Cranberry bogs were cultivated in the northwest during the late 1800’s. The industry had some difficulty getting off the ground between competition from the East Coast bogs and some unwelcome bugs, but ultimately, the bogs have proved their sustainability and today provide livable wages for thousands of Pacific Northwest residents.

In Grayland and Westport, WA, many of the bogs contribute to the Ocean Spray Cooperative. You’ve probably seen at least one this brand’s many juices, dried fruits, or frozen cranberry packages sold at many grocery stores in Washington State and beyond.

Many of the bogs in Grays Harbor can be seen from the road and Westport has put together a self-guided driving tour of the ones within their city. With a museum and walking tours, Longbeach is also a great place to find fresh cranberries and an informative experience.

 

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Your familiarity with cranberries may not extend past eating them in a sauce at Christmas time. But did you know that cranberries have medicinal properties? Cranberries are a “superfood”, high in antioxidants, and the juice is often used by people to combat urinary tract infections. It also makes a delicious wine, as is proven by the Cranberry Road Winery in Westport.

October is harvesting month, so Autumn is a great season to head out and purchase some fresh cranberries and try your hand at some new recipes:

Thanksgiving Day Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup regular sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries

Combine all these ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring them to a boil. Reduce to a gentler boil and stir for about ten minutes. The berries will burst and cook down into a sauce. Allow the sauce to cool and then refrigerate.

Cranberry Apple Pie

  • 2 1/2 pounds apples (about 5-6 medium-sized apples), peeled and sliced – Note: Try using Honey Crisps
  • 1/2 bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Let these ingredients stand for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the apples soften a bit. Place your pie crust into a pie tin and pour the mixed ingredients into the form. Pour cranberries on top and level gently. Cover the top with pie crust, seal, trim, and crimp. Slice some steam vents in the top and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake the pie for 30 minutes.  Place a baking sheet underneath your pie and reduce your oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until your knife slips through the fruit easily and the juice begins to bubble. Let cool 3 hours before serving.