Cranberry Chili

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The problem with being a fourth generation cranberry farmer from Cranberry Country, Massachusetts—the southeastern part of the state that is pretty much covered in bogs—is that you, unfortunately, get typecast.

“People know that if you’re having dinner at our house, it’s probably going to have cranberries in it,” says Patrick Rhodes. Patrick is the latest in a long line of cranberry-growing, and cranberry-loving Rhodes’ who have been raising the tart, acidic treats since the 1940s. Like most folks, sure, they have cranberries on their Thanksgiving table. But the Rhodes family is so enamored with the little red berries they grow, that they eat them at pretty much every meal.

“I’ve already had cranberries twice today,” says Patrick on an October afternoon, at the height of harvesting season at his family’s Edgewood Bogs. He uses them as a tart addition to a morning smoothie, and he makes them into a spread for lunch sandwiches (because cranberries are high in pectin they congeal quickly and easily into spreads and jellies.) But where the Rhodes family stands apart is their commitment to their cranberries even at the dinner table. Imagine cranberry chili. Imagine cranberry chicken parm. “They add a bit of tanginess,” says Patrick. And he’s quick to remind anyone who will listen that his family’s chili is a two time winner at the Martha’s Vineyard Big Chili Festival. So there, don’t knock it till you try it.

But what the family is really known for, the cranberry recipe to end all recipes, is Patrick’s mother’s cranberry squares. We haven’t tried them, but we’ll take their word on that.

Look for Rhodes family cranberries in the Pork Meatballs with Beet & Cranberry Agrodolce, and learn more about their bogs (and their cranberry squares) here.

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