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Berry, Berry Ready

Cranberry sauce. You can’t call yourself American and not have it somewhere on your Thanksgiving table.

What is that stuff?

I think most people know what cranberries are and how they taste. Even here in the wilds of the Philippine jungle (haha!) cranberry juice is available. European versions are on the store shelves next to American and even South African versions.

But the sauce, well, that’s different.

Wobble Or Not?

Republican or Democrat? Coke or Pepsi? Jellied or Whole? In the US, like our politics and colas, there are two camps for cranberry sauce.

We were Wobblers at my house when I was growing up and I guess I never thought to change. We ate the jellied cranberry sauce.

Wobble

Jellied cranberry sauce freaks some people out because it comes out of the can looking like the inside of the can (click on the animated GIF here to see).

Many jokes have been made about how weird it looks and how it wobbles but, really, it’s a very simple product. It’s just pureed cranberries, water and some kind of sugar (high-fructose corn syrup in the US, usually). The mixture is pasteurized and put into cans while it’s hot. It cools down and takes the shape of the can. That’s all! Nothing spooky!

My mother always served it on its side in a dish the way it came from the can. There was a knife in the dish to slice the cylinder of sauce with. I love cranberry sauce so I always cut myself a thick slice.

Other people serve it with a spoon so their guests can get spoonful of sauce. Still other people smash the sauce cylinder up so it doesn’t look like the can and serve it that way with a spoon.

No Wobble

Whole-berry cranberry sauce is the same pureed product but with added – you guessed it – whole cranberries.

With the whole berries in the mix, the product doesn’t hold together out of the can like the jellied kind and “floops” into the serving dish in a pile.

It’s served in a dish with a spoon because there’s no way to slice or dice this lumpy, yummy stuff.

What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between whole berry and jellied cranberry sauce? Nothing!

Well, texture. They do differ in texture.

Plus, there’s a feeling that you get more from a can of jellied cranberry sauce because there is almost no liquid in it. The whole berry kind, because it doesn’t hold together, has more liquid which may or may not make it into your already full tummy.

While the liquid/solid argument continues, one thing is for sure: the jellied kind is much easier to put on those after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches!

Whether you slice it or spread it like grape jam on a PB&J, the jellied kind works best on sliced turkey sandwiches.

Triple Threat Berry

As you can see from the header photo, I am in cranberry sauce heaven!

We visited one of my favorite shops today: The Swiss Deli in Matina, Davao with one mission: get cranberry-something.

Last year at Thanksgiving, we found a jar of yummy German sauce that looked (because neither of us can read German) like cranberry sauce. It also tasted like cranberry sauce.

However, now I know that the Wildpreiselbeeren you see on the label on the jar in the middle of the header photo actually means: Lingonberry!

Lingonberries taste a lot like cranberries but they grow a little differently and are available wild across the Swiss/German/European areas.

I am full-up this Thanksgiving on cranberry sauces and cranberry-taste-alike sauces!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends! And to those of you who don’t celebrate the holiday: take a momnt to count your blessings. I’m thankful for you, too!

Lingonberry photo credit: Leo-setä Flickr via Compfight cc

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