Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cranberries



Although I grew up in Maine, I had never been on a cranberry picking trip. My parents have been going for years and I've been enjoying homemade cranberry sauce at every holiday for as long as I can remember. So when my parents suggested going on a berry gathering trip, I jumped at the chance.

A couple days ago, my dad started scheming on his wet vac strategy. Whenever he started talking about his plan, I shook my head and chalked it up as another of my dad's crazy ideas--Little did I know that he was the one who would have the last laugh!

We arrived at the bog and there was more water than I expected. Like Hung, I didn't know what to expect and I wore my sneakers (I guess we really were "rookies"). What was I thinking? I've seen the ocean spray cranberry commercials on t.v. with the two guys standing knee deep in water! So my feet ended up a little soggy but it didn't temper my berry hunting enthusiasm. I managed to fill half of my container but the story of the day was truly the Wet-Vac. I know it sounds crazy but it worked! My father collected A LOT more than any of us and the berries looked amazing.


Hung and My Dad unloading the Honda Generator--The Wet Vac needs power!

Hung tries out the Wet Vac. Notice his blaze orange hat--It is moose season in Maine and we needed to stay safe.

Our Family Recipe for Rustic Cranberry Sauce

1 Quart Fresh Cranberry
1/2 Quart Sugar (less if you desire but remember cranberries are very tart!)
1/2 Quart Water (add more if needed)

Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst. If the cranberries don't burst, break with a wooden spoon. This will allow the sugar to enter.

Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.


In the fall, my grandfather makes this recipe in large quantities. After it cools, he freezes it in small containers. Throughout the winter, families members are constantly stopping in at his house and grabbing a container from his deep freeze.

-amb

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