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Appetizers For Thanksgiving

November 23, 2011 by staff 

Appetizers For Thanksgiving, Every red-bloodied American knows that when it comes to Thanksgiving, cranberries are American as apple pie. Contrary to popular belief, cranberries didn’t come over on the Mayflower though, but were a staple of Native Americans long before the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621.

They’re one of only three native North American fruits — Concord grapes and blueberries are the others — and before the Pilgrims dubbed them “crane berry” (because the shape of the fruit’s blossoms resembled the heads of cranes), Native Americans called them by names like ibimi, atoqua, and sassamanesh.

Cranberry sauce — smooth, whole berry, chopped into chutney, or molded with other fruits — is a “must” with Thanksgiving turkey, but the little berry has proven to be far more versatile as an ingredient in everything from colorful Cosmopolitans and Cranberry Martinis to muffins and not-so-classic fruitcake that will leave you begging for more.

The popularity of tangy wild cranberries grew as the Pilgrim settlements became thriving towns, and each fall entire families would gather to pick enough to preserve for winter use. Cultivation of the wild cranberry didn’t begin until abut 1816, when a Cape Codder named Henry Hall noted that where beach sand blew over the vines, the berries grew better. He transplanted some vines to his low, swampy ground, and added a layer of sand.

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