by Jennifer A. Wickes
(Also known as called bounceberries, because ripe ones bounce, and craneberries!)
Mmmm! Cranberries! Every time I see cranberries, I just know the holiday season has started! It reminds me of cold weather, family time and carefree moments as a child. You can find them in baked goods, in sauces, as drinks, cooked with meat, or even strung up with popcorn to go on a Christmas tree! But what do you really know about cranberries?
Cranberries are grown in huge sandy bogs off of vines in Northern Europe and in some of the northern United States. They are harvested in September and October, yet their peak-selling season is between Halloween and Christmas!
When taking home your package of cranberries, throw out any shriveled or discolored cranberries. They should then be wrapped tight and stored in the refrigerator for approximately 2 months or even in the freezer for up to a year!
Cranberries are very high in Vitamin C, and can help in the treatment of bladder infections.
Due to the fact that cranberries are extremely tart, they are usually combined with another fruit when cooking or processing. Beware of straight cranberry juice as a lot of sugar may have been added to make the juice more palatable!
The following recipe I have made during Christmas for potluck Christmas parties. It has always been a hit!
CRANBERRY-ORANGE WALNUT SCONES
by Jennifer Wickes copyright 2001
1/2 cup sugar
1-tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup butter
2-tablespoons grated orange zest
1-cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
For the glaze: 2 tablespoons half and half 2 teaspoons sugar
Preheat your oven to 425 and butter a baking sheet. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Blend the butter into the dry ingredients, using your fingertips or a pastry blender, until the mixture is crumbly. Add the orange zest, cranberries and walnuts and toss to combine. Add the milk and juice, and stir until the dough is rough.
Gather the dough together and place on a floured work surface. Knead gently about 10 times. Divide the dough in half and pat each piece into a circle about 6 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick. To glaze, brush the circles with the half and half and sprinkle with sugar. Cut each circle into eight pie-shaped wedges. Place the scones, barely touching, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until puffy and golden, 15-18 minutes.
Makes 16 scones.
My mother makes the next recipe for a Christmas auction every year to help raise money for the non-profit organization she belongs too. People have paid as much as $12 a jar for this!
CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH BOURBON by Joan P. Chilvers
12 oz. fresh cranberries
4 c. sugar
1/2 c. bourbon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir ingredients together. Place in the oven for 1 hour. Stir contents occasionally during cooking.
Tastes best when it has had time to sit, for example, 2 weeks. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavours.
Store in a refrigerator indefinitely.
To understand how cranberry juice helps to eliminate bladder infections, please read Suite 101's Neale Rolfe Chamberlain's article: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/microbiology/11524
To learn more about cranberries in the United States, read Suite 101's Audrey Stallsmith's recent article: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/historical_plants/83789
This article was originally published at Suite101.com: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/cooking_with_the_seasons/84424
Jennifer A. Wickes is a freelance food writer, researcher and cookbook reviewer. She has written several eBooks, and has had several articles and recipes in printed publications. She is working on her first cookbook.
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