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Nov 18, 2008 11:49 AM

Why do We Even Use Cranberry Sauce at Thanksgiving?

Where did this tradition stem from?

Also, why do we continue to use it today?

If we do this, why not fruit preserves? Does anyone use another type of fruit condiment instead?

On a side note, I can take it or leave it. I'm not sure that it really adds to the meal (especially the canned stuff), though I feel other fruit preserves and jellies could be better with the traditional turkey and mashed potato Thanksgiving dinner.

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  1. My guess is that its native:

    Would you try a cranberry chutney? I make this in addition to the regular sauce which is really easy to make fresh, no cans.

    This chutney looks pretty good:

    1. Because cranberries are native to Massachusetts I guess, and the Pilgrims were in Mass.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JaneRI

        Not to mention the fact that cranberry sauce with turkey really tastes good...

        1. re: bnemes3343

          Also, it's a berry that has its season far later in the year. Perfect timing for pairing fresh with game, hard squashes, Brussels sprouts and the like. Ideal seasonality. Cay

      2. When I was younger, toward the end of the summer my mom and my grandmother would make plum jam and apple sauce from the fruit off of the trees in my grandparents' backyard. Both of these made frequent appearances on the Thanksgiving table a few months later. I particularly like how the plum jam does with a lot of the other dishes we serve (sweet potatoes with bourbon and butter, dressing, etc).

        1. Spicy/tart fruit relishes have been an English thing forever, and I'm sure the new New Englanders were delighted to find this new berry that fit so well into their traditional cuisine. Of course the natives made much use of it, pounding it with jerked meat to make a durable, nourishing food that would keep and travel well. How much of this found its way into any early feasts is just speculation, but it is reasonable to expect that some did.

          1. For the same reason we serve turkey. American history. Tradition. Goes back to the 17th century..And be thankful you don't have to wade into a bog and pick cranberries by hand, and find a wild turkey, dispatch it and defeather it. I have wild turkeys on my property, actually, but I'd rather buy the bird at the market.