Cranberries: Treasured Berries

Cranberry wine at the Cranberry Museum and Gift Shop

You probably think cranberries grow in water like the ad for Ocean Spray depicts on TV. Actually flooding the cranberry bogs with water is one way that they are harvested. They can also be dry harvested.

Most of the cranberries grown in the Long Beach Peninsula area of Washington are sold to Ocean Spray. Other commercial cranberry producing states include Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Wisconsin. Because the soil and climate of Long Beach closely resembled that of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where commercial cranberry production was already established, Anthony Chabot cultivated cranberries in Long Beach in 1883.

Cranberry harvesting equipment


If you’d like to learn about the history of cranberries, Long Beach boasts a Cranberry Museum and Gift Shop. See what role the cranberry industry plays in the economy and look at historical artifacts and equipment built and used especially for cranberry farming.

Celebrating the cranberry is a regular event in Long Beach, with the Cranberrian Fair Harvest Festival. This year it takes place October 8 and 9, 2011. Foods, crafters, bog tours, and more will showcase the area’s rich heritage during the 91st Annual Cranberrian Fair. Collectible Cranberrian Fair buttons will sell for $5 each and cover admission to all events.

A cranberry bog in May

If you love this antioxidant-rich, scrumptious berry, here’s a recipe The Shelburne Inn makes:

Cranberry Raspberry Mousse

From The Shelburne Inn

1 12-oz package cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup water

Place cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil slowly until berries “pop” and sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and reserve.

1 ½ cups cranberry “sauce” from above mixture
2 cups raspberries, frozen but beginning to thaw
½ cup cranberry juice
2 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz “Crème de la Chevre” from Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy
1 cup sugar
2 ½ cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place the 2 Tablespoons gelatin in a small  pan with the cranberry juice and stir it in. Set it aside to soften, about 5 minutes. Heat slowly to dissolve the gelatin and allow this mixture to cool.

Beat the cream cheese and “Crème de la Chevre” with the sugar. Combine the cranberry sauce and frozen raspberries. The heat of the sauce will help thaw the raspberries. Add one half of the berry mixture to the cream cheese/sugar mixture. With the mixer running slowly, add the softened, dissolved gelatin mixture. Then gently fold in the rest of the berry mixture.

Whip the cream  and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold it into the mousse and the spoon it into glass serving dishes. Chill if not serving right away. Top with whipped cream made with heavy cream whipped with powdered sugar and vanilla. Optional: you may add a little cinnamon to the whipped cream.

Yield:  12 large servings or 20 small.

5 thoughts on “Cranberries: Treasured Berries

  1. Alexandra

    This recipe sounds awesome. Wish I could indulge in such desserts but at my age I cannot any longer. Something I want to warn you about is that these cranberries do not sound like they are organic. Do you know how many pesticides are used on cranberries? I don’t either, but I try to avoid regular cranberries since I’m afraid lots of pesticide residue are on them. Ocean Spray does not farm organically, I know that. I live on Cape Cod where we have a few organic growers. Their stands are always sold out at the farmers’ markets. It would be interesting to find out how many growers are organic in WA state …

  2. Heather Larson Post author

    Hi Alexandra,

    We have a small number of organic cranberry farmers emerging, but it’s very difficult to do because cranberries are very susceptible to fungus, which can wipe out the growers entire crop. In addition to that, the farmers usually have to wait 7 years to be certified organic and it’s a difficult and expensive certification. Seven years without a crop for these small farmers can be devastating.

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  4. Jennie Lou

    I am looking to purchase cranberries. Are they available for purchase on line from any of the farms on Washington’s cranberry Coast? I may not be able to get to the Harvest Festival or cranberrian Faire this year, and we always buy enough to fill our freezer and use all year.


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