words by Jennifer Sperry | cranberry photos courtesy of Cape Cod Select
Like clockwork, a cheery flotilla of glossy red berries, corralled by booms and flanked by idling trucks, means it’s mid-fall in New England, aka cranberry harvest time. The berries, which had been growing and ripening, unassuming, in their patchwork bushes all summer long, are now on full display. Finally, it’s their moment to shine.
For those living in or traveling through "Cranberry Country”—which winds along the South Coast of Massachusetts and into parts of Cape Cod—the harvest is a comforting annual event that signals the richer, more savory flavors of holiday time to come. For the cranberry farmers themselves, the tart crop represents years of cultivation and dedication to both good agriculture and great produce.
Lately, the cranberry has been breaking out of its traditional “holiday” role and redefining itself as an ingredient worthy of all four seasons. We couldn't agree more, and have fallen in love with its versatility. Post-harvest, a cranberry can end up almost anywhere: in juice, jellies, salads, sauces (or in a BBQ sauce, see below) – even cocktails and beer.
When we get in cranberry mode, our favorite source is Cape Cod Select. Available in their online retail store and in major grocery stores, Cape Cod Select's berries, sold fresh or frozen, are always premium, always delicious, because they are grown on the family-run company’s very own bogs.
Called Edgewood Bogs, the 800-acre farm is located in Carver, Mass., in the heart of Cranberry Country, in the same place where cranberry farming began in the early 1800s. Edgewood is unique in that it processes its own crop for maximum quality control but also prioritizes sustainability in terms of water use, efficient bog design, solar power, and more. We prefer our cranberries served with a side of environmental stewardship. Learn more at: www.capecodselect.com.
cranberry bbq sauce
A perfect fall condiment for burgers, grilled chicken or pork, or served with turkey meatballs for an easy game day recipe.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, finely diced
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened and cranberries have popped (you can smash remaining cranberries with back of a spoon). Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve as is or purée for a smoother consistency.
Makes approximately 1 cup.
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