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A red, sour berry, much used for making sauce, &c., the fruit of two species of Oxycoccus. The cranberry of the United States is the O. macrocarpus. — Webster, 1882

A fresh lot of cranberries at Wilmarth’s – Kingsbury County News, February 24, 1881.

Homemade cranberry sauce or jelly is fairly easy to make. Fresh cranberries are acidic, which causes their tart taste; they also contain pectin, which causes the cooked fruit to bond with the sugar and gel. A quart of fresh berries will take no more than a cup of water, and two cups of sugar. Bring to a boil while stirring and pushing the cranberries under the water. It’s important to cook the berries until all of them have burst and the sugar has dissolved, and also to let the cooked mixture cool to room temperature before refrigerating it; this may take several hours to over night. Your whole-berry cranberry jelly will be lumpy with pieces of cooked fruit. If you prefer a smooth jelly, you can press it through a fine mesh sieve using the back of a spoon. Cranberries contain lots of tiny seeds. If you want a seedless sauce that still contains bits of cranberry pulp, you can go to the trouble of cutting each berry in half, placing them in a colander, and washing away the seeds under running water.

Laura Ingalls Wilder refers to the freshly-cooked cranberries and sugar as cranberry sauce; it was cranberry jelly after it had set on the pantry shelf over night and congealed). Serve your cranberry sauce spooning it into a glass dish (the high acidity may react with metal containers). To make a shaped cranberry jelly mold (or mould), spoon the cooled mixture into a lightly greased fluted glass or ceramic dish just large enough to hold all your sauce, smooth the top, and refrigerate. To serve: place a clean plate over the mold and hold plate and mold together while you flip them over. Carefully remove the mold and you should have a pretty shaped jelly!

Cranberry Sauce. A quart of cranberries are washed and stewed with sufficient water to cover them; when they burst mix with them a pound of white sugar and stir them well. Before you remove them from the fire, all the berries should have burst. When cold they will be jellied, and if thrown into a form while warm, will turn out whole. – Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine (December 1872), 538.

Cranberry Jelly to be Eaten with Poultry. Carefully wash and pick one quart of cranberries; set on the range one-half pint of cold water, dissolving in it one pound of white sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil add the berries; stir them to keep them under the syrup and also to prevent burning at the bottom. Let them boil twenty minutes and have your molds previously wet with cold water before pouring in the jelly. – Canton Advocate (February 13, 1879), 3.


cranberry (FB 26; TLW 32-33)
     jelly / sauce (FB 21, 26; TLW 33)