A simple and yummy addition to bring authenticity and color to your Thanksgiving feast is Candied Orange Peels with Cranberries. Our Founding Mothers depended on citrus to protect their families against disease and their ingenuity at preserving food, combined with the skill of the Native Americans in cultivation ensured survival in the birth of our great Nation.
Sugar was used as a preservative in early times, as well as vinegar for pickling. When I researched my historical romance novel, I was fortunate to spend a full day at the Alice Ross Studio in Smithtown, Long Island. Alice taught me 17th century cooking over a hearth and we spent the day preparing a full meal, just as Mary Horton, my great-grandmother twelve generations removed, might have done in 1636.
CANDIED ORANGE PEELS WITH CRANBERRIES: Score the peel of 8 oranges into quarters and remove the strips. Cut each section into 1/4″ strips. Place in copper or iron pot. Add cranberries and pour just enough water to barely cover. Stir in 2 cups of sugar and hang from a long trammel (hook) over a low fire. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until the rinds become translucent and water is cooked down. Remove from pot and spread thin in additional sugar, separating and coating each to prevent sticking. Allow to dry. Put in crock. The candied orange rinds and cranberries will last all winter stored in a cool pit.
Today’s cook can prepare this over the stove with one additional step. After you score and peel the orange in fourths, place the peels in a saucepan with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes to remove bitter oils. Drain. Note that Mary would never have done this step: water had to be hauled from a stream and was used sparingly. After the pre-boil, cut the fourths into skinny strips, 1/4″ wide. In a small saucepan bring 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water to boil. Add the strips of rind and cranberries and stir occasionally until translucent. Remove, coat with sugar and allow to dry. Store in covered container or closed plastic bag. This will last all winter in your fridge ~ enjoy!
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely, how blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys range free. Isaiah 32:18-20. Taken from NIV © 1986. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com