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