Fall Harvest: Cranberries

September 30, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Posted in fruits | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Cranberries, native to North America, and are harvested in New England and the Upper Midwest in the fall.

 

 

Cranberry bush with fruit partially submerged

Cranberry bush with fruit partially submerged

Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium. In some methods of classification, Oxycoccus is regarded as a genus in its own right. They can be found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere.
Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 2 metres (7 ft) long and 5 to 20 centimetres (2 to 8 in) in height; they have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. They are pollinated by bees. The fruit is a berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.
Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces (see cultivation and uses below). Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam, and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is regarded as an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and some European winter festivals.
Since the early 21st century within the global functional food industry, raw cranberries have been marketed as a “superfruit” due to their nutrient content and antioxidant qualities.

 

 

There are three to four species of cranberry, classified in two sections:
Subgenus Oxycoccus, sect. Oxycoccus
8 Vaccinium oxycoccos or Oxycoccus palustris (Common Cranberry or Northern Cranberry) is widespread throughout the cool temperate northern hemisphere, including northern Europe, northern Asia and northern North America. It has small 5–10 mm leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with a purple central spike, produced on finely hairy stems. The fruit is a small pale pink berry, with a refreshing sharp acidic flavour.
* Vaccinium microcarpum or Oxycoccus microcarpus (Small Cranberry) occurs in northern North America,[6] northern Europe and northern Asia, and differs from V. oxycoccos in the leaves being more triangular, and the flower stems hairless. Some botanists include it within V. oxycoccos.
* Vaccinium macrocarpon or Oxycoccus macrocarpus (Large cranberry, American Cranberry, Bearberry) native to northern North America across Canada, and eastern United States, south to North Carolina at high altitudes). It differs from V. oxycoccos in the leaves being larger, 10–20 mm long, and in its slightly apple-like taste.
Subgenus Oxycoccus, sect. Oxycoccoides
* Vaccinium erythrocarpum or Oxycoccus erythrocarpus (Southern Mountain Cranberry) native to southeastern North America at high altitudes in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and also in eastern Asia.

 

Cranberries

Cranberries

Cranberries are related to bilberries, blueberries, and huckleberries, all in Vaccinium subgenus Vaccinium. These differ in having stouter, woodier stems forming taller shrubs, and in the bell-shaped flowers, the petals not being reflexed.
Some plants of the completely unrelated genus Viburnum are sometimes inaccurately called “highbush cranberries” (Viburnum trilobum).
Cranberries are susceptible to false blossom, a harmful but controllable phytoplasma disease common in the eastern production areas of Massachusetts and New Jersey.

 

 

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in the U.S. states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec. 20% of the world’s cranberries are produced in British Columbia’s lower mainland region. In the United States, Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries, with over half of U.S. production. Massachusetts is the second largest U.S. producer. A very small production is found in southern Argentina and Chile, the Netherlands, and Eastern Europe.[citation needed]
Historically, cranberry beds were constructed in wetlands. Today cranberry beds are constructed in upland areas with a shallow water table. The topsoil is scraped off to form dykes around the bed perimeter. Clean sand is hauled into a depth of four to eight inches. The surface is laser leveled flat to provide even drainage. Beds are frequently drained with socked tile in addition to the perimeter ditch. In addition to making it possible to hold water, the dykes allow equipment to service the beds without driving on the vines. Irrigation equipment is installed in the bed to provide irrigation for vine growth and for spring and autumn frost protection.

 

 

Cranberry vines are propagated by moving vines from an established bed. The vines are spread on the surface of the sand of the new bed and pushed into the sand with a blunt disk. The vines are watered frequently during the first few weeks until roots form and new shoots grow. Beds are given frequent light application of nitrogen fertilizer during the first year. The cost of establishment for new cranberry beds is estimated to be about US$70,000 per hectare (approx. $28,300 per acre).
A common misconception about cranberry production is that the beds remain flooded throughout the year. During the growing season cranberry beds are not flooded, but are irrigated regularly to maintain soil moisture. Beds are flooded in the autumn to facilitate harvest and again during the winter to protect against low temperatures. In cold climates like Wisconsin, Maine, and eastern Canada, the winter flood typically freezes into ice, while in warmer climates the water remains liquid. When ice forms on the beds, trucks can be driven onto the ice to spread a thin layer of sand that helps to control pests and rejuvenate the vines. Sanding is done every three to five years.

 

 

Cranberry harvest in New Jersey

Cranberry harvest in New Jersey

Cranberries are harvested in the fall when the fruit takes on its distinctive deep red color. This is usually in September through the first part of November. To harvest cranberries, the beds are flooded with six to eight inches of water above the vines. A harvester is driven through the beds to remove the fruit from the vines. For the past 50 years, water reel type harvesters have been used. Harvested cranberries float in the water and can be corralled into a corner of the bed and conveyed or pumped from the bed. From the farm, cranberries are taken to receiving stations where they are cleaned, sorted, and stored prior to packaging or processing.
Although most cranberries are wet-picked as described above, 5–10% of the US crop is still dry-picked. This entails higher labor costs and lower yield, but dry-picked berries are less bruised and can be sold as fresh fruit instead of having to be immediately frozen or processed. Originally performed with two-handed comb scoops, dry picking is today accomplished by motorized, walk-behind harvesters which must be small enough to traverse beds without damaging the vines.
White cranberry juice is made from regular cranberries that have been harvested after the fruits are mature, but before they have attained their characteristic dark red color. Yields are lower on beds harvested early and the early flooding tends to damage vines, but not severely.
Cranberries for fresh market are stored in shallow bins or boxes with perforated or slatted bottoms, which deter decay by allowing air to circulate. Because harvest occurs in late autumn, cranberries for fresh market are frequently stored in thick walled barns without mechanical refrigeration. Temperatures are regulated by opening and closing vents in the barn as needed. Cranberries destined for processing are usually frozen in bulk containers shortly after arriving at a receiving station.

 

 

About 95% of cranberries are processed into products such as juice drinks, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries. The remaining are sold fresh to consumers.
Cranberries are normally considered too sharp to be eaten plain and raw, as they are not only sour but bitter as well.
Cranberry juice is a major use of cranberries; it is usually either sweetened to make “cranberry juice cocktail” or blended with other fruit juices to reduce its natural severe tartness. Many cocktails, including the Cosmopolitan, are made with cranberry juice. At one teaspoon of sugar per ounce, cranberry juice cocktail is more highly sweetened than even soda drinks that have been linked to obesity.
Usually cranberries as fruit are cooked into a compote or jelly, known as cranberry sauce. Such preparations are traditionally served with roast turkey, as a staple of English Christmas dinners, and the Canadian and US holiday Thanksgiving. The berry is also used in baking (muffins, scones, cakes and breads). In baking it is often combined with orange or orange zest. Less commonly, innovative cooks use cranberries to add tartness to savory dishes such as soups and stews.
Fresh cranberries can be frozen at home, and will keep up to nine months; they can be used directly in recipes without thawing.
Cranberry wine is made in some of the cranberry-growing regions of the United States and Canada from either whole cranberries, cranberry juice or cranberry juice concentrate.

 

June 23-24, 2012 Mulberry Creek Herbfair – Huron, Ohio

June 22, 2012 at 9:39 AM | Posted in Festivals, Food | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

June 23-24, 2012 Mulberry Creek Herbfair – Huron, Ohio
Enjoy herbal foods, plants and vendors at the herb farm’s annual fair. This year’s focus will be on herbs from Northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.

15th ANNUAL MULBERRY CREEK HERBFAIR

Theme: Pacific Northwest

June 23rd & 24th
$5.00 admission
(includes free plant, classes,and entertainment)

Saturday 10-5:00
Sunday 10-4:00 (open earlier in 2012!)

Our fair will draw upon Portland, Oregon‘s reputation for cheeses and vegetables, Seattle’s salmon and blueberries and the First Nation traditions of British Columbia.

Pacific Northwest Food
Jamie Pribanic operates “The Red Gables” in Sandusky, OH. Nobody, I mean nobody, prepares a finer salmon, burger, or salad!

Pacific NW Ice Cream
Lavender Berry Cheesecake
Dark Roast Coffee… need I say more?

Pacific NW Market
We hope to create our own food market inspired by Seattle’s “Pike Place Market” with just a few artisan bakery, beverage and picnic item foods to eat here or take home along with our fine caterer.

Pacific NW Beverages
In the tradition of Seattle, there’s got to be coffee. We will also have a beer cart to demonstrate how to make beer.

http://mulberrycreek.com/News_and_Events/

Blue Foot Chicken??

February 1, 2012 at 11:20 AM | Posted in baking, chicken, Food | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

While watching an episode of Chopped on the Food Network they had an ingredient of Blue Foot Chicken. I had never heard of Blue Foot Chicken so I surfed the internet and found out about it.

Blue Foot Chicken

Blue Foot Chicken is a Canadian breed of chicken bred to resemble the French chicken Poulet de Bresse, also known as “Bresse Blue”.

The breed is attributed to Canadian breeder Peter Thiessen of British Columbia and was later marketed in the United States by California farm manager Bob Shipley. The Blue Foot Chicken was originally conceived as an alternative to the French Bresse Bleu, availability of which is tightly regulated by French law, with export expressly forbidden. It was bred by Thiessen over a period of 15 years starting in the 1980s. The breed was almost lost in 2004 when avian flu fears in Canada led to the Canadian government ordering the destruction of vast numbers of fowl, including all the chickens at Thiessen’s farm. However, one week before this decision was made, several breeders had been relocated to California, allowing the breed to survive and flourish in the US.

Blue Foot Chicken is characterized by a red comb, white feathers, and steel-blue feet, which give the breed its name. This trait is so admired that the feet are usually left on for presentation. Blue Foot are typically slaughtered much later than factory farm or free range chicken, being left to grow on their own rather than relying on force-feeding or power feed. Thus they require 12 to 14 weeks to reach market size, rather than the 42 days possible under factory farm conditions. After slaughter, the chickens may be air-chilled, rather than undergoing commercial water-chilling, leaving the meat dense and rich in flavor, as no water is absorbed into the meat during the chilling process.

In the wake of the Canadian cull, all remaining stocks are now in California, and the Blue Foot is being marketed there as the California Blue Foot or California Poulet Bleu, in spite of its Canadian origin.

It is usually served with the feet still attached and tied in an upward position.

Facts:
Weight     Male     6 to 7 lbs at 18 weeks
Skin Color     blue legs but not blue skin

Common Fig

August 8, 2011 at 9:59 AM | Posted in diabetes, diabetes friendly, Food, fruits, low calorie, low carb | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Common Fig is widely known for its edible fruit throughout its natural range in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern region, Iran, Pakistan, Greece and northern India, and also in other areas of the world with a similar climate, including Arkansas, Louisiana, California, Georgia, Oregon, Texas, South Carolina, and Washington in the United States, south-western British Columbia in Canada, Durango, Nuevo León and Coahuila in northeastern Mexico, as well as areas of Argentina, Australia, Chile, and South Africa.

Figs can also be found in continental climate with hot summer, as far north as Hungary and Moravia, and can be harvested up to four times per year. Thousands of cultivars, most named, have been developed or come into existence as human migration brought the fig to many places outside its natural range. It has been an important food crop for thousands of years, and was also thought to be highly beneficial in the diet.

The edible fig is one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans. Nine subfossil figs of a parthenocarpic type dating to about 9400–9200 BC were found in the early Neolithic village Gilgal I (in the Jordan Valley, 13 km north of Jericho). The find predates the domestication of wheat, barley, and legumes, and may thus be the first known instance of agriculture. It is proposed that they may have been planted and cultivated intentionally, one thousand years before the next crops were domesticated (wheat and rye).

Figs were also a common food source for the Romans. Cato the Elder, in his De Agri Cultura, lists several strains of figs grown at the time he wrote his handbook: the Mariscan, African, Herculanean, Saguntine, and the black Tellanian. The fruits were used, among other things, to fatten geese for the production of a precursor of foie gras.

Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed forms, since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well.

Figs are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure. Since many people not only do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but do consume high amounts of sodium as salt is frequently added to processed foods, they may be deficient in potassium. Low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially when coupled with a high intake of sodium, can lead to hypertension. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study, one group ate servings of fruits and vegetables in place of snacks and sweets, and also ate low-fat dairy food. This diet delivered more potassium, magnesium and calcium. Another group ate a “usual” diet low in fruits and vegetables with a fat content like that found in the average American Diet. After eight weeks, the group that ate the enhanced diet lowered their blood pressure by an average of 5.5 points (systolic) over 3.0 points (diastolic). Figs are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber and fiber-rich foods may have a positive effect on weight management.

Before eating or cooking figs, wash them under cool water and then gently remove the stem. Gently wipe dry.

Dried figs can simply be eaten, used in a recipe as is, or simmered for several minutes in water or fruit juice to make them plumper and juicier.
When preparing oatmeal or any other whole grain breakfast porridge, add some dried or fresh figs.

Poach figs in juice or red wine and serve with yogurt or frozen desserts.

Add quartered figs to a salad of fennel, arugula and shaved Parmesan cheese.

Fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and chopped almonds can be served as hors d’oeuvres or desserts.

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

Traveling In My Kitchen

Exploring the world - one recipe at a time

Hungry Pandas

Dinner, Desserts, and Drinks

Miss Raven's Kitchen

Be creative by flying blind

liz kimchii

Your weekly digest of good eats

Nikole's Kitchen

Live a fulfilling life free of deprivation and full of nourishment.

Peckish Couple

Tasty home-cooked recipes

Missy J White

Food | Motherhood | Lifestyle

Web Bloggers United

We are on a mission to bring together all the favorite bloggers' posts on the web in one place...

Orleans County Cuisine

Let us make beautiful food together

Professional Moron

Daily Doses of Silly Humour & Culture