Vaccinium macrocarpon, Anyone?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So what in the world is Vaccinium macrocarpon? A low bush cranberry! Vaccinium macrocarpon is the scientific name for the berry. Since there was a little frost last night (which helps sweeten the cranberries a bit), the boys and I went out picking cranberries. Most of them were ripe, however, I did have to pick out some unripe ones. We pick raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries each year and by far cranberries are the easiest to pick!!!! The boys and I were able to pick a gallon in 30 minutes! Part of the ease is the plethora of berries out there and also we use a berry picker which looks like this....
You basically "comb" the berries out with the picker! You can only use this type of picker with hard berries, therefore all the raspberries and blueberries we pick are done by hand. It is a lot of work!!!!

Here are some of our favorite cranberry recipes....
Cranberry Sauce- Cranberries and sugar (almost 1:1 ratio) and a little water. Cook down the cranberries until you have a thick sauce. No need for pectin. Cranberries have their own! I then can the sauce.
Cranberry Salad (I use my homemade cranberry sauce for this)
1 lg. box berry jello
1 can cranberry sauce/jam
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup sour cream
Prepare jello. Let set in fridge one hour. Add cranberries and pecans. Let set in fridge. Stir in sour cream before serving.
Lingonberry Banana Jam (This stuff is to die for!!!! Lingonberry is another word for low bush cranberry).
3 cups lingonberries
1 ½ cups water
2 cups mashed bananas
7 cups sugar
3 ounces liquid pectin
Simmer berries and water for 10 min. Add the bananas and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil hared for one minutes. Remove from heat. Add liquid pectin. Stir and quickly skim foam. Process 15 min. Yield: 11 cups
Maple Cranberry Chicken
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 can (16 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce, divided
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, combine syrup and 3/4 cup cranberry sauce; set aside. Sprinkle chicken with salt. If grilling the chicken, coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reaches 170°, basting frequently with syrup mixture. Serve with remaining cranberry sauce. Yield: 6 servings.

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