If you look at the flower, stem, calyx and petals of a cranberry plant just right, they do resemble the neck, head and bill of a crane. That’s what early Europeans thought so the name stuck for a while. Eventually it was shortened to cranberry. Reportedly the berry was one of the first gifts Native Americans gave to the European arrivals. It wasn’t long before the settlers were making a cranberry sauce to accompany game meats, just as the Natives did.
Today, sauce and juice account for 95% of cranberry use. The remainder is sold either fresh or dried. Dried berries are sweetened with cane sugar, apple juice or honey. The Co-op offers all three options. From Eugene based Hummingbird Wholesale the Co-op gets a dried cranberry from a small, family-owned certified organic farm on Oregon’s south coast. The sandy soil and moderate climate found in this area as well as the long growing season helps the berries gain a nice dark color and high sugar content. The wet coastal climate keeps the bogs irrigated in the summer and assures there is enough water to flood the blogs for water-harvesting in the fall. Once the berries are harvested, Hummingbird freezes and then dehydrates them at low temperatures with a touch of Willamette Valley raw Blackberry Honey. The result is a delightful treat with an exceptional burst of real cranberry flavor.
Eat them by the handful or try them in our favorite scone recipe:
Lemon Cranberry Scones
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a food processor pulse the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir into the flour mixture.
- In another small bowl lightly beat the egg and the yolk. Stir in the cream. Add this mixture to the flour. Stir just until combined.
- On a well-floured surface with floured hands pat the dough into a 1 inch thick round.
- Use a drinking glass dipped in flour or a 2 inch round cutter to cut out as many rounds as possible. Reroll scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.