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Celebrating the Cranberry Harvest with the Club of Culinary Excellence

JWU culinary students spent the day whipping up dishes at the Cranberry Harvest Festival.

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the start of Fall than by participating in a cooking demo at the 14th annual Cranberry Harvest Celebration in Wareham, Massachusetts, which celebrates the history and cultivation of the Massachusetts state berry. I took part in the event as a member of the Club of Culinary Excellence, an amazing student-run club here at JWU Providence that focuses on helping students level up their craft through skills sessions and cooking demos.

Prior to the event, we were all asked to come up with a recipe that showcased cranberries, whether sweet or savory dishes, appetizers — even beverages.

I came up with a cranberry-pear chutney served on saltine crackers and topped with whipped goat cheese. My recipe was simple and bright, with fresh cranberries, pears, honey, cilantro, jalapenos, limes and, of course, the goat cheese. It’s fairly easy to scale it up or down, making it a perfect hors d’oeuvres to serve at Thanksgiving dinner. The cranberries and pears can be cooked down together, and the goat cheese can be whipped in large quantities in a stand mixer.

Everybody did an amazing job with the demos, and came up with such innovative and delicious culinary creations! Just a few of their dishes:

  • Cranberry agrodulce
  • Middle Eastern-spiced veggie pockets
  • Cranberry granola
  • Barbeque pork quesadillas with cranberry-corn salsa
  • Cranberry-goat cheese balls

All the students who participated gained experience in creating a recipe, prepping for a demo, and then demonstrating their recipes in front of an audience. It was so much fun getting to cook outside on such a perfect day, and work with fresh and delicious ingredients! I absolutely love getting involved on- and off-campus — the opportunities are endless!

While I was at celebration, I spotted the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association and recalled a family camping trip to Massachusetts in 2014. We participated in the “Be The Grower Experience” at Mayflower Cranberries, a family cranberry farm in Plympton, Massachusetts. We spent a day in the bog harvesting cranberries. It was a lot of work, but so much fun!

I love recipes that use cranberries! I have a number of them posted on my blog, including gluten-free cranberry-pistachio biscotti and a few types of gluten-free scones.

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A JWU Club of Culinary Excellence student demonstrates a steak dish with cranberries.

Finished dishes at the Harvest Fest, clockwise: Juliet’s whipped goat cheese with chutney; cranberry relish; quesadillas with cranberry-corn salsa

Topics: Providence