USDA database has only jams, pop, sweetened stuff for strawberry, other berries and fruits. Their food value is mostly just sugar calories. Handbook #8 has more info.

"Modern" Wojape--a berry pudding to eat with fry bread. From Stacy Winter, a Crow Creek Lakota woman, who says to dip fry bread into it. We usually serve it over the fry bread, but then people pick it up and scoop around in the wojape. She calls it modern because of using any kind of frozen berries; we often use commoddities gallon cans. This recipe makes enough for about 20-30 people who have 1-2 fry breads with it. It resides on the Indian Health Service server. See the fry bread menu, where I'm probably going to add several other versions of fry bread.

Wild Strawberries in chocolate fondue

Well, you take about a pound of expensive bittersweet chocolate, shave it and melt it in a little coffee with a tablespoon of butter stirred in. Keep it warm in a foudue pot over a little burner for the pot. And about a quart of delicious little red-all-through wild strawberries, chiilled. And one fondue fork per person. Swirl a berry in the chocolate. Other bland, crisp fruits can stretch the berries if you don't have enough:

Apple slices (Green Granny Smith), Pear slices. Sprinkle these slices with lemon juice so they won't turn brown. Small cubes (1 inch or less) of French bread (especially crust) is also good. Then -- frog out on it!

A little cultural explanation, here, of that picture. Midè teachings about death is that the spirit will, on its road toward the Milky Way, encounter the temptation of a giant wild strawberry. If you are too greedy there (like you were in life), your spirit will turn into a frog, right there, eating more from the base of the berry and croaking futile warnings at other spirits coming along there. I always figured I wouldn't be too greedy, except that wild strawberries are so much better than those big white tasteless things from the store.

Still, I could maybe pig-out or frog-out on just a F - E - W bites, then move on. But, if they got a pot of melted bitter-sweet chocolate, and a fondue fork to swirl that incomparably delicious red berry meat with right by that giant strawberry there, I think they got me. Still, I figure chocolate fondue strawberries is not traditional, so probably they won't have any, I'm safe.

Sweet Blackberry Blue Corn tamale -- serves 8

Try to get blue corn masa harina for this; white or yellow will do, but blue looks prettier. Don't use ordinary corn meal; masa harina is treated with lime water and cooks differently. If you have dried corn husks, you can steam the tamales in them, otherwise use aluminum foil.

	Tamale dough
		3/4 cup strained blackberry puree
		1/4 cup water
		1/2 cup sugar
		1/2 tablespoon maple syrup or molasses
		1 cup blue corn masa harina
		2 tablespoons softened butter
		1 tsp fresh lemon juice
		8 big dry husks, or 10" aliminum foil squares

		1/2 cup finely  chopped pecans or black walnuts
		2 tablespoons maple candy rolled into crumbs OR
		    2 tablespoons almond paste
		3/4 cup sour cream, do not use yoghurt
		1/4 cup whipping cream
		1 tsp vanilla
		1 tsp almond extract
		2 cups fresh blackberries "destemmed" and washed
		2 TBS sugar

Bring puree, water, sugar and molasses to a boil. Whisk in masa harina and stir mixture over low heat at a slow-popping bubble for 10 minutes. Stir in butter and lemon juice off heat. Mixture should be a firm, dry dough. not sticky, not crumbly.

Roll and pat dough into 8 squares on the foil or husks, leaving 1-inch edge margin at the sides and slightly more at the ends (to tie up or twist-flod closed). Use about 4 TBS per tamale. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick or less. Now lay out a row of filling along the long center of the tamale (parallel to long sides of husk if used). Fold up each edge around it to meet in the middle -- a fat rectangle, rather than a roll -- and press edges of tamale closed at ends and top. Fold up and tie husk ends (if using),or fold up and seal shut foil. Steam tamales for 10 minutes in a steamer or wok.

While steaming, whip cream, starting with whipping cream and adding sour cream, form soft peaks, add sugar and flavorings. Remove tamales, cool slightly, open them up and put on big serving plates. Pour a little juice from berries (if some has formed) over each tamale, top with some berries (1/4 cup each) and the cream, saving a few berries to garnish each dish.

If you can find blue corn masa harina, these tamales will be a very interesting purple color from the corn and berries. It's prettier if you use maple syrup, not molasses. Note that you can use several other kinds of fillings: blackberry jam mixed with nuts, just nuts with sugar (but it tends to fall apart), nuts with some sugar and egg to hold it together, etc. You can also use a different kind of jam or jelly (strawberry, raspberry) with the nuts for a red color when the tamale is broken open. In my opinion, using jam or jelly makes it too sweet and overpowers the corn/blackberry flavors. You can also use raspberries instead of blackberries, but they are more sour, so use jam or jelly with the nuts, and don't use blue corn masa, use white or yellow corn masa, so the tamale will be pink.

Fresh juice from cranberries

Unless you have access to a bog with a lot of wild cranberries, you'll probably buy them and only make a small amount of fresh juice, so canning it isn't necessary, you'll drink it all before it spoils (refrigerated). A pint a day, for 4 weeks, if treating a urinary tract infection. Don't bother with this unless you can start with at least 4 quarts of berries.

Cook cranberries in an equal amount of water until their skins burst -- about 5 minutes. The less cooking time, the less vitamin C is destroyed by heat. Strain through cheesecloth folded or sewn into a jelly bag, dont squeeze or the juice will be cloudy, let it hang and drip. Add 2/3 cup sugar for each quart of berries used to the juice and heat to 180 degrees (below boiling). At this point, you can refrigerate it in large glass jars.

This juice is rather strong and sour; you may want to dilute it or sweeten it. Cranberry juice cocktail (bought in the store) is about 1/4 cranberry juice, the rest is apple juice, water, sugar.

Berry Canning Procedures

Canning, if you have a lot: Because cranberries, like most berries, are highly acid, they don't need much heat to be safely canned (or bottled). You can process them in sterilized jars or bottles for 20 minutes in boiling water (vegetables, meats, other non-acid fruits are not safe to can this way, you should process in a pressure cooker). Water bath (non-pressure) processing can be done in any large, deep pot. Put the jars on a rack in the bottom so they don't touch the bottom. You will need to use the type of glass jar that has a zinc cap and a rubber washer ring. If you can find them anywhere any more. Leave at least 1.5-2 inches empty at the top of the jar, put on the ring and cap, screw it tightly, but then turn it back 1/4 inch, so it's sealed against the water but can vent a little pressure. Water must be at least 1 inch over tops of jars. Bring to boil, and boil for at least 20 minutes. Remove jars. Screw lids down very tightly while still hot, so cooling juice will pull it down to a tight vacuum.

This same canning procedure can be followed with high-acid berry jams and jellies, but for low-acid foods (including tomatoes) use a pressure cooker. Right they didn't use to have them, they used to have a lot of spoilage and food poisoning. Traditionally, fruits were preserved by drying. Pressure cookers began to be used on Minnesota rezzes during the early years of World War II when Native people prepared big "victory gardens" and even supplied food to white people for the wartime efforts. A few pressure cookers were shared among many women. (Red Lake ladies also formed a home defense rifle brigade.)

What to do with the leftover pulp?

1. Mix with mayonnaise (only use Hellman's), 1 cup cranberry pulp stirred into 2 1/2 cups mayo. Use this mayo on fruit salad or with broiled fish (good with salmon steaks).

2. Make ketchup out of it: 4 cups pulp, add 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, 2 cups brown sugar. Heat to boiling to dissolve the sugar. Process in blender until all mushed up. If you'r going to can this, heat the ketchup to barely boiling for 10 minutes, put in sterile jars and process in watrer bath as explained for juice.

3. Cranberry sauce: Boil 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 cups water per 4 cups pulp until sugar is dissolved throughout. You may be disappointed unless you add some lemon juice, orange juice and grated rind, as a lot of flavor has already been cooked out with the juice.

Sweetpotatoes Stuffed with Cranberries -- Serves 6

		1 1/2 cups of cranberry sauce
		3 TBS butter
		1/3 cup brown sugar
		1 tsp salt
		1/2 cup chopped nuts

Bake potatoes until tender and easily peelable (about 30 minutes). Peel just the skins, cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out some of the insides and reserve. Stuff both halves, holding the potato back together with toothpicks. Put in greased oven pan, mound the removed insides mashed and heaped around them. Mix sauce, nuts, sugar, butteer, salt and pour over. bake at 350 uncovered until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Goes well with turkey, roast chicken, or duck. If you want to take less trouble with it, don't hollow and stuff the potatoes, chunk them and pour th cranberry sauce over them.

Custard pie made with cooked berries:

		2 cups cranberries pulp
		1 cup water
		1 can (1.5 cups) sweetened condensed milk
		1/4 cup lemon juice
		2 well-beaten egg yolks
		1 baked 9-inch pie shell
		1/2 cup whipping cream
		3 TBS sugar
		1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix pulp with water, force through seive or puree in blender. Combine puree with lemonjuice, milk, eggs, mix thoroughly. Pour into pastry shell and chill till set. Whip cream to soft peaks, add sugar and vanilla, top pie with it.

You just want cranberry sauce for a turkey? OK, per 4 cups of fresh berries. Boil 1 1/2 cups sugar with 2 cups water for 5 minutes to make a syrup. Add berries and boil without stirring 5 minutes (skins will burst). That's it! 4 cups of sauce (about).

Try a raw relish, instead of cooked cranberry sauce:

		2 large oranges
		4 cups cranberries
		1.5 cups honey

Peel the orange zest, then peel off most of the bittr white under-rind. Cut the oranges across to remove any seeds. Force zests, cranberries, and orange sections through a food grinder and mix well together. Stir in honey. Make this several hours before using, so flavors can mingle sitting at room temperature. Makes about a quart of relish.

Whole raw cranberries can be used in most kinds of baked goods -- muffins, quick breads, pancakes -- the same as blueberries. They are much more sour than blueberries, so it's best to use them in rather sweet mixes. They are quite nice in banana bread, for example.

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CREDITS: I forget who told me about chocolate fruit fondue many years ago. Other recipes ar credited if I remember, mostly I don't. The computer-savvy frog is not art, it's a cartoon. I'm not an artist, but I can draw cartoons. I drew that one.

Copyright 1995, Paula Giese

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 23, 1996 - 2:34:47 AM