Thursday, November 26, 2020

Don't Forget the Cranberries!

An old-fashioned cranberry scoop. Today machines pump the berries from the bogs.

What is Thanksgiving dinner without cranberries? Some prefer the jellied form and others want the sauce made with whole berries. This traditional holiday condiment goes perfectly with the heavier foods enjoyed at the holidays. It is sweet and tart and sometimes a little spicey.

There are 100 varieties of cranberries, some of them heirloom varieties dating to the 1840's. The Ojibwa cultivated high-bush cranberries since the mid-17th century.

The red color of cranberries comes from pigments called anthocyanins.The range of red hues is due to the differing porportions of anthocyanins.

Cranberries have a high nutrient and antioxidant content. Research has linked the nutrients in cranberries to a lower risk of urinary tract infection, the prevention of some cancers, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure.

It takes about 16 months for the cranberry to mature from a bud to a fruit ready to harvest. Most cranberries sold in the United States are grown in Wisconsin. Other states known for cranberry production include Massachusetts, New Jersey, and coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest.

Cranberries are grown in bogs which the growers sometimes flood to keep the leaves from drying out in the winter, and to make it easier to harvest. Once a bog is flooded, machines knock the berries into the water, and then harvesters don waders and corral the berries into an area where they can be pumped through a suction line and loaded on a truck.

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