The stores are glutted with cranberries – Thanksgiving is coming, and if we believe Bridget Shirvell, one of the authors on https://www.marthastewart.com, cranberry sauce is the only one item on the traditional Thanksgiving menu that doesn’t vary from region to region and from culture to culture. Stuffing is highly questionable, so are pumpkins, and – gasp! – even the ubiquitous turkey. But humble cranberry, or kranbeere, named by Germans settlers because when flowered, it looked like the head of a crane, is always present, either as a sauce or as jelly, either on its sugared own or combined with other fruit or berries.
I’ll let you judge for yourselves, Beautiful People, whether crane – berries on your plate actually resemble these graceful birds. However, if that joint banquet where Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians rubbed elbows really took place, most likely cranberries were on the menu, as part of Pemmican, a popular Native American dish of crushed cranberries, mixed with dried deer meat and melted lard. Why these berries, which are actually not berries but fruit, and not something else? Simple – there wasn’t anything else fruity, sweet and tart, and juicy to be had. Cranberries, blueberries, and concord grapes are the only kinds of fruit native to North America, and the latter two were not in season (http://www.naturipefarms.com).
The legend about about cranberries appearing on the table at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 is not supported by anything, just as the meal itself, shared by the Pilgrims and their friendly Native American neighbors. It took some years to separate cranberries into a side dish, and more years to stew them with sugar and water into a sauce. It was not until 250 years later, when General Ulysses S. Grant ordered it to be included in the menu for Union soldiers’ holiday meal that it has become part of Thanksgiving tradition (ibid.).
To follow this tradition, but also to imbue it with a tropical flavor, I have created a cranberry pineapple sauce. I had fresh juicy cranberry pulp, left after making cranberry mors. I also had hearts of two pineapples (that’s the hard fibrous middle people usually discard), diced and frozen for further use. So I simply run diced pineapple through a food processor, married it with cranberry pulp, added some more xylitol and a splash (or two -three splashes) or sweet red wine, brought it to boil, and voila! – a delicious sauce was born. I am sure my turkey will be very happy to meet it on my husband’s plate.
- Pulp of 1 lbs of fresh of frozen cranberries
- 2 pineapple middles, diced
- 1 cup sugar or substitute (I use xylitol)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sweet red wine or cranberry juice
- Simmer cranberries in 1 galloon of water until very soft. Drain and mash up, using fine sieve, until most of the juice is extracted. *If you add sugar and lemon juice to taste to that juice, you’ll have your mors. Save cranberry pulp.
- Put diced pineapple through food processor or blender until no pieces are left.
- Combine cranberry pulp with pineapple mass, add sugar or substitute, add lemon juice, and wine or cranberry juice.
- Mix well, bring to boil. Remove, let cool.
- Serve chilled or room temperature.
Happy Thanksgiving, Beautiful People!
About the guest author:
Dolly Aizenman is the brainchild behind Kool Kosher Kitchen (Which her blog and her book are named after).
This charismatic Russian blogger is fond of cooking and writing.
She has a BA in Art and Music Education, MA in English, MS in Education and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.