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All about the cranberries

November 22nd, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

While it may be odd, my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal are the cranberries. No, not the Irish alternative rock band that rose to mainstream popularity in the 1990s, nor the canned gelatinous cylinder that can be sliced into rubbery disks. I am talking about something prepared from fresh cranberries, or at least as close as I can get in the supermarket produce section.

Since Suzanne and I started hosting family Thanksgiving, I have chosen the cranberry preparation as my contribution, and not just because it is my favorite part, but because it is the easiest. I just finished making three different batches of cranberry condiments in under an hour, including my prep and cleanup time. Now just try to accomplish that for a turkey.

Most recipes I have found must result in a sickly overly sweet mess, with some calling for two cups of sugar for a pound of cranberries! Americans can’t seem to get enough sugar, and I think the dish is much better with the tart taste of the cranberries being the dominant flavor, rather than the sugar. Traveling to other parts of the world, Suzanne and I have noticed that most places we have visited prepare food (even deserts) with far less sugar, and would like to see that style take hold back in the US.

In past years, I prepared two recipies, the traditional off the package, cooked variety, as well as an uncooked version with orange and ginger from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. This year, in addition, I decided I would try to make my own recipe. Suzanne doesn’t feel it is anything special, but I thought I would share it anyway.

David’s Orangey Nutty Crantastic Sauce
1 package fresh cranberries (12 oz)
1 cup water

3/4 cups sugar

1 medium orange

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1/4 cup chopped pecans

  • Zest orange, then peel and divide into segments. Slice orange segments into small pieces.
  • Add water, sugar, and zest into sauce pan, and bring to a boil, making sure the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add cranberries and sliced orange segments and return to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, and boil gently for about ten minutes.
  • Stir in nuts and remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until serving.
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