Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

It is that time of year again to make cranberries. Like turkey, I really only make cranberry sauce once a year. As a kid we all grew up with the gel cranberry in the can that so beautifully and predictably took on the shape, with ridges and all, from the enamel can interior. My brothers used to love to make it jiggle.

Well now that I am all grown up and have learned to appreciate good cooking, of course I no longer eat the gelled variety.  While preparing  Thanksgiving dinners over the years the cranberry has  played a more major role in the meal. 

I have tried different combinations of ingredients to enhance the cranberries. 
Most of the recipes I have made involve orange peel, sugar or sweetener, and some vinegar for a kick.

Whole cranberries are so beautiful to me. I have not been to a bog to see them in their element but it is definitely on my bucket list. My mother says there are bogs in Wisconsin. This surprised me. I only thought of Massachusetts when thinking cranberries. 
However, according to the website they are grown in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Canada. 

They are grown on a trailing vine such as strawberries. The vines thrive on special combinations of soils and water properties found in wetlands.  
In Massachusetts they are grown in bogs. Nature made bogs from deposits left by glaciers more than 10,000 years ago.
In the 1800's a name named Henry Hall of Dennis Massachusetts , noticed that sand blown in from nearby dunes helped the vines grow faster. Today growers still use his idea and spread an inch or two of sand on their bogs every three years. The sand in addition to speeding growth also prevents growth of weeds and insects.

A good cranberry sauce will compliment any Thanksgiving table. The tang of the berry is a great compliment for turkey whose flavor is not so robust. This year I am making the recipe with fresh thyme, dijon mustard, brown sugar and of course fresh orange peel. 
I always make the cranberry sauce the day before. The flavors develop overnight and right before serving I do warm it over so slightly to serve warm.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my followers and their families. May you make good food together and share it with those you love.


12 oz bag cranberries, remove any bad ones
1 tsp dijon mustard
peel from one orange
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
fresh thyme sprigs

Place all ingredients together in saucepan and bring to boil. Cranberries will start to pop. Turn heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate.