by Eric Wharton
My Recipe Book, constantly being added to
Whoever the salesman is for cranberries is doing a great job. He's showing up everywhere. Hey, what do you got, some apples? Put some cranberries in there. We'll call it cran-apple and go 50-50. What do you got grapes? How about cran-grape. What do you got mangos? Cran-mango. What do you got pork chops? Cran-chops. Why don't you back off, cran-man. Why don't you take your sales trophy and have a vacation.
— Brian Regan
Cranberries are one of the most unique fruits in the world. They are one of only three fruits native to North America that are commercially cultivated. Cranberries grow in the wild on long-running vines in sandy bogs and marshes.
Native Americans were the first to take advantage of the cranberry’s many natural attributes. By mixing mashed cranberries with deer meat, they made a survival food called pemmicana. They also believed in the medicinal value of the cranberry, using the berry in poultices to draw poison from arrow wounds. And the rich red juice of the cranberry was used as a natural dye. The Lenni Lenape tribes along the Delaware River in the Northeastern US called them ibimi, or bitter berry. The modern name, however, came from early German and Dutch settlers who started calling it the "crane berry” because of the flower’s resemblance to the head and bill of a crane.
At first, the berries were picked by hand. A juice was made from them as early as 1683 by Pilgrim settlers. They weren’t farmed on a large scale until the 1800s when cranberry cooperatives began to market them to urban populations. Even up until the early 20th century, the market remained largely seasonal.
Producers began bolstering their businesses through diversifying cranberry products and expanded the industry market until, in 1959, it was bottled with alcohol. Finally, demand hit its modern peak in the 1980s when reports about the health benefits of the fruit were published. Today, cranberries are harvested through a process called wet harvesting—flooding a cranberry bog with water, which allows the cranberry’s buoyancy to float them to the surface, where they are collected.
1 pint cranberry juice cocktail
1 lemon, fresh squeezed*
3 cups boiling water
1 family size tea bag
2 tbsp sugar
*Approximately 1/4 cup of ReaLemon™ is equal to the juice of one fresh lemon.
Pour boiling water over tea bag and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bag and stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate and serve cold.
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