How did the cranberry become such an important part of American holiday traditions? In North America, Native Americans were the first to use cranberries as food. Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, wound medicine and dye. Cranberries were an important ingredient in pemmican, the pounded dried meat and fat food that would keep forever. Calling the red berries Sassamanash, natives most likely introduced cranberries to starving English settlers in Massachusetts who then incorporated the berries into traditional Thanksgiving feasts. However, the first Thanksgiving feast most likely included only cranberries, not cranberry sauce. Although the berries were plentiful, the sugar required to make cranberry sauce was not.
With plentiful complimentary ingredients available, try a different cranberry recipe this holiday season: Cranberry Tea Bread.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup cranberries, chopped medium
- 2 tablespoon orange juice
- 2 cup sifted powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease the bottom only of an 8x4-inch or 9x5-inch loaf pan or use a non-stick loaf pan. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, combine milk, orange juice, melted butter, zest and eggs. Stir to combine well. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Gently stir in cranberries and mix just until they are evenly distributed. Pour batter (it will be thick) into pan and bake until a knife comes clean from the center, 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size of pan. Loosen sides from pan, remove and let cool completely.
When cool, prepare glaze, if using. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the orange juice with powdered sugar, adding a little more juice if necessary to obtain a smooth consistency. Drizzle over top of loaf.