Monday, November 4, 2013

November's food of the month: Cranberries

Now that we're well into autumn and through the first of the BIG holidays... and just about pumpkined out... it's time to move on to another flavor of the season: Cranberry! YUM.

With a complex, tart flavor cranberries are very versatile: delicious dried on their own, spread across a roast or starring in a dessert, it's no wonder that people love cranberries so much.

While the idea of growing your own cranberries sounds wonderful…  it isn’t very likely that you’d be able to.  Cranberries thrive in very specific conditions, needing acid peat soil, a growing season from April through November and lots of fresh water (really, they need marshland).  This is one case where we’re going to recommend that  you don’t attempt this without extensive research and go ahead and buy them when they’re at their peak…  which happens to be right about now.

If you are interested in learning to grow your own cranberries, this website is a good place to start your research:  How Cranberries Grow: "Cranberries 101" - An Introduction

Fresh cranberries can be stored in their original plastic bag, or in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to one year (do not thaw them before using, simply rinse and go ahead and use them as usual).

Cranberries can be preserved in a number of ways.  As we stated above, they can be frozen for quite a long time, but dehydrating or canning gives them an even longer shelf life.

Dried fruit can keep for up to five years if stored in an airtight container (vacuum sealing is even better) and kept at temperatures at or below 70° F, but will last indefinitely when stored in the freezer.  Check out these instructions for dried cranberries.

Canned cranberries can be kept safely for 1-2 years.  The domed lid on a canning jar, the color  and the smell of the contents are your most sure signs of freshness.  But, when in doubt, throw it out.  We will be sharing a cranberry canning recipe or two this month.

There are so many, many uses for cranberries and there are tons of cranberry recipes available online.  Throughout November, we’ll test a few and let you know what we think of them.  If there’s something you’d like us to try this month, let us know and we’ll do our best to try it out for you.

Any questions or thoughts?  Let us know and leave a comment!

No comments:

Post a Comment