Jean Ince
Domestic Columnist

For most people,
Thanksgiving means turkey.
While the turkey is a main
part of the holiday meal,
it wouldn’t be the same
without cranberry sauce.
However, it is unlikely that
cranberry sauce was on the
menu the first Thanksgiving.
Cranberry sauce requires
sugar, which was in
short supply in those early
days. Today, cranberry
sauce is a staple at most
Thanksgiving dinners.
Today, fresh cranberries
rarely are eaten for
10 months of the year. We
may eat canned jellied cranberry
sauce, cranberry
juice or dried sweetened
cranberries, but not the
wonderful, tart, fresh cranberry.
So from October thru
December take advantage
of fresh berries in the produce
aisle at your favorite
grocery store.
The American Cranberry
is native to North America
and grows wild from Canada
as far south as the mountains
in North Carolina.
Cranberries are cultivated
commercially only in Canada
and five states: Massachusetts,
New Jersey and
Wisconsin, where the berry
is native; and Washington
and Oregon, to which cranberries
were introduced
from Massachusetts.
Fresh whole berries are
more expensive because
they have to be hand-picked
to avoid the damage caused
by machine-picking. When
choosing fresh cranberries
to purchase, pick up the
bag and inspect it. Look
to see that the berries are
shiny, plump and range in
color from bright light red
to dark red. If the package
has several berries that are
soft, put it back and choose
another package.
When you are ready to
use the cranberries, wash
them gently by rubbing
them under running tap
water. Discard shriveled
berries or those with brown
spots. Good, ripe cranberries
will bounce, which is
why they are nicknamed
“bounce berries”.
Fresh cranberries should
be stored in a tightly-sealed
plastic bag in the refrigerator.
As with all berries, if
one starts getting soft and
decaying, the others will
quickly soften and decay
also. Be sure to sort out
the soft ones, if you plan to
store them for more than a
few days.
Fresh cranberries
may last from 2 weeks up to
2 months in the refrigerator.
Cooked cranberries can last
up to a month in a covered
container in the refrigerator.
Washed cranberries
may be frozen for up to 1
year in airtight bags. You
may substitute sweetened
dried cranberries for fresh
or frozen cranberries in
baked recipes.
Cranberries contain
about 25 calories in ½ cup
of fresh berries and 10%
of the recommended daily
allowance of vitamin C,
plus plenty of natural antioxidants.
Fresh cranberries
contain no cholesterol, virtually
no fat and very little
Whole fresh cranberries
and any foods that are
hard, round or difficult to
chew can sometimes lodge
in small airways, causing a
child to choke. Before serving
cranberries to a child
under age three, always
chop the raw berry or cook
them until they are tender.
There is nothing to compare
to fresh cranberry
sauce. Consider making
some this holiday season.
You will find a basic recipe
on the back of the package
of cranberries. It takes
about 15 minutes to make
and in my opinion is so
much better than the jellied
cranberry sauce from
the can.
Try cranberries all year
long, not only at Thanksgiving
or Christmas. Chicken
and pork dishes are great
with fresh cranberry relish
for a nice change.
For more information
on adding fresh fruits and
vegetables to your holiday
meal contact the Howard
County Extension Office at
870-845-7517. I will be glad
to send you the USDA food
fact sheet, “Countdown to
the Thanksgiving Meal”. It
has everything you need to
know about preparing your
turkey safely, general food
safety tips and storing leftovers.
You can also visit our
office located on the second
floor of the courthouse.
Recipe of the Week
This is a great recipe for
holiday meals. Since this
recipe is made with some
recipe substitutions including
using a sugar substitute,
diabetics can enjoy this
holiday favorite.
Cranberry Salad
1 (9 oz.) can crushed
unsweetened pineapple,
juice packed*
1 (3 oz.) sugar-free cherry
1 Tablespoon lemon
Sugar substitute equivalent
to ¼ cup sugar
1 cup fresh cranberries,
1 small orange, peeled,
quartered and ground*
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup pecans or other
nuts, broken into pieces
Drain the juice from the
pineapple and save it. Set
the pineapple aside for later
use. Combine the pineapple
juice with water to equal 2
cups liquid. Set aside.
Prepare the gelatin according
to the directions on
the package using the juicewater
mixture for the liquid.
One the gelatin is dissolved,
stir in the lemon juice. Chill
it until it’s partially set.
In a separate bowl, combine
the pineapple, sugar
substitute, cranberries, orange,
celery and nuts. Add
this mixture to the partially
set gelatin and stir it until
blended. Pour the mixture
into a large mold, several
smaller molds or into a
glass bowl. Chill it until it
is firm.
*Note: Do not use fresh
or frozen pineapple in this
recipe. It will prevent the
gelatin from jelling. You
may use a small can of mandarin
oranges in place of
the fresh orange. Drain and
chop the oranges before
adding to the recipe.
Nutrition Information
per Serving with Nuts:
Calories: 80; sodium: 27
milligrams; carbohydrate:
11 grams; dietary fiber: 2
grams; protein: 1 gram; fat:
3 grams. Exchanges: 1 fruit,
½ fat
Nutrition Information
per Serving without Nuts:
Calories: 35; sodium: 27
milligrams; carbohydrate:
10 grams; dietary fiber: 1
grams; protein: ½ gram; fat:
0 grams. Exchanges: 1 fruit

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