The Native American Secret Berry 

Cranberries (Vaccinium Macrocarpon) are native to North America, and the Native Americans called them the “noisy berry” because they pop as you bite into them. They are harvested after the first frost because cold temperatures concentrate their natural sugars. Cranberries started to be commercially grown in the early 1800s. 

Cranberries All Year Long

They are many amazing recipes with cranberries to use all year long. I use them for sauces, relishes, baked goods, and in salads and side dishes even in the summer months due to their high nutritional value. It is better to eat fresh cranberries than dried cranberries, however. The dried cranberries have only 20% of the antioxidants of the fresh berries. Cranberry juice has about half of the phytonutrients of whole cranberries. Fresh cranberries will stay fresh in the fridge for about a week but can be frozen for several months. 

Chutney or Relish?

Chutney is a compote made with fruits and spices that originated from India several centuries ago. It is often sweet and sour due to added sugar, vinegar, or lemons, while slow-cooked for all the ingredients to soften and mellow. It has a smooth texture, and it is meant to be served fresh. 

Relish originated in England and is often just a spicy sauce that can be added to plain food to improve the flavor. It is chunky texture and made mostly of vegetables. It is meant to be preserved since, in the past, the main aim of relish was to preserve leftover vegetables to be used later during winter and to prevent their spoilage. 

 Delicious Cranberry Chutney  

This recipe is super easy and fast. The secret ingredient is the vinegar that gives this recipe a nice tangy texture, and all the spices highlight the long cooking. Feel free to use any type or combination of dried fruit you may have on hand at home. The pectin in tart apple helps the gelatinizing process, or I just add a little piece of agar-agar (a seaweed-based unflavored gelling agent) to make sure I do not end up with a runny sauce. One could add a spring or rosemary whole cooking to add another twist to the flavor. Remove it after the chutney is cooked. 

Ingredients:

1 bag of fresh or frozen cranberries

1-2 cups of orange juice, orange or fruit-flavored juice, or liquor

2 tbs apple side vinegar

1 tart apple (such as Granny Smith), cored and finely chopped 

1 cup of chopped dried and candied fruits (dates, figs, raisins, currants, apricots, candied ginger, candied orange peels, dried cherries). 

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/4 teaspoon ground dried ginger 

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 

3 cardamom pods 

3 cloves

pinch salt 

Gather all of your ingredients

Chop all large ingredients. Raisins and cranberries do not need to be chopped. 

Put chopped fruits and cranberries in a small heavy-bottomed pan to prevent burning. 

Grind all spices in a spice/coffee grinder or manually with mortar and pestle. 

Add spice and liquids. 

Cook down all the ingredients on low heat, covered, for a long time until the cranberries “pop” and all ingredients break down to a liquid consistency. Stir and watch to make sure the chutney does not burn. If the liquid reduces too much, but it looks like chutney needs more cooking, add a little more juice. (I used leftover pomegranate juice here I found in the fridge). Let it cool a little and taste. Adjust spice, sugar, or vinegar if desired.  

You can serve the chutney warm or cold. Lasts in the fridge for up to a week. Besides turkey, this chutney can be served with other meats, such as poultry, pork or roasted vegetables, or even cheese.

Resources:

The cranberry cookbook : year-round dishes from bog to table by Sally Pasley Vargas

Book Call Number 641.6 VARGAS

The Sioux Chef’s indigenous kitchen by Sean Sherman ; with Beth Dooley

Book Call Number 641.59 SHERMAN

Stirring the pot with Benjamin Franklin : a founding father’s culinary adventures by Rae Katherine Eighmey

Formats: Book and Hoopla audio book

Book Call Number 641.5973 EIGHMEY

Magda Born

mborn@kckpl.org

Community Services Librarian

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

625 Minnesota Ave.

Kansas City, KS 66101

913-295-8250 ext 1103