Yeah, I know it’s craNberries, but craMberries seems more appropriate for something you eat at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

cranberriesIn the USA, cranberries are cultivated in cranberry bogs in the northeast corner of the country. Cranberry sauce was invented by American Indians of the northeast. In the USA, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, cranberry sauce is a traditional side dish, whether anybody eats it or not.

I love it.

If you’ve ever eaten one raw, you know that cranberries are quite acidic, and serves you right. What were you thinkin’? No, cranberries usually need to be sweetened with honey or sugar. Lots of honey or sugar. Because their high acidity makes them almost imperishable, they were one of the first fruits shipped commercially from the American colonies back to Europe. They went for four shillings a jar on the Strand in London early in the 18th century, if you must know.

Cranberries are usually eaten cooked, though they are very good raw and chopped in a relish with oranges, walnuts and sugar. If you have a Jay C store in your neck of the woods, you’re in luck, because they make a really really good cranberry relish.

The Indians of the northeast also used cranberries to make pemmican. This was raw cranberries, dried meat and animal fat pounded together to make a travel food which was said to keep indefinitely. It sounds like something that would keep indefinitely.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Send a character to a Thanksgiving feast. It can be a Feast of Gratitude or something in a different culture than United States of America Norman Rockwell white midwestern style.




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Cramberries

  1. Jane

    November 23, 2016 at 9:21am

    Ah! Pemmican!
    I recently read something about a 150-yr old pemmican block……Or was that my imagination??

    Happy crangiving!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 23, 2016 at 10:49am

      Probably not your imagination. Pemmican, like Velveeta, is imperishable.

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  2. Dan Antion

    November 23, 2016 at 11:53am

    So, did the Indians make the fresh sauce that you never quite know how it’s gonna taste ans it slips and slides away from where you want it, or did they make the jellied stuff that looks like it’s in a can even after the can is removed?

    I like the jellied stuff, but only when sliced and added to a turkey sandwich. Otherwise, not a fan, although I might give pemmican a try. I’m assuming they sell that at most gas stations along the Interstate in Maine.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving, Marian.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 24, 2016 at 8:10am

      I think they probably did do the fresh stuff. I love the fresh stuff when it turns out right, and I love the jellied stuff. I think I watched The Simpsons about half a dozen times, and one of the times was a Thanksgiving episode that is enshrined in our family by Bart’s prayer: “Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothin’.” Oh — and this was my point — by Bart’s “making” the cranberry sauce by schlooping it out of the can onto a plate and announcing, “Cranberry Sauce a la Bart!”

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  3. Joey

    November 23, 2016 at 12:41pm

    Interesting. I love the frozen cranberry salad thingy (which I am not making this year) and the sliced jelly from a can (which Moo will ‘make’ this year.) The rest of it is fine, but those are my preferences.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 24, 2016 at 8:11am

      I like cranberry jello salad, too. Pretty much everything except raw plain cranberries. That’s one of those foods that my mom says makes you think, “Whoever thought this was food must’ve been a lot hungrier than I am.”

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          November 24, 2016 at 5:37pm

          #1 Daughter just informed me that if you take raw cranberries, roll them in sugar, and freeze them, they come out as delicious little red “jewels” that are a delightful treat. Imma try that!

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          • Joey

            November 24, 2016 at 6:33pm

            That has piqued my interest! If I see some on sale, I think I’ll give it a go!

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    • Author
  4. Darren Keane

    December 5, 2016 at 10:59am

    Cramberries!! You are so funny! I love cranberries with sugar. I did not know about the Indians, it was interesting to learn.

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