Austin had the chance to help friends with their cranberry harvest this fall. It was interesting listening to him describe the process of flooding the bogs and how the buoys helped to corral the crop. Cranberries are one of Mark’s favorite, and I try to have some on hand. So, this is the time of year when I stock up on cranberries for my freezer. Thankfully they freeze well and can be used all year. I throw some in my apple pies as a colorful surprise. I use them in banana bread to mix things up. Of course, I have to make fresh cranberry sauce. Mark uses it like jam on his pancakes and biscuits. He also has a big side of cranberry sauce to eat with his roast beef. So here are some of our favorite cranberry recipes along with tips to make moist, tender shredded beef. Enjoy!

Cranberry sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup liquid (water or orange juice or combination)
12 ounces cranberries
    Over medium heat, combine sugar and liquid until dissolved. Add berries. Stir occasionally until berries start to pop, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour into bowl. Cranberries sauce will thicken as it cools.

Cranberry pie
2 cups cranberries, halved
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pie pastry
    Place cranberries and nuts in pie shell. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over berries and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Pie should look set. Cool. Refrigerate.

Cranberry orange scones
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup very cold butter
1 large egg, cold
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
Egg wash
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons sparkling sugar
Orange glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, shifted
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Dash salt
    Combine dry ingredients. Chunk or grate very cold butter with cheese grater. Work butter into dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together cream, egg and extract. Pour into dry ingredients. Add cranberries. Mix until shaggy dough. Pour out on floured surface. Work into a disc shape. Cut into eight triangles (like a pizza) and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool five minutes then drizzle with glaze after it has been whisked together.

Shredded beef
1 1/2 cups beer (full bodied or ale)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large onion, sliced into ½ inch thick rounds
3-pound beef roast
    Combine beer, vinegar, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cloves and cinnamon in Dutch oven. Arrange onion rounds in a single layer on bottom of pot. Place beef on top of onions. Cover and cook until meat is well browned and tender. Now here is where the patience kicks in. I covered my Dutch oven with tin foil and then put the lid on top. I placed it in my oven at 250 degrees and let it cook over night. The meat needs to reach 210 degrees internally for an hour in order for the connective tissues and meat to break down. I also used my slow cooker for another roast and let it cook on low and slow for 10 hours. Once the meat is done, remove it from the pot and place on a platter. Tent the meat with tin foil to keep it moist and warm while you work with the juices. Discard the onions and bay leaves but save the juices. Let the juices cool so you can skim off the fat. You can put the meat back in some of the juices for moisture. Any leftover juices I put in an ice cream pail to save for soup. I keep adding leftover vegetables and meat to the bucket. Once it is full, I have a pot full of soup ready to cook.
    Natalie, Mark and his brother Al, farm together near Rice, Minnesota. They milked 100 registered Holsteins under the RALMA prefix. Their four children are grown up and all involved in agriculture with hopes of someone returning to the farm. For questions or comments, please e-mail Natalie at mnschmitt@jetup.net.