Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Cranberry Wars

Cranberry relish is a memory of my childhood. My mom had an old, hand-cranked grinder that she attached with a clamp to an even older wooden small ladder or stool. Then my dad would sit in front of it on the appointed night and patiently crank the raw cranberries and chunks of orange and apple (unpeeled, of course) that she handed him. It was an endless, time-consuming process. Mom would add sugar—a cup at the most I think. We all loved the relish, served only at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

My children will not touch it, and my grandchildren, having never been introduced to it, probably would not either. So I don’t make it, but many holidays I long for that good old relish. This year, I am going to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving, and I will make cranberry relish. He likes it, and his brother-in-law is dippy about it. So Kevin will take home the leftovers. Of course, these days, it’s much easier to make in a food processor—you just have to catch it at the right point, when it’s chunky but not mush. No more hand-grinding, nor does it take but a few minutes.

Both my daughters-in-law prefer that jellied stuff that comes out of a can—an abomination to me. They chill it, slice it, serve it, and most of it is still on the plate at the end of the meal. I think it had to do with what you grew up eating.

Here’s my version:

1 apple, fairly tart, cored and seeded, cut in small chunks

1 small orange, seedless if possible (I blew that one), cut in small chunks

12 oz. raw cranberries, rinsed and picked over for bad ones

Mix all ingredients in food processor. Watch carefully so as not to blend into mush.

Add 1 cup sugar or more to taste, but you don’t want it too sweet.

Refrigerate up to five days in an airtight container. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy. I’ve always thought of this as something you just put a spoonful on your plate and ate along with the turkey, especially leftovers the next day. But I read recently of someone who made it as a sauce to go on pound cake. Now there’s an idea!

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