When the European colonists arrived in North America, they discovered that Native American tribes enjoyed a tart, bright-red berry growing wild in sandy bogs around New England. In fact, tribes across the continent’s north harvested cranberries and ate them in combination with fats, meats, corn, and other berries, in addition to using them for medicine and dye. But the colonists didn’t copy the local Native tradition of pounding cranberries with meat to create a protein-rich power bar called pemmican, says Robert Cox, the author of Massachusetts Cranberry Culture: A History from Bog To Table—in part because the cranberry fit perfectly into their own tradition of cooking tart berries into sauce to accompany meats. Used like this, as a substitute for the British gooseberry or redcurrant, cranberry sauce became so popular that, Cox told Gastropod, “People would joke that if you visited a New England home in the 18th or early 19th century, the tablecloth on the table was held down at each and every corner by big pots of cranberry sauce that were served with anything for breakfast, anything for lunch, anything for dinner.”
Today, however, cranberry sauce has almost entirely disappeared from our culinary vocabulary, aside from Thanksgiving and, in the United Kingdom, Christmas dinner. Instead, most people now consume cranberries in their dried and juiced forms.
I make and jar around 10-20 quarts of cranberry sauce/preserves each Fall/Winter. I eat it year round as my second favorite. (Peach/Apricot is my number one.) I use it on toast and sandwiches, in sauces and pot roasts, on ice cream, in breads and muffins, etc.
My parents were from Germany. I imagine Thanksgiving was their intro to Ocean Spray. Somehow or other, the jellied sauce was a year-round staple during my childhood. All chicken dinners demanded it, as did meat loaf, pot roast, and several other beef dishes. Mom didn’t cook with tomatoes, other than for spaghetti sauce and her chili, whose only form of pepper was bell. Pork meant applesauce, of course. She only tapered off the Ocean Spray when she realized how many calories it adds to a meal. I still like cranberry sauce on a meat loaf sandwich.
We make lots of cranberry stuff. Kinda figures since we’re in New Jersey. We make Cranberry/Orange Preserves, Cranberry Crumb Cake, Cranberry Upside Down Cake. New this year are Pickled Cranberries - which are really delicious and Cranberry Shrub which is also really good.
I was never a sauce fan, but have made the Moosewood cranberry, apple, and walnut cake a lot. Sometimes I add a cup of yogurt, and you can cut the sugar in half or so. It works as a sheet, muffins, or a loaf. Wicked moist and can be sliced and toasted too.
I found this recipe for pickled cranberries, is this similar to what you do? I’m thinking i can halve the recipe and then store in the freezer so i can skip the whole canning process… or maybe there’s so much vinegar i can just keep in the fridge
Looks exactly the same Throck. It’s all vinegar & cranberries are acidic anyway. I think it would be fine in the fridge. If you don’t have or don’t want to buy Juniper Berries use a slug of Gin & decrease the vinegar by that amount.