A BRIEF HISTORY OF CRANBERRIES
The Cranberry actually has a long history in North America and had an important place in everyday Indian life.
The Cranberry was utilized by the Indians to brighten up food, to deal with wounds from poisoned arrows and as a dye for carpets and blankets. Pilgrim women learned about the Cranberry from the friendly Indians and they soon started to create their own ways of fixing cranberries for their dinner tables. They made cranberry sauces, bubbling tarts and nogs. (drinks) Today at our Thanksgiving Dinner Tables Cranberries are served in different kinds – Whole Berry Sauce, Jellied Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry Orange Relish and occasionally within a salad.
Cranberries are also used in baked goods – they create an superb fruit for Quick Breads plus a fantastic Sauce for Waffles and Pancakes.
Cranberries were called different names by Indians of different areas.
Pakimintzen – New Jersey (symbol of Peace)
The modern day title”Cranberry” was a contraction of crane berry, an early name given to the berries because their pale pink blossoms resembled the head of a crane and Sandhill Cranes were seen in the lowlands eating the berries.
Cultivation of Cranberries began in Massachusetts almost 200 years after the landing of the Pilgrims. In 1816 Henry Hall of Dennis, Cape Cod, noticed that cranberries appeared to grow big and juicier where sand from the dunes blew over the vines. Cultivation now came from this simple observation made almost 200 years back.
Cranberries grow on peat soil that has been covered with a 3 inch layer of sand. The vines, planted about six inches apart, slowly spread over the floor forming a thick green carpet. The vines are weeded from the spring, pruned in the fall, fertilized and re-sanded every three or four years. Birds are needed to control the bees and insects pollinate the blossoms.
A good Cranberry is going to have a bounce to it. In the Ocean Spray plant, even if a berry does not bounced it’ll be rejected. Today, these tart berries are used in numerous dishes in addition to Cranberry Sauce.