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No turkey dinner is complete without cranberry sauce, is it? Depends on who you ask, but I like it.
People in North America have been enjoying cranberries for a long time--the Wampanoag people probably offered some to the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving, but it wasn't in a sauce. Sauce requires sugar, for one thing. For another, the first recipe for cranberry sauce didn't appear on the scene until several decades had passed.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, how do you like your cranberries?
According to Ocean Spray, over 60% of us serve it each Thanksgiving.
Of those, over three-fourths of us buy the canned version. The rest of us make our own.
That's where things get sticky, because apparently our preferences are based on our hometowns, which shocked me.
Recipe site Daily Mail says if you cook your sauce, you are probably from out west. Northeastern folks make a relish, using uncooked berries chopped finely. Southwestern cooks add spice to their sauce.
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My mom used to make a relish with oranges, and she's not a Northeasterner. My grandma used to make a jello mold with a can of cranberry sauce and a cream cheese layer. I make a sauce with cranberries, chopped orange and apple, lemon juice, sugar and water. It cooks for three hours.
Nowadays there are recipes for everything cranberry from compote to cocktail. The value of this little berry is becoming more and more celebrated, and it's helpful to our bodies as a source of Vitamin C and in fighting infections.
But it's also a tradition, one we remember this time each year.
What's your preference? What side of the cranberry debate are you on?
Susanne Dietze will be busy making her cranberry sauce on Wednesday. She wishes you a happy Thanksgiving! www.susannedietze.com