Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cranberry Picking on My Parent's Farm

Yeah, so blogging.  It seems to be taking a back seat to life right now, but here is a little fall catch-up from me...I promise I will get back in the swing of things soon!

The cranberry bog on my parent's farm in Oregon.
This past Thanksgiving, I was able to pick cranberries with my Mom in my parent's cranberry bog.  Normally, we just call this the pasture.  But I will be all fancy and call it a cranberry bog, because that is what part of it is now!

When we were kids, we always strung popcorn and cranberries together to decorate the Christmas tree.  In early January, we would take the stale strings down and place them outside in the trees for the birds to eat. forward 20 or so years, and my Dad was walking around in the pasture one fall (I think it was 2008) and noticed that there were red berries underfoot.  He looked closer, and discovered our cranberry bog!  The birds had eaten the Christmas tree decorations, and when they "went to the birdy bathroom" as they were flying, enough of them went in the same area.  This area is right near our pond, and quite swampy. The seeds from the cranberries took root, and et voila!  Cranberry bog!

Here are some hiding.  I am going to get you!
Did you know most of the world's cranberries are grown and harvested in the United States and Canada?  And they like the coastal areas, so Oregon and Washington both have lots of cranberry farms.  This is a great little video on how a wet harvest looks.  

So one of my crazy fantasies one day is to work on a cranberry farm at harvest time.  I have always wanted to do this!  I really like cranberries, especially in my Mom's cranberry orange bread.  They are such a versatile little fruit.  You can eat them, sauce them, bake them, even decorate with them!
Here is my Mom (well, her hand anyway) picking cranberries.
She wears disposable gloves so her hands don't get wet.  But they do get cold!

We picked for about 30-40 minutes and got quite a few.  It was cold and wet so we went inside to see how many we had.

Oooh magical cranberries!  Aren't my Mom's hands pretty?  I have always thought so.
Here are the cranberries floating in a plastic tub.
When you want to separate the cranberries from all the little leaves and things that stick to them, you float them in a pan or bowl.  Just like the real cranberry farmers do it, just on a much smaller scale!
See underneath?  That is all the stuff I don't want in my cranberry orange bread!

And when you are all done?  Lucious yummy cranberries to eat!  Or mix into your favorite bread recipe!

Here is my mom's yummy cranberry orange bread recipe.

Margaret's Cranberry Orange Bread
Makes: 1 loaf (large) 
Bake at: 325 degrees F

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted margerine or butter
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup magical cranberries chopped up!
1/2 cup nuts- your choice- optional

Mix dry ingredients together very well in a large mixing bowl.  Mix wet ingredients together.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.  Mix them both together until just moistened.  Add your cranberries and nuts and stir gently.  Bake in a greased loaf pan for 60-70 minutes at 325 degrees F.  Store 24 hours after baking but before cutting.  (It is a little more firm this way).  Makes 1 loaf (large!) of cranberry orange bread.  Be sure to watch them closely if using smaller loaf pans or muffin tins and cut your baking time down.

I would have shown you finished loaves, but Molly and I made them and I doubled the butter by accident.  Oops!  They weren't very pretty, but they still tasted great :).


1 comment:

  1. Y'know, I've never seen cranberries growing. They're delightful and such a beautiful red.


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