Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving countdown VI: Do-aheads

When I was growing up, we always had canned jellied cranberry sauce. What wonderful stuff it was! My mom served it on a long silver platter, and slicing it so fanned out just so was one of my favorite Thanksgiving tasks. I've grown into more of a whole berry sauce girl though, but cranberries remain one of my favorite seasonal foods.

This time of year, when fresh cranberries are abundant, I cook up a few batches and can them, not only for Thanksgiving but for all the roast chicken dinners we eat through the winter.

But if you make yours now for Thanksgiving dinner, you're in luck. There's no need to mess with canning in a hot water bath. The sauce will easily last a few days til the big meal and through the leftovers.

I cooked three bags of cranberries, giving us enough for our meal and for making a small jar for the MIL to take home with her leftovers.

I also cut up my stuffing bread so it can dry to a nice crunchy texture. Growing up, we used spongy white Weber bread because that's what bread was in our household (my parents have since evolved to whole grain). I use a locally made ciabatta. Two large loaves should yield enough stuffing for my thirteen guests.

1 12-ounce bag of cranberries, rinsed and picked through
3/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook until slightly thickened and about half of the berries have burst. Ladle into clean dry jars and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

This recipe multiplies easily. If you make a large batch, can what you do not intend to use right away in a hot water bath. Process hot preserves in a hot water bath for fifteen minutes.
Next: I'm working my way to . . . Thanksgiving MELTDOWN! Tune in to see what I have not done in preparation for my big dinner. And why it's going to be ok (at least that's what I keep telling myself).

1 comment:

Purple Flowers said...

You are so funny; thanks for bringing a smile to my face. Do you listen to music during your pre T-day meltdown? Maybe that would help?