Cranberries

Nearly home from Montana, we drove past this cranberry farm east of Vancouver, BC. Again, I only had seconds to snap a drive-by shot, but it made me look up cranberry harvesting when I got home.

I learned that cranberries can be harvested dry or wet. For the dry harvesting they go through the cranberry field with a machine much like a lawnmower except that it doesn’t cut the plants; it only scoops up the berries and bits of the plant. The berries are then sent through a machine that bounces them around and separates them from the other bits of debris through a grooved roller that rocks back and forth. Then comes the assembly line where workers pick out the bad berries from the conveyor belt.

On the tiny photo above, you can see that they have flooded the cranberry field. A taller machine, designed not to churn up the wet ground goes through and scoops up more berries to bring them to the surface.

Then the berries are “herded” together by floating dams just as if the berries were an oil spill.  Once the berries are enclosed, they are vacuumed up into a truck while the water is drained off  as the berries are loaded.

They still need to go through the assembly line for sorting, but machinery does all but this last step.

When you make a cranberry sauce for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you need to add about a cup of sugar for two cups of these very tart berries, but you can make your cranberry sauce more interesting by adding plums and apples if you have them handy.

Cranberries also make a wonderful addition to muffins. Throw in a cupful with the batter instead of using blueberries. Add some chopped nuts. The measuring doesn’t have to be an exact science. Experiment. They’re sure to be good.

 

39 thoughts on “Cranberries

  1. popsiclesociety

    I’ve discovered cranberries only when I came to Singapore, not because they harvest it but because they sell it, and I was really amazed how these little fruits are harvested. I always thought they are like blueberry ☺️

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Yes, I use the food processor to smush tired bananas and then add the rest of the usual muffin ingredients, some cranberries and chopped almonds. Additions are optional but I find that cranberries are good in muffins. I keep the cranberries frozen in a ziploc and when I make muffins I put a cupful in warm water and when the berries are thawed I add them to the batter.

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  2. Marsha

    Cranberry , oranges into muffins or loafs. Also favourite sauce with chicken. So many good recipes. Dried cranberries are tasty in salad. Good topic Anneli, so many ways to enjoy this autumn harvested fruit. It has a much shorter harvesting season than blueberries.

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  3. D. Wallace Peach

    I love cranberries. We visited out first cranberry bog his past summer, and it was so interesting to learn about them, even though we were too early for the flooding and the harvest. How fun that you go to see that. Plums or apples in cranberry sauce sounds fantastic! Thanks for the tip. 🙂

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I’ve made the plum and apple addition to cranberry sauce a couple of times now and I like it. We have plum and apple trees and I never know what to do with all the fruit, even after giving away a lot. So this is another use for them.

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  4. roughwighting

    What a gorgeous photo! I knew some of this about cranberries but not all. In the Cape Cod area about an hour and a half from our house, there are fields and fields of cranberries. Around here they even put cranberries in their scones. Your muffin looks absolutely delicious. Happy homecoming soon.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Thanks, Pam. We’re home now. Great trip and so good to be home too. The posts I’m doing now are from the last weeks, catching up. Yes, you are so right about cranberries in scones. I’ve been putting them in muffins for years and I’ve made scones many, many times, but I never thought to switch from currants to cranberries. I’m going to try that the very next time I make scones. Thanks for the tip.

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  5. Ursula

    We used to pick cranberries on the Charlottes but I forgot how I prepared them – it’s a long time ago. It was interesting to read about how they get harvested. Those muffins look yummy!

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