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Cranberry in the kitchen

Homemade spicy cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries, cinnamon and star anise on a wooden background

After harvest, cranberry fruits can be eaten fresh, dried or made into syrups or jams. Cranberries are used, therefore, for both sweet and savory preparations, and only 12 percent of the crop is consumed as fresh fruit. The American cranberry can be used by the food industry in the form of juice concentrate or dehydrated or frozen fruit. Cranberries available for food use vary in size, color and taste; in fact, there are sour ones and sweet and sour ones. The dried fruits are mainly used in the confectionery industry. The fresh fruits, on the other hand, are mainly used to make jams. They must be rinsed and cooked covered, as they tend to burst during cooking. The jam is used for tarts, cakes, puddings, muffins, cookies, and sweet and savory buns. Traditionally, sweet and sour cranberry sauce is used as an accompaniment to the Thanksgiving turkey. You can either prepare it at home or buy it ready-made at the supermarket.

Its sour flavor is in perfect combination with orange; in fact, a sauce made from these two fruits is used as a side dish for roast duck. The fresh fruit is also used to make sorbets, soufflés and fruit preserves. Frozen product, on the other hand, is a perfect base for jellies, sauces, syrups and ice cream. Cranberry is the star of American diets, as it is found in almost all bakery, ice cream, and beverage and liquor preparations. It is a popular ingredient in candy and gum, yogurt, and in the preparation of diet snacks. Fresh cranberry can also be eaten with fresh cheeses, added to wine, cream, fruit salads and on cakes.

Cranberries on the table for Thanksgiving

After Halloween, American homes change their look, witches and hollow pumpkins are set aside and decorated with wicker cornucopias filled with seasonal fruits, flowers and leaves. The Thanksgiving meal involves the whole family in preparations, lasts several hours, and is usually followed by hours of homemade lazing around with guests.

Lunch begins with the classic Thanksgiving prayer, and the menu is always rich and plentiful. The star of the show is the stuffed roast turkey, which requires at least 4 hours of cooking, during which time it must be continually doused with its own gravy so that the meat does not set. Its filling is made of bread crumbs and herbs, but each family customizes it with the addition of mushrooms or sausage. Taking pride of place is cranberry sauce, a sweet-and-sour jam made by boiling berries in water and sugar to a consistency somewhere between jelly and fruit compote. Culinary tradition also calls for mashed potatoes, homemade rolls filled with butter, a potato and walnut pie, and corn on the cob. The holiday dedicated to the family, and parades and American Football games are shown continuously on TV. It takes several days to use up the leftovers from the mega-lunch, and very often they are also distributed to guests in small take-away packages. After spending many hours in the kitchen, the hosts rest for a few days and bring only leftovers to the table. The day after Thanksgiving is also Black Friday, the day of bargain sales that officially begin a few days before Christmas.

Source: The Cranberry – A fruit that never ceases to amaze by Mediserve

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