Cranberry sauce or cranberry jam is a sauce or relish made out of cranberries, commonly served as a condiment or a side dish with Thanksgiving dinner in North America and Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom and Canada. There are differences in flavor depending on the geography of where the sauce is made: in Europe it is generally slightly sour-tasting, while in North America it is typically more heavily sweetened.
The recipe for cranberry sauce appears in the 1796 edition of The Art of Cookery by Amelia Simmons, the first known cookbook authored by an American.
Although the Pilgrims may have been aware of the wild cranberries growing in the Massachusetts Bay area, it is unlikely that cranberry sauce would have been among the dishes served at the First Thanksgiving meal. Cranberries are not mentioned by any primary sources for the First Thanksgiving meal. The only foods mentioned are “Indian corn”, wild turkey and waterfowl, and venison. The rest remains a matter of speculation among food historians. Although stuffings are not mentioned in primary sources, it was a common way to prepare birds for the table in the 17th century. According to a “Thanksgiving Primer” published by the Plimoth Plantation, cranberries may have been used in the stuffing recipes, but it is unlikely they would have been made into a sauce because sugar was very scarce.
Cranberry sauce was first offered to consumers in North America in 1912 in Hanson, Massachusetts. Canned cranberry sauce appeared on the market in 1941, allowing the product to be sold year-round. Cranberry sauce can be used with a variety of meats, including turkey, pork, chicken, and ham.
Cranberry sauce is often eaten in conjunction with turkey for Christmas in the United Kingdom and Canada or Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada, and it is only rarely eaten or served in other contexts there.
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