Monday, October 09, 2006

Today is Thanksgiving Day and a big dinner has been prepared. All I have left to do is make gravy and mash the potatoes when the turkey is done. Everyone has at least one dish they claim as a favourite… turnip and apple casserole, cornbread stuffing, (as well as regular bread stuffing), pumpkin pie, apple pie, creamed peas, cranberry sauce…
The cranberry sauce is my favourite, and to me, turkey cannot be eaten without it. The rest of the family begs to differ, so I get it all to myself.
When we were on Manitoulin Island last month, we met a lady who was picking high bush cranberry fruit which she makes into jelly each year. The bushes grew wild along the roadside (see photo) as did many apple and pear trees from the neglected orchards of deserted farms. In a reference book I read that the berries from the high bush cranberry can be toxic, especially when raw, so I decided not to pick any for myself. The bush has beautiful leaves that turn a brilliant red in the fall.
I have never seen a “real" cranberry farm in Ontario, even though we did pass an Indian reservation on Georgian Bay that advertised a cranberry crop. However, they are plentiful in our stores right now and there are several recipes we all enjoy. This recipe is delicious and not too sweet. My modifications are in parentheses.

Cranberry Date Squares

Combine 1- 12 oz package of cranberries, 1- 8 oz package of dried dates, with 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the cranberries have popped and the dates are softened. Mix well. (I usually add a little more water and then I don’t have to worry about scorching the pan.)

In a bowl, mix together

2 cups flour (I use ½ a cup less as the crumbs can be too crumbly)
2 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups brown sugar (I use ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup of Splenda)
½ teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of melted butter

Put ½ of the crumb mixture in a 9x13 pan, pat it down, and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cover the base with the filling and spread the rest of the crumbs on the top. Bake for 30 minutes at the same temperature. It is best to cut the squares when they are still slightly warm. This freezes very well. (They even taste good when frozen!)


  1. I am still waiting for cranberries to come in season here - Michael said the other day he doesn't know if he has ever seen fresh one locally but I am hoping they will turn up in stores sometime soon - I want to make cranberry sauce - though now I want to make those date squares too. Come on cranberries!

  2. Nothing beats fresh cranberries!

    My favorite veggie this time of year is turnips - love them mashed with potatoes. Can't imagine them in a casserole with apples - can you share details?

  3. Jaspenelle, I can't imagine why there are no cranberries in Spokane! Perhaps they will arrive for the American thanksgiving.

    Laura, turnip is a love or hate vegetable. I roast them with potatoes and onions, but have never mixed them with mashed potatoes. The casserole consists of a layer of cooked, mashed turnip, then a layer of thin apple slices (1 or 2 apples), finishing with a turnip layer. It is topped with a sweet mixture of 1/2 c flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 tbsp butter. Baked at 350F for 1 hour. Rich and yummy for a special occasion.


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