Most people would agree that Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn't be the same without the appearance of cranberries in one form or another — the most popular of these being cranberry relish. At this time of the year, with the holidays upon us, we at Carolina Plantations would like to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving as well as share our favorite facts and recipes with you.
Mix fresh raw cranberries, chopped apples and chopped oranges in a bowl. Stir well. Cover, chill and let stand a few hours for best flavor. Stir again and serve.
1. Cranberries are one of only three fruits that are native to North America. It's a wild fruit that grows on long-running vines in sandy bogs and marshes primarily in the Northeast, but they can also be found growing in the Pacific Northwest.
2. Native Americans were the first to enjoy cranberries. They mixed deer meat and mashed cranberries to make pemmicana — a survival food. They also believed in the medicinal value of cranberries — long before science discovered the health benefits offered by the cranberry.
3. Native Americans also used the rich red juice of the cranberry as a natural dye for rugs, blankets and clothing.
4. Cranberries were called “sassamanesh” by Eastern Indians. While the Cape Cod Pequots and the South Jersey Leni-Lenape tribes named them “ibimi,” or bitter berry. It was the early German and Dutch settlers who started calling it the “crane berry” because the flower looked a lot like the head and bill of a crane.
5. It wasn't until the 1800's that people began farming cranberries. At first growers would pick the cranberries by hand. Today most cranberries are harvested using a technique known as wet harvesting. That's when the bog is flooded with water and the cranberries float to the surface, where they are easily scooped up.
6. Some cranberry bogs are more than 100 years old and still produce today.
7. Sailors once used cranberries as a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. Besides Vitamin C, we now know that cranberries are also full of antioxidants that help cleanse and purify the body.
8. Americans consume some 400 million pounds of cranberries a year, 20 percent during Thanksgiving week.
9. American recipes containing cranberries date from the early 18th Century.
I believe all families have their own version of stuffing, for I have never had the same stuffing twice unless it was my family’s recipe, and that includes friend’s homes and restaurants. That being said, I’d like to share what I believe to be the best stuffing in the UNIVERSE. Yes, UNIVERSE!! It’s easy to make and quite the crowd pleaser.
o 1 Bag of Pepperidge Farm cubed stuffing mix
o 1 can of chicken broth
o Same amount of fresh Apple Cider
o One large sautéed yellow onion
o Pinch of salt & pepper
o One bag of fresh Cranberries
o (Optional: 1 cup of chopped dried Prunes and 1 cup of chopped dried Apricots. Only add these if you are prepared for additional excitement!!)
Boil chicken broth and apple cider. Add salt & pepper along with sautéed onion and then remove from stove. Stir in bag of stuffing mix and then the cranberries. (Depending on bag size, you may need to add a bit more apple cider) Then add apricots and prunes if you dare. Stuff the bird and or place remaining amount in a separate festive casserole dish. Bake. Then lather with your homemade gravy and adorn with bird, potatoes, veggies, rolls, cranberry relish and love!
Happy Thanksgiving from The Team at Carolina Plantations Real Estate!