County, they are a native American fruit that is farmed in nearby New Jersey, where the harvest begins in September and ends this month.
First discovered by American Indians, they were known by the Lenni Lenape tribes as “ibimi,” which translates as “bitter berry.” They mixed them with deer meat and fat and dried them to create pemmican, a healthy meat stick that was easily portable. The pilgrims learned to eat cranberries from the Indians.
While most photos you see of cranberry farming show them in watery bogs, they don’t grow in water. Cranberries are low-growing perennials that thrive in sandy soil and are dry-harvested by some farms. Many larger farms flood the bogs with water so a machine can be used to beat the water and loosen the berries, which then float to the surface and are vacuumed up for sorting, drying and packaging.
Cranberries are loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants and other natural compounds. Studies have shown them to have antibacterial properties.
Fresh berries can keep for weeks in the refrigerator and can be added to apple pie for extra zing (not too many berries, of course), made into chutney or jam, and baked into muffins, scones, pies and cakes. Dried cranberries also are good for baking.
If you don’t feel like cooking with them, you can always buy cans of the jellied variety, which has been popular on Thanksgiving for generations. It’s hard to imagine any American Thanksgiving table without the splash of color and flavor that cranberries provide.
As a reminder of their flavor and importance this time of year, Nov. 23 is National Eat a Cranberry Day. Bet you can’t eat just one.
You already know how to make pumpkin pie, but here’s a very different kind of pie from Ocean Spray that might tempt Thanksgiving guests who like cranberries and nuts:
Cranberry Nut Pie
1¼ cups fresh or frozen
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
1/3 cup butter or margarine,
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease a 9-inch pie plate.
Layer cranberries on the bottom of pie plate.
Sprinkle with brown sugar and nuts.
Beat egg in a medium mixing bowl until thick. Gradually add sugar, beating until thoroughly blended. Stir in flour and melted butter; blend well. Pour over cranberries.
Bake 45 minutes. Cut into wedges. Serve with ice cream. Makes six servings.
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