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Thankful for Cranberries!

November 20, 2022

Thankful for Cranberries!

(with a Cranberry Book Recommendation)

Week 3.  November—A Month of Gratitude

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

                I am thankful for a cornucopia of cranberry treats.  When I moved to Wisconsin in 1991, I did not realize that I was moving to the state  that produces the most cranberries.  Additionally, Wisconsin produces more than half of the world’s supply of cranberries.  In this pre-Thanksgiving blog post, I am ready to toast the cranberry with, of course, a glass of cranberry wine—a festive wine for the holiday season. 

                Even when I was very young, I enjoyed cranberries.  For my extended family Thanksgiving gatherings of the 1950s and 1960s, one of the dishes which my mother faithfully made was the homemade cranberry sauce—fragrant, pretty, and delicious as a side for the turkey.  In later decades, my mother and I also made an easy, do-ahead-of-time recipe for cranberry relish which my sister plans to make again this year as part of the trimmings for her family’s Thanksgiving feast. 

                Through the years, at numerous parties, one of my favorite punches has been –you guessed it—cranberry punch.  Over the centuries, the use and production of cranberries has significantly evolved:  for example, in 1963, Ocean Spray [trademark] first marketed Cranapple Juice.  Yes, I like the variety of cranberry juices—juice blends–which became available in recent years.  In my November 6, 2013 WORDWALK blog post, I shared one of my very favorite recipes–“Cranberry Calico Cake,” which is really a sweet bread that may be served with or without the “Cranberry Calico Frosting.” 

                Although homemade is the best choice, I must admit that I also greatly enjoy the canned jellied cranberry sauce and the whole-berry cranberry sauce.  (Ocean Spray first manufactured cans of cranberry sauce in 1912.)  In addition to eating the canned cranberry sauces plain, I will also combine the canned sauce with fresh apples, fresh oranges, applesauce, and/or celery.  Further, I too much enjoy the chocolate-covered Craisins, which happily came onto store shelves in 1993; however, my sister and I first found these delectable treats as a local variety at a store near Toma, Wisconsin, on the way home from a trip to Minnesota.  Ever since, Craisins have been a favorite snack of mine.

                Foods and beverages aside, would you believe that one of my favorite bar soaps is cranberry-scented?  When selecting a fragrance of foaming, hand soap, my first choice is always cranberry.

                Tomorrow morning, the wind chill is to be around zero—great weather for a mug of cranberry herbal tea!  I think I will be dreaming of a cranberry muffin or cranberry scone to accompany the hot tea.  However, for me, cranberries are not a seasonal item:  I enjoy all things cranberry throughout the four seasons of the Midwest.

                Can you believe that I even have a cranberry book recommendation for you?  If you want to tempt your taste buds and fill your appetite for some very interesting history surrounding the cranberry, I do highly recommend the 142-page book MASSACHUSETTS CRANBERRY CULTURE:  A HISTORY FROM BOG TO TABLE, by Robert S. Cox and Jacob Walker, copyright 2012.  (For patrons of the BARD program of the National Library Service, the audio book, recorded at the Perkins Library, is DBM 1401, with a reading time of five hours and twenty minutes.)You will learn that the popularity of the cranberry came to fruition in the 1840s.  Despite the title, the book contains numerous references to the growth of cranberry production in Wisconsin.  For example, cranberries from Green Bay, Wisconsin, were first sent to New York in 1834.  A piece of trivia for you—Henry David Thoreau preferred the water harvesting of the “floating fruit.”  Besides the detailed descriptions of how the cranberry grows and is harvested, the history and culture stemming from the cranberry bogs will keep you turning the pages of this book.

                I hope you have enjoyed this cranberry bog—I mean “blog.”  Additionally, I hope you have some cranberry sauce or cranberry relish on your Thanksgiving plate.

Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving week!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

November 19, 2022, Saturday


From → Uncategorized

  1. I enjoyed your post today on the history of cranberries in Wisconsin. Cranberry Juice is nearly always in my refrigerator. I make a cranberry punch each Christmas Day for my guests to enjoy. When I was the executive director of the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, we served cranberry punch at every public event. It was always on the food table in a beautiful crystal punch bowl, year round for opening receptions at our exhibitions. I love cranberry salad served on a nice leaf of delicious lettuce. This red and green treat was always made by my grandmother in the fall and winter seasons. Ours had lots of ground black walnuts from the black walnut tree in our back yard. Thanks for the walk down the cranberry memory lane, Alice.

    • Thanksgiving Greetings!  Lynda–Special thanks to you for sharing your
      cranberry recollections:  I greatly appreciate your adding this
      contribution to this blog post.

          As soon as I posted this piece about cranberries, I realized I had
      forgotten to include one part which I had intended to include.  In 1979,
      my parents and I took a tour of the New England states, one of the stops
      was at Mystic, Connecticut, where we visited the Ocean Spray factory’s
      gift shop.  Besides selling cranberry-related gifts, the shop also sold
      delicious ice cream. I chose cranberry ripple ice cream and loved it. 
      Somewhere, I had cranberry sherbet–another delightful treat.

      Blessings to you and your family on this Thanksgiving!

      Alice and Willow

  2. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice, Thank you for the interesting information about cranberries. Not only do I enjoy eating the delicious cranberry treats, but I also enjoy having two lovely cranberry glass vases purchased at the Ocean Spray gift shop on our trip to the east coast in 1981. Wishing you and Willow a very Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Mary

    Sent from my iPad


    • Thanksgiving Greetings!  Mary–Thanks very much for your comment that
      reminded me that I should have included in my cranberry piece the two
      cranberry glass vases which I have and enjoy in my home: the smaller one
      is a gift from you to me and the larger one is the gift which you had
      given to Mother and Dad after your New England trip.  Although I use
      these pieces year round, they are especially festive during the holiday

      Enjoy your Thanksgiving with your Colorado family!

      Alice and Willow

  3. Susan McKendry permalink

    Alice, thanks so much for this interesting post. I definitely will read the book you mentioned. There was actually a processing plant in Hartford (now the Schauer Center) and a man who grew up down the road from us worked for either Libby’s or Ocean Spray. He worked out east and returned to this area upon his retirement.

    I hope you and Willow have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. We can all be grateful for the change in weather. A white Christmas may be nice, but a green Thanksgiving is even nicer!

  4. Good morning Alice, I wanted to comment and say, thus far this is one of my favorites for the season.
    I’d like to use this link in my Favorite Links column in the Writer’s Grapevine Holiday Extravaganza Magazine Dec – Jan Edition.
    I’d also like to speak with you about some possible guest articles.
    Thanks so much for this beautiful post.

    • Thanksgiving Greetings!  Patty–Many thanks to you for the especially
      nice comment.  Yes, you may use this cranberry piece for your upcoming
      WRITERS’ GRAPEVINE Holiday Extravaganza.  I will be in touch with you
      soon after Thanksgiving concerning your other offer.

      With a cornucopia of thanks and best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving,

      Alice and Leader Dog Willow

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Thankful for Cranberries! #WordpressWednesday #Reblogs #Inspiration – My Corner
  2. Thankful for Cranberries! by Abbie Johnson Taylor #WordPressWednesday #Reblogs #Inspiration – Patty's Worlds

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