Cranberry Sauce Recipe
November 22, 2011 by staff
This dish is pretty and almost as easy as opening a can. It also tells a story of New Jersey history, which might be useful table talk at Thanksgiving dinner.
Cranberries have grown in New Jersey for centuries. One of the earliest written references is a letter from emigrant Mahon Stacy. Writing to his brother in 1680, Stacy said, “We have from the time called May until Michaelmas a great store of very good wild fruits as strawberries, cranberries and hurtleberries. The cranberries, much like cherries for color and bigness, may be kept until fruit comes in again. An excellent sauce is made of them for venison, turkeys and other great fowl and they are better to make tarts than either gooseberries or cherries. We have them brot to our homes by the Indians in great plenty.”
Cranberry cultivation in New Jersey began around 1840. John Webb is said to have established a cranberry bog in Ocean County. He sold his wares to whalers, who took them to sea. Cranberries contain vitamin C, which helped them ward off scurvy. Webb earned $50 per barrel, making cranberries a valuable commodity.
Still today, “cranberrying” is a major industry in NJ, with approximately 3,500 acres under cultivation. The state ranks third in the nation in cranberry production, behind Massachusetts and Wisconsin, and produces about 10 percent of the nation’s berries.
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