Cranberries are in season in the fall. An important staple on the Thanksgiving table, this ruby colored fruit is rich in Vitamin C, and according to their famous marketer Ocean Spray, they have more antioxidant properties than most natural fruit. Cranberries also help prevent urinary tract infections, flushing e coli bacteria harmlessly out of the system.
Cows are fond of cranberries, hence their botanical name, vaccinium oxycoccos, which comes from the Latin vacca, meaning cow. Cranberry comes from the word “craneberry” because of the cranberry plant’s flowers, which look like the head of crane.
Bears are also fond of cranberries, and the ruby fruit is sometimes known as a bearberry.
Of course, canned cranberries offer little except gelatinous sugar. Fresh cranberries are easy to convert into sauce; just boil with sugar and the berries congeal in their own juice.
The inventive cook can use cranberries as a garnish. Add chopped cranberries to gelatin molds, sauces, salads, relishes and mulled cider. Make sure cranberries are fresh; fresh cranberries actually bounce when they are dropped.
Most cooks don’t think of cranberries in terms of bread, however. The following is a secret cranberry bread recipe, perfect as a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner and for breakfast the next day. Since the recipe is sweet, the sour taste of the cranberries is balanced with the cake-like texture of the bread to produce a uniquely grandmotherly and Thanksgivingly sweet bread treat.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 1 ½ cup raisons
- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl.
- Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly
- Add egg, orange juice, and orange peel all at once; stir until mixture is just moisr.
- Fold in cranberries and nuts.
- Spoon into a greased an lightly floured 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for one hour and ten minutes.
- Insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. If not, bake for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.
- If you choose, you may increase the amount of cranberries by 1 ½ cups.
- Serves 16.