Speaking of Cranberries…

… and Grandma’s…

…here is a slice o’ life photo from my childhood of us cousins flanking Gramma Lil. These were the times when there was food to feed a village (including the ubiquitous pastel jello-molds). The dads and uncles would watch 2 football games on 2 TV’s (then all fall asleep after dinner). And the women, of course, would clean up the dishes and get a baked ham ready for sandwiches at 5 o’clock! And us kids would either be playing “secret agent” (these were the days of “I Spy” and “Honey West”!) or else putting on a variety show, complete with an Eveready “spotlight”.
We were kind of a wild bunch. Well, I’ll speak for myself, I haven’t really changed.

Gramma Lil didn’t make this Cranberry Ketchup , but I sure like it, and now I’m the Grandma.
Cranberry Ketchup
1 cup coarsely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon each  orange zest and lemon zest
1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cups water
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon each fresh lemon juice and orange juice
For the spice bag:
1 cinnamon stick
8 allspice berries
4 cloves
1 dried hot chile pepper
1″ piece fresh ginger rootIn a saucepan, saute the onion in butter until quite soft, about 10 minutes, then add the citrus zest. Pour on the vinegar, cranberries, and water, bring to a boil,  and toss in the spice bag. Cook until the cranberries pop. Cool to room temperature and remove the spice bag.
Puree cooled mixture in a food processor or food mill. Return to pot and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 1 hour until thick. You could also put the berries into a small slow-cooker and simmer, uncovered, for a few hours until thickened.
Remove from heat, stir in citrus juices, and chill before serving. This ketchup will keep about 1 week in the refrigerator — as if!
cranberry ketchup, sweet and tart and tangy

Be sure to spend time with people this holiday season. Spend it with people you care about. Spend it with strangers, you might end up caring in spite of yourself. Spend it in love and compassion, letting the golden radiance fill your heart with goodness.

p.s. A fun book to look at and definitely use is VERY CRANBERRY by Jennifer Trainer Thompson (Celestial Arts, 2003). She makes you want to serve cranberries all year, sweet and savory. Good, and good for you!

© Doreen Shababy