Food lovers rejoice! A favorite holiday filled with turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and more is just one week away. Each family has their own Thanksgiving traditions. Coming from a large family, we usually cook both a turkey and a ham for our feast. Mom always brings a seven-layer salad. My aunt bakes poppy seed biscuits the way grandma used to make them. Homemade cinnamon gelatin, pumpkin pies and other desserts pile onto our plates.
Our farmers and processors have traditions as well. Year after year they work hard to provide a safe, wholesome and secure food supply for families. The qualities of our farmers and the commodities they provide are part of Wisconsin’s heritage. Growth in the industry would not be possible without consumers who purchase Wisconsin goods. Fortunately, Something Special from Wisconsin provides reliable ways to identify genuine Wisconsin products and services. The red logo guarantees at least half of the ingredients, production or processing value can be attributed to Wisconsin. With hundreds of companies from which to choose, there are countless opportunities to add a creative spin to the holiday season.
Dancing Bear Apiary
I witnessed my first cranberry harvest this fall. After pulling on the hip waders and stepping into the flooded marsh full of Wisconsin’s state fruit, I was amazed by the beautiful red sea of berries. Wisconsin is expected to produce 5.9 million barrels of cranberries in 2018, according to the United States Cranberry Marketing Committee. With each barrel weighing 100 pounds, that marks more than 60 percent of the nation’s supply.
What better conversation starter than to bring homemade cranberry sauce using fruit from my visit to the marsh? The tiny, tart berries are packed with nutrients like antioxidants. Since they are so important to Wisconsin, I want to sweeten my dish with another important Wisconsin ingredient: honey. Honey producers like Dancing Bear Apiary can add a twist to your dish with flavors like Wildflower and Lemon honey. They have been Wisconsin beekeepers for 42 years providing honey directly from hive to kitchen. The owner, Kent Pegorsch, said they take great care to make sure the flavor and health benefits that bees work so hard to put into the honey stay in the honey.
Honey can be considered one of nature’s energy foods. The sweet treat is a source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon, according to the Wisconsin Honey Producers. Those carbohydrates can help keep working muscles moving. Additionally, honey soothes my throat after a full day of swapping stories with family.
Honey Cranberry Sauce Recipe
-12 Ounces Fresh Cranberries
-1/2 Cup Dancing Bear Apiary Honey (more honey can be added for extra sweetness)
-1/2 Cup Orange Juice
-1 tsp Orange Zest
-In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest and honey. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat.
-Add cranberries and cook until the cranberries have popped and the mixture thickens.
-Cool and enjoy!
CJ’s Premium Spices
Wisconsin potatoes are a classic for any holiday dish. Potatoes are not only full of flavor but also packed with nutrients like potassium and vitamin C. There are almost endless options for preparing the starchy spuds that include mashed, grilled, roasted, baked, boiled or steamed. Wisconsin farmers make it easy to enjoy our state’s potatoes year-round. Potatoes are grown on nearly 68,000 acres in Wisconsin, and our state ranks third in the nation for potato production.
As a millennial who is still testing her cooking abilities, I seek simple recipes. To top off the full Wisconsin potato experience, CJ’s Premium Spices offers a consistently delicious and easy-to-make potato salad mix. The Oconomowoc company’s vision is to craft healthy, unique dishes without adding any preservatives so the taste of their spice blends come through every time. The hand-blended flavors don’t stop with potatoes. CJ’s Premium Spices can make appealing appetizers with dill and onion dip mixes.
Potato Salad Recipe
-1 packet of CJ’s Organic Potato Salad Mix
-2.5 lbs Wisconsin red, Yukon gold, or thin-skinned potatoes
-1 cup mayonnaise
-1 tsp white vinegar (optional)
-In sequence, empty entire contents of Potato Salad mix packet over the cup of mayonnaise and vinegar in a large mixing bowl. To activate the ingredients, blend well and place in refrigerator to chill.
-With the skins on, rinse, chop, and boil potatoes cooked to your liking. Test periodically with a fork. When cooked, immediately rinse potatoes under cold water for a couple of minutes to cool. Strain well, and combine with already chilled potato salad dressing.
There are almost endless options for preparing potatoes that include mashed, grilled, roasted, baked, boiled or steamed. Potatoes are grown on nearly 68,000 acres in Wisconsin, and our state ranks third in the nation for potato production. Thanksgiving would not be the same without a Wisconsin green-bean casserole made possible by our farmers who harvested 62,500 acres of snap beans in 2017 placing us first in the nation for the vegetable.
Porubcans LLC adds extra crunch and protein to those baked potatoes and green bean casseroles with Savory Seeds. Their Savory Seeds are a unique blend of toasted parmesan cheese, sesame and sunflower seeds with Italian herbs. This Something Special from Wisconsin ingredient can replace croutons on salads or be added to cottage cheese, chicken salad, roasted vegetables, and more.
Regardless of your family size, purchasing Wisconsin products can have a huge impact on farmers, processors, communities and economies. Make shopping local your family tradition. Wisconsin is a wonderland of quality food and fun with a unique twist. Anyone looking for inspiration can find businesses online at www.somethingspecialwi.com.