Highbush Cranberries

A tub of highbush cranberries, picked in the Edmonton river valleyMost of the highbush cranberries in the nearby park have lengthened into a distinct oval shape, which means they’re ready for picking.

Often when harvesting or foraging in balmy summer, I find myself looking forward to the colder months ahead.

Much of the past year has been devoted to exploring seasonality beyond ingredients: looking at traditional dishes and meals that mark the season.  I pick highbush cranberries mostly for use in two meals: Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  (If there’s a little extra that can be enjoyed in November with some game meats, all the better.)  So as I romp through the bush in late summer, I’m actually thinking about fall and winter.

Similarly, when candying cherries in August, I might envision a Christmas cake, or when picking pumpkins in September, a jack-o-lantern.  So it is with seasonal eating, that one eye looks back on the past, and one looks forward to the future.

To separate the cranberries from their stems and pits, I use a food mill with a fine die.  I cook out the sauce with a good pinch of salt, and honey.

After being processed in the canning pot, the jars will wait in the cellar until the turkey is killed.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg highbush cranberries
  • 120 g white sugar
  • cornstarch slurry

Procedure

  1. Pass the cranberries through a food mill to separate the flesh from the seeds.  This process will yield about 600 g of cranberry purée.
  2. Put the cranberry purée into a heavy pot with the sugar.  Bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Add a small amount of cornstarch to thicken.
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