We bought fresh cranberries when we were in Bandon last month. We were a little early for the main harvest, but these ones were dry-picked (hand-picked), so were supposed to be more special than the ones they harvest the usual way, by machine after flooding the fields.
Most of those cranberries go to Ocean Spray for cranberry juice anyway. At Thanksgiving time in Oregon, we always bought the same ones everybody else does which are grown (I think) mostly in Massachusetts. So it was kind of weird knowing that we had an almost-local crop that we couldn't find in our supermarkets -- less than 100 miles from where they grow.
Even so, I've made fresh cranberry sauce for years. It is really easy and really beats the canned stuff. We ate ours early this year because we thought we'd be on the road for the holiday. But we left a package of fresh berries for both of the Oregon families, so maybe we'll get some more now. (The fresh berries freeze beautifully, whether from Oregon or Massachusetts.)
- 3/4 cups water
- 3/4 cups orange juice (fresh if you can)
- 2 1/4 cups sugar (two and a quarter cups)
- pinch of salt
- One and a half pounds fresh cranberries
- Grated rind of one large orange
Combine all ingredients in large pan. Bring to rapid boil and boil hard for three minutes. Berries will pop open. Remove from heat. Add grated orange rind and stir briefly. Cool. Serve at room temperature or chill for later use. (It will keep a long time in the refrigerator if you don't use it up in turkey sandwiches the next day.)
To be honest, we didn't see any difference in taste between this sauce and what we've made for years from the supermarket packaged fresh berries. But there's a real feel-good factor when you know you're eating local.
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