Cranberries with Prunes

cranberries with prunes 2

Cranberries are beginning to appear in the produce section at my supermarket.  I remembered seeing a recipe for Cranberries with Prunes in a 1915 issue of Good Housekeeping, and just had to give it a try.

Cranberries with Prunes are a lovely taste treat with bright notes of both fruits.  The rich sweetness of the prunes mingles with the tart cranberries to create a vibrant mixture.  Like many hundred-old-recipes, this classic recipe is simple to make with only four ingredients.

This recipe combines two super foods. Both cranberries and prunes are noted for having lots of antioxidants, fiber, and other good things. Amazingly, even though terms like antioxidant were unknown to cooks a hundred years ago, people seemed to have an intuitive sense of healthy food combinations.

Cranberries with Prunes

3 cups cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup prunes

Combine cranberries, sugar, and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat; then reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst. Add prunes and remove from heat. Cool before serving.

Adapted from recipe in Good Housekeeping (November, 1915)

I’m often amazed how foods and cooking techniques have changed over the past hundred years. As with many old recipes, I needed to adapt this recipe. The original recipe provided detailed directions for preparing the prunes.

Cover the prunes with water and soak overnight. Simmer gently till thoroughly tender. Take up with a skimmer, and when perfectly cool slip out the stones. Add the cranberries to the water in which these were boiled, pouring in more water if necessary. . .

The prunes I used were already pitted and very moist, so there was no need to soak them overnight or to pit.

45 thoughts on “Cranberries with Prunes

    1. I have a lot of fun with the old recipes. I enjoy the challenge–and their murkiness gives me several degrees of freedom when I interpret them. 🙂

  1. When I saw the title of this one, I thought, “No kidding!” I never would have thought of combining these, but it’s an inspired idea. It certainly would do very well as a cranberry sauce, too. I grew up with the jellied sauce that came to the table still bearing the marks of the can, and canned whole berry sauce. I didn’t really develop an appreciation for the fruit until I started using the fresh ones.

    1. I grew up with the jellied kind that came in a can, too. I think that it was considered the “modern” way to serve cranberries back then. It seems strange how wholesome foods seem like they often got lost in the rush towards modernity and convenience in the middle part of the 20th century.

    1. hmm. . . I can’t quite picture what a prune sandwich would taste like. Like you, I’ve noticed that prunes (and other dried fruits such as raisins, figs, and dates) were very popular back then. It probably was difficult to transport many of the fresh fruits over long distances in the early 1900s.

  2. This sauce looks delicious. I love the bright colors! I have kind of forgotten about prunes, but this makes me want to buy some and try this recipe.

  3. I was told to eat 3-5 prunes a day and all problems will be solved. I doubted it. Wonderful way to eat prunes. I love cranberries and enjoy cooking them fresh. Wonderful addition to my recipe memory bank. Yes, eating prunes solved some problems. All of them was too much to hope for…right?

    1. I’m slightly jealous that you’re in the middle of spring (with summer on the horizon); while we’re in the middle of Fall (with winter on the horizon). 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing recipes from a century ago! I love looking at them – they are like a peek into the past! 😀

    1. sigh. . . I wish they sold cranberries at the farmers’ market here. I used cranberries from the produce section at the supermarket. I bought one bag of cranberries–it contained about 3 cups of berries.

  5. Delicious! Would soaking them have given more liquid to the recipe? Or only to remove the pits? I’ve noticed that so many recipes call for raisins that I’ve gone out and bought a huge box of them. Use them in everything it seems! Prunes, not so much. 🙂

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