I’ve been thinking about the Warrens, Wisconsin Cranberry Festival. It is always held the last weekend in September. But, like everything else fun and public, COVID-19 has destroyed that celebration as well.

My mother-in-law, Margo Bruxvoort, loved to go to the Cranberry Festival. It was a fun time to walk around taking in the craft vendors, cranberry stands full of different uses for cranberries in cooking and baking. There was a nice parade, as well as different entertainment throughout the day.

Part of being American and being FREE is enjoying our beautiful land, its bounty, and fellow citizens. Not being able to celebrate our freedom, our beautiful America and interact with folks is disturbing.

The Cranberry

native cranberries
Image by Neeme Katt from Pixabay

Cranberries. Be careful googling cranberries as you might just end up at the website of the rock group from Ireland called “The Cranberries”. Today, we are talking about fruit-cranberry.

According to Wikipedia:

Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium. In Britain, cranberry may refer to the native species Vaccinium oxycoccos,[1] while in North America, cranberry may refer to Vaccinium macrocarpon.[2] Vaccinium oxycoccos is cultivated in central and northern Europe, while Vaccinium macrocarpon is cultivated throughout the northern United States, Canada, and Chile.[3] In some methods of classification, Oxycoccus is regarded as a genius in its own right.[4] They can be found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere.”

“In 2017, the United States, Canada, and Chile accounted for 98% of the world production of cranberries. Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam, and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder, sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is a traditional accompaniment to turkey at Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom, and at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners in the United States and Canada.[6]

Cranberries are grown in individual cranberry beds on dry land. Once the cranberries are mature, they are ready to harvest by either dry harvesting or wet harvesting.

Dry harvesting is the best method for harvesting fresh bagged cranberries. Wet harvesting is done for juices, jams, jellies, and sauces. According to, wet harvesting allows the producer to harvest the cranberry crop in 60% of the time it takes to dry harvest. The drawback to wet harvesting is the fruit becomes wet making the cranberry more perishable.

Ocean Spray, through its cranberry farming cooperative, markets 90% of their annual yield in the United States. These cooperative growers, 1,200 in number, come from:

  • Massachusetts
  • Wisconsin
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Washington State

Cranberries pack a punch

Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of ways. Foremost was their use of cranberries as a food source. Cranberries would be eaten fresh, ground, or mashed and were used medicinally in teas, poultices, and for dyes. Cranberries were made into a winter survival food by mixing them with dried meats and melted fat. Because of the cranberries’ high vitamin C content, sailors ate them to stave off scurvy.

Recipes to enjoy

Cranberry Sauerkraut Meatballs

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 3 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 pkg onion soup mix
  • 1/4 c. bread crumbs

Mix the above ingredients all together, roll into balls and place in a 9×13.

  • 1-16 oz. whole cranberry cause
  • 1- 8 oz. sauerkraut with juice
  • 1/2 to 1 c. brown sugar to taste
  • 1- 12 oz. chili sauce
  • 3/4 c. water

Mix the above ingredients in a separate bowl, pour over the meatballs in the 9×13. Bake 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. This recipe is better made a day ahead for the flavors to blossom.

Cranberry Coffee Cake

Image by Neeme Katt from Pixabay
Ingredients for cake
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups chopped cranberries- I use the frozen/fresh whole bagged kind
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients for the topping
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 sugar

Mix the first 3 ingredients. Stir in the remaining 6 ingredients, mixing well. Spray a 9×13 pan and pour the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle topping mixture over the cake mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I have made the coffee cake recipe many times. It is always a hit.

Till next time reader, here is to good food, good friends and may our country remain free to continue our good life.


2 thoughts on “Cranberries

  1. Being Woven says:

    So interesting. I love learning new things and this is filled with information I did not know…like the amount of cranberries this country produces and which states. And I did not know about the dry harvesting. I had seen pictures of the wet, and now know about it and what they use the cranberries for dependent upon the way they are harvested!! Thanks. Oh, yeah! the band in Ireland too! Surely, I must look them up. : )

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