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There can never be too many cranberries

By Staff | Nov 20, 2009

As Thanksgiving time is drawing near, I am thankful for so many blessings. It is difficult to pick out just a few and share in words just how very much they mean. The cherished value of family, the goodness of neighbors, the freedoms of our country, the sunshine upon our homes, the volunteer fire department, the bounty of our harvest, the quality of life in North Dakota, music in the park, finger-painted trees, the voices of children on the street, the importance of the elderly, the chimes of Little Flower and First Lutheran church bells, the vivid orange baskets of the mountain ash tree, paper towels, and cranberries. I am so thankful for all of these.

Are you invited out for Thanksgiving Day dinner and don’t know what to bring? Are you in need of a bit of respite because the details of hosting the family clan have you worn to a frazzle? It is for this very reason that we will all be very thankful for cranberries this season!

First of all, there can never be too many cranberriesever! They are delightful in many dishes and their attractive color often gives them duty as a garnish or decoration. Recently I glanced at the book entitled “1,000 Places to see Before you Die” by Patricia Schultz. I was let down when I did not see the suggestion to visit a cranberry bog during harvest!

It is probably not as exciting as sailing out of the New York Harbor as you embark on your Trans-Atlantic crossing – which is one of the 1,000 listed in the book. Be assured as you navigate towards a vivid cranberry harvest you will establish a crimson memory that shall drift with you for all time. Facets of this harvest are parallel to hearing the whispering of the pines. Surprisingly when we allow ourselves to be still, listen to nature, and catch the spin of harvest, the clasp of nature’s lavishness is forever in our soul. Reflections of garnet berries flowing on a Massachusetts bog is a beloved depiction in my memory bank.

Several years ago I had the privilege of visiting Galena, Illinois while attending a photography conference. Resting near the banks of the Galena River is this wonderful hamlet. Rich terracotta buildings come to view as you enter main street. Behind the striped awnings are art galleries, antique shops and boutiques. It was the Galena Cellars shop that caught my attention. Once inside I was surrounded by a variety of locally made wines. Presented to me was a sample of their cranberry wine – rich not only in color, but in taste as well. Being a cranberry devotee, I soon learned this flavorful wine was made from Wisconsin cranberries and that tours were available to the vineyard just miles away.

This interesting tour informed me that the Lawlor Family has had a passion for wine making since 1970. Their ardor has turned into a thriving family business producing more than 60,000 gallons of wine a year in 40 varieties. As you may know, an opportunity like this got me to thinking about all the desserts into which I could incorporate this wine. Upon returning home, I began using this cranberry wine in many dishes. It is, however, the blending of it into homemade cranberry sauce that is most pleasing.

Remember when I mentioned earlier that you may need a bit of respite because of all your upcoming hosting duties? If this is the case, a small glass of this wine is wonderful! If you are hosting lots of relatives, think of all the potatoes you will need to peel, and everyone will be expecting smooth gravy. Plus, when Aunt Edna looks under the bed for dust, she will know that you and the household dust cloth have not been dating. Go ahead, you will need a large glass! This will do wonders for your attitude before all the guests start piling in! You realize striving for perfection in every aspect of the household is overrated. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. You are a resourceful cook!

I share with you two cranberry sauce recipes that are easy to make at the last minute and guests will enjoy. Both of these cranberry sauce recipes are excellent over vanilla ice cream which you may serve to your guests. If you happen to get bummed because two of your very best china cups were broken during the Thanksgiving meal, I would suggest having a large dish of vanilla ice cream with cranberry sauce. It is for this very reason we always want to have plenty of cranberry sauce made – in fact, maybe a couple of varieties. If you wish to order Galena Cellars Cranberry wine, you may contact them at the following telephone number 800-397-9463 or at their attractive website www.galenacellars.net. This wine can be served with club soda for an excellent spritzer, or you may select to blend it with ginger ale – both are refreshing!

Repnow is a Rugby resident.

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