This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and many people will enjoy a special meal sometime over the next three days. Usually it is on Sunday or Monday. I’m travelling to visit my parents after I get off work tomorrow night and we’ll enjoy some sort of special meal on Monday. I can’t take much food with me but I thought tonight I could try the Cranberry Sauce recipe from the Game section in The New Galt Cook Book (1898) since I can take it with me tomorrow. No one claims it as their own recipe in the cook book.
I bought a package of fresh cranberries at the store but the quantity was by weight 340 grams (12 ounces) rather than volume. My first step was measuring to be sure I had 1 quart (4 cups) of cranberries. I had slightly less but I went a head and followed the recipe. One quart of liquid is bigger than 1 quart of dry ingredients but with this amount the difference isn’t that significant. I put 1 quart (4 cups) of water in a saucepan and then weighed 1 pound of sugar. I added the sugar and turned up the heat. Once it was boiling I added 1 quart (4 cups) of washed cranberries. I left it to cook for 15 minutes but stirred occasionally to keep the berries turning in the liquid. They started popping quickly and it was at this point I realized this was not going to be my typical cranberry sauce. It was very liquid. I kept cooking for the full-time and then removed it from the heat. I let it cool a bit and then tasted.
I’ve been curious for a long time about cranberries and I’ve never been sure if they were available in Ontario. I know that we have something called highbush cranberries but the type we use today are grown in bogs. I explored some 1898 fall issues of The Canadian Grocer magazine and discovered that the most coveted cranberries came from Cape Cod in the United States but that they were also grown in several parts of Canada. I’ve inserted a digital clipping from this magazine which talks about attempts to increase cranberry production in the province of Nova Scotia. Bog cranberries are commercially grown in Ontario today … at least based on the number of websites I found. This one included some cranberry history. I can’t vouch for the complete accuracy of it but it appears valid and Canadian Gardening magazine has some information too. Some day I hope to go to the Cranberry Festival in Bala Ontario.
In looking at the recipe I assumed it was very much like the one I see on the cranberry package. The package says boil one cup of water and one cup of sugar and then add the package of cranberries. Cook for 10 minutes. The ingredients are the same but the proportion is very different. The 1898 cranberry sauce is … a SAUCE!! It is very liquid rather than the berry filled sauce I’m accustomed to making and nothing at all like the canned jam like cranberry sauce my family had when I was growing up. I like this as it can be poured over the meat. If you don’t like the texture of cranberry sauce but like the flavour than this might be a good option since it would be easy to strain out the berries. I was afraid it was going to be too sweet but it is nice and tart. I’m looking forward to trying this sauce with some turkey on Monday.
One quart of cranberries, one quart of water and one pound of white sugar; make a syrup of the water and sugar. After washing the berries clean and picking out all poor ones, drop them into the boiling syrup; let them cook from fifteen to twenty minutes. They are very nice strained. Serve with turkey.