Old Fashioned Cranberry Sauce
Before we moved to West Virginia, we used to crawl around on our hands & knees hand gathering cranberries & filling bag after bag with their delightfully bright, light oblong bodies. Now that we are no longer near any cranberry bogs, we are thankful that we can find fresh raw organic cranberries at the grocery store. We have made many delicious dishes utilizing all the berries we gathered over the years. The final year we gathered berries, we knew it was the last as we had just purchased our first (& hopefully our last) home - this one!
We filled jar after canning jar with berries & packed the freezer full! Once we settled in, we made the most important recipe of all, our old fashioned cranberry sauce. Now we have row after row of quilted jelly jars on the shelf to show for our efforts. Each one a part of our past waiting to be enjoyed in the future.
This Thanksgiving as we pulled out a slightly dusty garnet red jar, our thoughts drifted to our Nana as they do every season. Nana was never easy to please. She complained much more than she praised. Compliments were like glittering jewels on the hilt of a very sharp tongue. On the Thanksgiving she first tried our home made cranberry sauce the praise seemed to never end. Not only did Nana compliment the sauce, she exclaimed over it in utter delight! We were amazed. We were thrilled. We pinched ourselves for surely this is a dream. Nana is never happy. Perhaps we should slap each other silly? But no, Nana was sincere. It wasn't a dream. We made Nana happy. Finally having done something that met with her approval we diligently prepared this cranberry sauce for every Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner no matter what!
Every October we made sure to never be without fresh cranberries. You would find us crawling around the cranberry bogs collecting our bags of berries, clothes stained with from crushed berries & tired smiles on our sunburned faces. We would dump the berries out in the sink when we got home to sort out the bad berries, pick off the little stems & rinse away the dirt. Next we put them into canning jars raw, filling at least one shelf in the freezer with Mother Natures M&M's. The reward for our hard work was in seeing Nana's face alight with pleasure and we have to admit, we happen to like our cranberry sauce too!
It has been many years since Nana has passed but our home made cranberry sauce lives on (albeit without the bog crawling). It is strange how that which seems so insignificant to one holds profound weight to another. When we see our jars of sauce on the shelf we keep her alive in our hearts & memories with every deep red spoonful.
12 Ounces of Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
1 Cup of Water
1 Cup of Sugar Cane
1/2 tsp. of Orange Zest
Rinse the cranberries in cool water, discarding any stems or blemished berries.
In a 3 quart saucepan bring the water & sugar to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Add the cranberries & simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries pop (this can get a bit messy), about 10 minutes.
Stir in the orange zest.
Cover & refrigerate until chilled.
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