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Friday, July 27, 2012 2:07 PM
Until comparatively recently, cranberries were a rare find in our stores, but nowadays they are readily available frozen as well as sweetened and dried – and what would a turkey be without cranberry sauce!
Grown in north-east USA and Canada, and small quantities in north of our South Island, this fresh fruit is seasonally available and cranberries are regarded as having a high anti-oxidant content. They are harvested by flooding of the bogs in which they grow, when the berries float to the surface and can be gathered in. Fresh cranberries, bought in large quantities by Americans – mostly for Thanksgiving – are dry-harvested by what resembles a giant lawn mower, which combs the vines and drops the berries into a sack.
Native Americans knew that cranberries were healthful, mixing them with deer meat to make their survival food, pemmican, and they also used them medicinally and as a dye. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that cranberries began to be harvested commercially.
They have given us another ingredient to widen the scope of our baking, such as in this pear and cranberry loaf, or if you prefer, you can make muffins from the mixture.
Pear and Cranberry Loaf
Delicious for a tea or coffee break – or you can make a custard and serve it as a dessert.
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