Fresh cranberries are only available for a short time each year, and each Fall I look forward their arrival on the produce aisle. I was pleased to see them this week. I then looked through my hundred-year-old cookbooks and found a simple but very tasty recipe for Cranberry Applesauce. The recipe turned out well. The Cranberry Applesauce wasn’t as tart as Cranberry Sauce, but it wasn’t as sweet as Applesauce. In other words, it was just right.
Here’s the original recipe:
Even though the old recipe spelled “applesauce” as two words, I think that it is usually spelled as one word today, so that’s the way I spelled it. Apparently, it was at least sometimes spelled as two words a hundred years ago.
1 1/2 cups apples, sliced (peel and core before slicing) (use Gala, Honeycrisp, or other apple that makes a good sauce)
1 1/2 cups cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Put all ingredients in a large saucepan, then using medium heat bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking until the apples are soft are tender and the cranberries have burst. Periodically stir. Remove from heat. May be served hot or cold.
Remember the old-fashioned gelatin salads with embedded mystery fruits and vegetables that great-aunts inevitably brought to Thanksgiving dinners? Well, I’ve found one of those old recipes. The hundred-year-old Cranberry Salad recipe called for gelatin — and celery and walnuts.
When I made this salad I didn’t want to like it, but I was pleasantly surprised. It tasted similar to jellied cranberry sauce. The colorful, tart jellied sauce was perfectly punctuated with the crunch of the celery and walnuts.
The original recipe was for Cranberry Salad, but when I updated the recipe I renamed it, Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Celery and Walnuts, to more accurately describe the dish. Here’s the original recipe:
I bought a 12-ounce bag of cranberries to make this recipe. When I measured how many cranberries were in the bag, I realized that I only had 3 cups of cranberries, not the 4 cups (1 quart) called for in the old recipe. I reduced all of the other ingredients proportionately and made three-fourths of the original recipe.
When serving the Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Celery and Walnuts, I didn’t cut it into squares, and I skipped the lettuce and mayonnaise. I just put it in a pretty dish and let people serve themselves. Here’s my updated recipe:
Put cranberries and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then press the cooked cranberries through a sieve or strainer. (I used a Foley mill. A food processor could also be used to puree the berries). Return the cranberry sauce to the sauce pan and sprinkle the gelatin over the puree. Let sit for one minute, then add the sugar and stir. Put on the stove and bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring constantly, then reduce heat and cook for an additional minute. Remove from the heat.
Put half of the cranberry sauce into a serving dish or bowl; refrigerate until just set (about 1 1/2 hours). (Keep the remainder of the cranberry sauce at room temperature.) Remove the set cranberry sauce from the refrigerator and sprinkle with the chopped celery and walnuts. Pour the remaining half of the cranberry sauce over this , and return to the refrigerator until set.
When browsing through a hundred-year-old National Food Magazine, I was amazed to see a recipe for Yuletide Punch that looked like a cranberry slush recipe to me.
Of course, I had to try it. The slush contained freshly made cranberry juice (not the over-filtered store-bought stuff) and orange juice as well as a little maraschino cherry juice. The icy, dusky pink slush was refreshing and had just the right amount of tartness.
This recipe is a keeper. The slush was easy to make, beautiful, and tasted awesome. I’ll definitely make it again.
Combine the cranberries, sugar, and water in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and are soft. Remove from heat. Use a strainer to separate the juice from the berries.* Squeeze the oranges, and strain the orange juice. Combine cranberry juice, orange juice, and maraschino cherry liquid. Put the juice mixture in a freezer container and freeze.
To serve: Remove container from freezer 1/2 – 1 hr. prior to serving and allow the mixture to soften for easy serving. Spoon the slush into glasses, and serve immediately.
*Note: The cooked cranberries are not used in this recipe, but can be cooled and served separately.
Adapted from recipe in National Food Magazine (December, 1914)
Here is the original recipe.
Something doesn’t seem quite right with the old photo. The slush in the picture looks white. My slush was a dark pink.
18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Tuesday, November 25, 1913:Nothing to write.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to share a great hundred year old recipe for Cranberry Conserve.
1 quart cranberries
1/3 cup water
Juice and pulp of 2 oranges
Grated rind of half an orange
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup chopped raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Wash the cranberries and put into a medium saucepan. Add the water, oranges, sugar and raisins. Cook until the cranberries burst and are soft. Remove from heat, and stir in nut meats. Put into a bowl and chill.
Adapted from recipe in Ladies Home Journal (November, 1913)
This dish is excellent. The orange and raisins nicely balance the tartness of the cranberries, and the nuts add a nice texture. This recipe is a keeper and I plan to make it for Thanksgiving.
17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, November 25, 1912: Today, don’t remember.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Sounds like a slow day for Grandma. Since she didn’t write much I’ll share a hundred-old-recipe for Mock Cherry Pie that I made for Thanksgiving.
The pie is made with cranberries and raisins. It’s enticingly tart–yet sweet–and a nice addition to my repertoire of Thanksgiving pies; but it tastes (surprise, surprise) more like a cranberry raisin pie than a cherry pie.
Mock Cherry Pie
Pick over and wash three cupfuls of cranberries, and cook in half a cupful of water until broken. Add one cupful of sugar and one cupful of raisins. Bake between crusts in 9-inch pan.
Adapted from recipe in Good Housekeeping (November, 1912)