When you think of cranberries, what comes to mind first? Do you think about cranberry sauce with turkey, or dried cranberries as a snack?
Let's take a closer look at this amazing little berry packed with vitamin C!
How Native Americans Used Cranberries.
Native Americans mixed together dried strips of meat or fish, some fat, and cranberries that had been pounded into a paste. This mixture was shaped into a cake that was then dried in the sun. This cake was called pemmican and could be considered one of the first "energy bars." The cranberries acted as a preservative and kept the bar from spoiling. Since the bar stored well, it could be used as a meal on long journeys, or saved as food for the winter.
The Native Americans also used cranberries as a dye for rugs and blankets and as medicine to prevent illnesses.
Mashed, unripe cranberries were made into a poultice and used to heal scrapes and sores.
How Do Cranberries Grow?
Cranberries grow on vines in special beds that have a layer of sand, peat, gravel and clay. In some places these beds are called bogs and in other places they are called marshes. Cranberries need plenty of water and a long, cool growing season which usually lasts from March to November.
Cranberries By the Numbers.
Americans put away some 400 million pounds of cranberries each year. About 80 million pounds — or 20 percent — are gobbled up during Thanksgiving week. There are 200 cranberries used in every can of cranberry sauce, 440 cranberries in a one-pound bag and 4,400 cranberries in one gallon of juice. Seven of 10 cranberries sold in the world today come from Ocean Spray.
Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe
With autumn just around the corner I thought I'd share an easy muffin recipe that's great to use for breakfast or brunch.
Servings: 12 Muffins
2 C all-purpose flour, + 2 teaspoons for coating fresh cranberries
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
2 C fresh cranberries, or 1 cup dried cranberries
½ C unsalted butter, room temperature
1 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
½ C milk
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 C confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 375º F. Spray muffin tins with bakers spray.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Toss together fresh cranberries and 2 teaspoons of flour to coat cranberries in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar until lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add an egg, one at a time, taking care to fully incorporate before adding the other. Mix in vanilla and orange zest.
Gently fold in flour mixture, alternating with milk. Stir until just combined. Fold in cranberries and scoop mixture into prepared muffin tins, filling about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Prepare orange glaze topping for muffins while the muffins are baking by stirring together until well-combined.
Once muffins have baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the muffin tin. Then, remove each muffin and drizzle with orange glaze. Place onto a plate to finish cooling or serve slightly warm.