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Cranberries: the little berry for every season

November 17, 2020

Readers of this blog know I love cranberries. It’s a berry for every season, and it’s made it into my books on more than one occasion. Bronwyn Darrow, one of the main characters in the Castle Keepers series, shares this love for the berry. In my fantasy series, I call them fenberries.

When Bronwyn travels along a mountain range in the fall with Alaura, Tam and Kellyn, he picks a sack of the tart red berries. Not long afterwards, Kelly, who often made fun of his love for the berry, catches a turkey and cooks it over a fire and calls on him to share the sauce he’s made with the berry.

Here’s the scene.

Scattered Stones

Book 2 in the Castle Keepers Series

The following morning, they came upon the river flowing south. Without a word, they headed north on a faint trail. With rations running low, they hunted as they travelled and enjoyed feasting on the pheasant and partridge they killed.

Late one afternoon, Kellyn spotted a turkey in the bush and leapt from the saddle to give chase. Ten minutes later, she strutted back to the others, beaming and holding up her catch. That night, as Kellyn sliced huge pieces of the roasted bird, she eyed Bronwyn.

“Hey, Mr. Fenberry, don’t be selfish with that spread. This is the only time anyone should eat those tart berries.”

He had been picking fenberries whenever he found a patch and had gathered several sacks. The coolness of the season drove out the green worms and made the red berries pop with flavour. He plopped a generous serving onto everyone’s plate. When he filled his mouth with the sauce, he shook from its tartness. The sensation made him crave more.

As he lay back against his ruck sack and stared into the late evening sky, he tried to think of a better meal with better friends but couldn’t. His objective hadn’t been reached when he entered Tigh na Mare, but he couldn’t complain about the outcome.

Cranberry Sauce

Sauce, jam or spread, which ever you call it, is so simple to make, I wonder why everyone doesn’t make it fresh for their turkey dinners and sandwiches. Here’s the recipe.

Dump two cups of cranberries in a pot with 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer on low for 35 minutes or so. If it’s too tarty for your taste buds, add a wee bit more sugar. I simmer it until most of the berries have popped and the consistency is that of a jam. I don’t like it too smooth. I want to be able to see the berries within the sauce. Bottle this up, let it cool and toss it in the fridge. That’s it. Enjoy.

Another Use for Cranberries

If I want a thin cranberry sauce to drizzle over something, such as ice cream, I add more water than called for to the above recipe. I simmer the berries until they’ve just about popped, but there’s still juice in the pot. Then I drain off some of that juice, leaving behind enough to turn the berries into jam. If the juice is not sweet enough, I add a bit of sugar.

Taking this sweet sauce, I’ve added more water to make a drink for myself. Sometimes I’ve added a few raspberries or a shot of apple juice.

This juice is what Olive made for John in Northern Survival to give him a boost after falling ill. In the novel, she sweetened it with honey. I’ve done that, too.

Here’s the scene that mentions it.

Northern Survival

John rested his hand on his stomach. For the first time in days, he felt satisfied. While he had slept away yesterday, Olive had caught eight trout, four of which they ate for supper and four they saved for breakfast. She’d also found a patch of cranberries and cooked them to make a thick drink she sweetened with honey. He drank this eagerly. She’d made enough to fill his water bottle, and he sipped on that instead of water. The liquid, more like a syrup, excited his taste buds; it was almost as good as coffee.

She had also tended to his feet, washing them, applying ointment and ensuring they were warm and dry while he slept. When he woke this morning, he was shocked to find the nail on his big toe gone. The only benefit was most of the pain went with it. Before he put on clean socks and dry hiking boots, she applied cream and bandages to keep the blisters from chafing. Starting on the trail, he felt almost as good as their first day in the woods. A day’s rest was exactly what he needed to rejuvenate his energy.

99-cent Sale

This week, Northern Survival is on sale for $4.00 off. It’s exclusively at Amazon.

Kindle Unlimited members read it for free.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2020 8:45 am

    I love cranberries too. Nice to include them in your books.

    • November 17, 2020 3:53 pm

      Thanks, Darlene. Given the time of year these berries come into harvest, I do not wonder why they are included in turkey feasts for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

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