Monday, December 22, 2014

Honey Mayes is Cookin' Cranberry Salad

Honey Mayes is my mother-in-law, and she has been cooking for over 70 years.  She grew up on a farm in western Oklahoma, wearing dresses made from feed sacks (it takes three 100-pound feed sacks to make a dress), picking potato bugs off the plants and dropping them in kerosene, milking cows and gathering eggs in the mornings, killing chickens for dinner, and using an outhouse to do her business.  She knows what it really means to be a pioneer woman.

Honey has been making cranberry salad for over 50 years, since before there were food processors, and she used to chop all the ingredients with a hand-cranked grinder .  Her cranberry salad is a traditional holiday favorite.  Pecans, apples, and celery give this salad a satisfying crunchy texture; sugar and Jell-o provide the sweetness to balance the tartness of the cranberries.  Eat it as a side dish with turkey or ham, use it as a condiment on a cold turkey sandwich, spread it on toast, or eat it alone as a dessert.

Honey can’t imagine anyone eating canned, jellied cranberry sauce when they can have this good stuff.

4 stalks celery, cut into about 3" lengths
4 Fuji apples, quartered, cored, seeded.  DO NOT PEEL
2 12 oz. bags Ocean Spray fresh cranberries
2 3-oz. boxes Jell-o, black cherry flavor
4 C sugar
2 C pecans, chopped coarsely


Process (in batches) the apples, celery, and cranberries in food processor, until minced.  
Place processed ingredients in very large bowl.

Add sugar, and stir well.

Cover and place mixture in refrigerator for 24-48 hours to allow sugar to be absorbed.

Dissolve Jell-O in 2 C hot water.  Add Jell-O to refrigerated salad mixture.  Stir well.

Add pecans.  The pecans are NOT ground, nor are they processed in the food processor.  They are chopped coarsely.  Honey says if you are going to grind up your pecans, don’t even bother making this recipe or she will haunt your kitchen.

Let the mixture set 2 hours.  The mixture stays “loose” and spoonable.  It will not become firm or gelled like a bowl of plain Jell-O.  

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