Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting Creative with Cranberry Sauce

The cranberry is one of only a handful of fruits native to North America - the Concord grape and blueberry being the others. As documented by the Pilgrims, cranberries were found in abundance in Massachusetts in 1620 and rumor has it that they may have been served at the first Thanksgiving dinner, although we have no way of knowing for sure. Written recipes using cranberries date back to the 1700s and the first recorded cranberry crop in history dates back to 1816 in Dennis, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Cranberries soon cemented their place in New England life by serving as a vital source of vitamin cup for whalers and a valuable natural resource to residents.

Today, the Pilgrim's favorite fruit still holds an irreplaceable role in most people's Thanksgiving traditions. While some people like the straight-out-of-the-can jellied variety, cranberry sauce presents so many opportunities for getting culinarily creative, it seems a shame to just open a can. Instead, expand your cranberry options and check out one of the recipes below. They'll add zest and interest to your holiday meal in a whole new way.

Creative Cranberry Sauce Recipes
  • Molded Cranberry Sauce (pictured at top of this post) -- This recipe combines the best of jelled and whole cranberry sauce made in an attractive decorative mold for a spectacular presentation.
  • Classic Whole Cranberry Sauce -- Here's a classic cranberry sauce recipe that would be at home at any Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce (pictured at right) -- Tangerines combine with apricots and cranberries to make a fabulous flavor medley to go with your Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Kumquat, Pomegranate and Cranberry Relish -- Kumquats add the exotic, cranberries the familiar, and pomegranates the surprise ending!
  • Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce -- Dried cherries and fresh cranberries pair beautifully and cloves add some spice for a complex cranberry sauce perfect for Thanksgiving.
  • Jalapeno Tequila Cranberry Sauce -- Tart cranberries and sweet orange pair beautifully with a little bit of jalapeno heat in this unique southwestern cranberry sauce recipe.
  • Cranberry Fruit Salad Mold --Molded salads always add a festive look to any table and this one is no exception.
  • Cranberry Chutney -- If your experience with cranberries has been sweet, jelled sauces, this spicy chutney will provide a welcome change of pace for a more adult palate.
(P.S. If you make any of these recipes, be sure to add a post to the Fabulous Foods Cooking Club blog to be eligible for this month's prize package giveaway. Click here for details.)

Cranberry Tips

  • Look for bright, plump cranberries, avoid soft, crushed, or shriveled berries.
  • Peak season is September through December.
  • Fresh cranberries will keep in the refrigerator for 4-8 weeks.
  • You can freeze fresh cranberries for longer storage.
  • You can substitute frozen cranberries in most recipes calling for fresh.
  • Do not wash cranberries until ready for use, as moisture will cause quicker spoilage.
  • When a recipe says "cook until the cranberries pop," don't expect popcorn. This simply mean the berry's outer skin will expand until it bursts.

1 comment:

Yasmeen said...

Delicious array of cranberry recipes ,love to try them this season.
Thanks cheri for you response to my post on plagiarism.I'm going to check out the google alerts.

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