Food Postcard: Christmas Cranberries

Firm, round, and deep red in colour, cranberries are a fruit native to North America, where a dish of cranberry sauce will always be found on every traditional Christmas dinner table.

cranberries

Firm, red cranberries, together with water and sugar, are all you need to make a Christmas cranberry sauce. (Photo Credit: Flickr/catharticflux)

Those with slightly less time on their hands might favour canned cranberry sauce but there is nothing more rewarding, not to mention tasty and textured, than the homemade variety. Only three simple ingredients are needed for the most basic recipe – water, sugar, and cranberries. In no time the berries will be bursting and bubbling in the pot, releasing their fragrant aroma and distinct tart flavour.

Cranberry sauce pairs well with roasted turkey but anyone who truly loves it will tell you that the sauce goes with everything – turkey, cookies, cake, or even eaten on its own by the spoonful. Fresh or dried berries can be used to bake muffins, cheesecakes, and to add colour and taste to salads.

Cranberries were originally used by Canadian Aboriginals to make pemmican. Derived from the Cree word pimîhkân, dried buffalo, elk, or deer meat was pounded into small pieces and mixed with melted fat and dried berries. This high-energy food was later adopted by fur traders and explorers to see them through long expeditions in the Canadian wilderness.

A little-known fact about cranberries is that when they’re fresh and firm, they bounce. As fun as it sounds, testing this method may not be appreciated by the person preparing your Christmas dinner.

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