You Can Make A Better Choice

Bags of fresh cranberries are plentiful in the produce section of the grocery stores this time of year. It’s one of those food traditions that we never question and expect it to be on the holiday menu. Cranberries also seem to be one of those foods that folks either love or hate. Personally, I love cranberries. It’s really tasty on a sandwich made with left over turkey the day after Thanksgiving. They are good for you, too. Look it up.

Now, you can reach for a can of that congealed cranberry juice stuff concocted way back when your great-grandmother was a young woman. Time saver and convenient, if cranberries are just a garnish for your Thanksgiving plate, not really to be eaten with your turkey, then have at it.

You can make a better choice: fresh cranberry sauce. Below is what I do every year.

Here’s my recipe:

1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed in cold water

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

1/4 cup orange juice

pinch salt

pat of butter, optional

What to do:

Place rinsed berries in a two quart pot and turn burner to medium heat. Add sugar, water, orange juice and pinch of salt. I think the tiny bit of salt helps cut the bitter taste that cranberries sometime have and makes the taste brighter. Bring berries to a gentle boil, stirring to disolve the sugar.

The berries will begin to pop, as their skins split. You’re almost through with the cooking part, at this stage. When the berries foam up, turn the fire off. With a metal spoon, skim the pink bubbly foam from the top of the pot. If you want to, add the pat of butter. This helps reduce any foam that may remain- it’s kind of hard to get all of the foam out of the cranberry sauce.

Cool the sauce before placing it in the frig. It can be made a day or two ahead of turkey day. Serve in your great-grandmother’s pretty cutglass bowl. She’d think you are the cat’s pajamas.

Thanksgiving Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

I Burned the Cranberry Sauce Years Ago

20151121_124437I burned the cranberry sauce years ago and my youngest son has never let me forget it. And just for the record, it’s easy to make cranberry sauce from scratch. If you serve something that slides out of a tin can like a red tird, shame on you! Cranberry sauce should be lovingly spooned next to homemade cornbread dressing and homemade sweet potato casserole and homemade green bean casserole-never ever, ever sliced and chunked onto your Thanksgiving plate.

The year I burned the cranberry sauce, my mother had called to tell me to make sure I made it because Uncle Bobby never really liked cranberry sauce before he tasted mine. Probably because all he’d ever had was that congealed stuff from a can. Anyway, I had gotten quite busy that morning getting all my cooking done and I got distracted. Yep, burned the cranberry sauce to a dark sticky mess in my stainless steel pot

“You burned the cranberry sauce,” my youngest son announced. “No cranberry sauce next to my turkey? What about Uncle Bobby? He loves your cranberry sauce.”

I gave a disgusted sigh.

” I’m not going to the store for more berries on Thanksgiving. Don’t say anything about my burning it and maybe no one will notice that there’re no cranberries.”

When dinner was served and plates were fixed, we all sat down to eat. The inevitable happened. Uncle Bobby looked at his plate, looked at everyone else’s plate, looked up and down  the dinner table. He opened his mouth and took a breath.

Before Uncle Bobby could even ask,  “Mama burned the cranberry sauce, Uncle Bobby. So, there won’t be any this year.”

My own son ratted me out.

Here’s my recipe:

1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed in cold water

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

1/4 cup orange juice

pinch salt

pat of butter, optional

What to do:

Place rinsed berries in a two quart pot and turn burner to medium heat. Add sugar,  water, orange juice and pinch of salt. I think the tiny bit of salt helps cut the bitter taste that cranberries sometime have and makes the taste brighter. Bring berries to a gentle boil, stirring to disolve the sugar.

The berries will begin to pop, as their skins split. You’re almost through  with the cooking part, at this stage. When the berries foam up, turn the fire off. With a metal spoon, skim the pink bubbly foam from the top of the pot.  If you want to, add the pat of butter. This helps reduce any foam that may remain- it’s kind of hard to get all of the foam out of the cranberry sauce.

Cool the sauce before placing it in the frig. It can be made a day or two ahead of turkey day. Which is what I should have done the year I burned the cranberry sauce.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.