In the early days of Erie, a great Holiday occurred the first Tuesday of October, and it was as exciting as the 4th of July and Christmas. What many of us consider a Thanksgiving dinner staple was an excuse for a party here in Erie!
Happy Cranberry Day!
This unique fruit grew wild on the peninsula in the swampy sections of the interior.
So many people were picking the fruit before it’s time of harvest that in 1841, the State Legislature passed an act, imposing a fine “of not less than $10, nor more than $25, (that’s between $300 - $750 today!) on any person who should gather cranberries between July – October”. Then, on the 1st Tuesday of October began the season of harvest. Boatloads of people would make their way across the bay at night and stay until morning picking berries and partying.
By 1900, the cranberries were still growing but it’s numbers depleting. At an unknown date after that, the berries were completely picked out and no longer grew.
We have one cranberry picking object here at the Hagen History Center. It may be dangerous looking but certainly did the job well!
In honor of Cranberry Day this year, I’m posting my Grandmother’s (Agnes Lucas Weigert) delicious Cranberry Relish recipe. Enjoy!
1 pkg. raspberry Jello
1 cup boiling water
½ cup juice from cranberries, etc.
1 whole orange
1 lb. cranberries
¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)
Grind together the orange, apple, fresh cranberries and nuts. (use a Griswold grinder if you have one!)
Mix in the sugar. Cover and let stand for 2 hours or more to draw out the juice.
Prepare the Jello, using 1 cup boiling water and ½ cup of the juice. (Discard or drink the rest.)
Let it set slightly.
Stir in the cranberry mixture and pour into a mold or into individual molds.