In memory, Thanksgiving dinners with my family would not be complete without the cranberry sauce that came in a can. My mother would open both ends of the can, push the contents out, and it would dramatically slide onto the plate already molded. I’m still nostalgic for those thickly sliced disks with the faint ridges from the can still visible on the sides, however, imagine my delight when I discovered cranberries did not have to come from a can and could be used in more ways than just sauce.
I look forward to when cranberries come back in season if only to make Cranberry Nut Bread. It’s perfect to have on hand for the holidays — it makes a festive teacake for an afternoon snack or to start off breakfast when the house is full of guests. And I make sure to buy enough cranberries to freeze so that I can continue to make this quick bread all winter.
Cranberry Nut Bread
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 oz.) cold butter, plus some for greasing the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup orange juice (about 3 oranges)
1 tablespoon minced or grated orange zest
1 large egg
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen), washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch bread pan.
- Stir together the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients, until there are no pieces bigger than a small pea.
- Beat together the orange juice, zest, and egg. Pour into the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to moisten; do not beat, and do not mix until the batter is smooth.
- Fold the cranberries and the nuts, then pour and spoon the batter into the loaf pan. Bake about an hour, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into its center comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
Notes: Adapted from “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman. For some mysterious reason, this recipe did not make it into the second edition and is the only reason why I still keep both copies. I usually substitute whole wheat or white whole wheat in place of half of the white flour, and I toast the nuts lightly before adding to the batter. I’ve used pre-made orange juice when that’s all I had but, using fresh oranges and their zest makes all the difference. The oranges may not be local but I consider them a winter-time treat.
Seacoast Eat Local will be selling cranberries at the Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday at the Wentworth Greenhouses. These fresh cranberries are from Sugar Hill Farm in Maine. We sell products from northern New England not otherwise available at the farmers’ market to help support the organization of the market. We anticipate having cranberries for sale again at our Holiday Winter Farmers’ Market on December 18 — another chance to stock up and help support the markets!