All Grown Up
I am feeling frighteningly adult today. I bought cranberries. In preparation for the holidays. It’s the final frontier. But now, what to do with said tart berries? I did a little poking around and came up with a nice recipe for roasted cranberry relish, with cardamon and jalapeño, thanks to Saveur (check it out), but I also learned a little along the way.
Just as you’d been told, American Indians taught colonists all about cranberries, though the English soon realized that the acidic fruit wasn’t only good to eat, as, say, cranberry cornbread, but also cleaned their silverware quite well. The fruit’s vitamin-C kept whalers from getting scurvy. And, as reported in New England Rarities Discovered (1672), “The Indians and the English use them much, boyling them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meat; and it is a delicate Sauce especially for roasted Mutton; Some make Tarts with them …” By 1728, cranberries were a reccommended between-meals snack for kids.
My best discovery, however, were many recipes for a popular 19th drink—cranberryade. I’m going to try this one today.
“Stew a half a cup of cranberries in a generous cup of water until the skins break. Mash the fruit and strain through cheesecloth. Do not squeeze, but simply allow to run through. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice and three and one-half tablespoons of sugar. Make very cold and serve.”