Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Cranberry Salad

Holiday Cranberry Salad

Dorcas Annette Walker

What end-of-the-year holiday isn’t complete without a cranberry salad? The bright red berries symbolize the holiday season brightening up our table while outside the world is bleak and bare. Cranberries can be used as an icy centerpiece by freezing them with evergreen sprigs and nuts in a bunt pan then placing a large candle in the middle or floating on water in a crystal dish with mini candles.

Cranberries are hard-shell berries that grow on vines only in certain conditions. They require an acid peat soil, fresh water supply, sand, and a growing season from April until November. Most cranberry bogs are in the northern hemisphere with Massachusetts being the largest producer of the entire cranberry industry. Some vines in Massachusetts are over one-hundred-and-fifty- years old. Cranberries were first used by the Native Americans for food, dye to color rugs and blankets, making pemmican with dried deer meat and melted fat, and to heal arrow wounds. Early pioneers decorated their Christmas trees with garlands of cranberries and popcorn to brighten their harsh wilderness surroundings. In 1683 the first cranberry juice was made by settlers and today is a popular health drink. Whalers and mariners carried cranberries along on voyages to prevent scurvy.

When I thumbed through my recipes I found four different cranberry salad recipes that I have used throughout the years. This Holiday Cranberry Salad is a quicker version of the traditional cranberry salad passed down in our family and is easy to make. My Holiday Cranberry Salad is a tangy fruity salad with a hint of nuts that can be served as individual molds or in a fancy dish and can be made up the day before. This festive Holiday Cranberry Salad is guaranteed to brighten any holiday meal. My Holiday Cranberry Salad takes only ten minutes to prepare- not counting the refrigeration time- and serves ten.

Holiday Cranberry Salad

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
1 (16 oz) can of whole cranberry sauce
2 (3 oz) pkg raspberry jello
1 large peeled and diced apple (your choice)
1 c chopped nuts of your choice
2 c mini marshmallows (optional)
Drain pineapple juice and add enough water to make three cups. Bring to a boil and add jello. Pour into a medium sized bowl and stir in the cranberry sauce until dissolved. Refrigerate for one-and-one-half hours until slightly thickened. Fold in the pineapple, apple, nuts, and marshmallows. Place in individual molds or a large crystal bowl and refrigerate for four hours before serving.

Weekly tip: To make a festive side dish add canned whole cranberries to a jar of applesauce and garnish with mint!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Mountain Cookin page at:

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