Judith Krall-Russo, fellow Certified Tea Specialist and Food Historian, who calls the American Cranberry “The Queen of the Bog” writes:
“The large American cranberry is one of a few fruits that are native to only North America. Native Americans prized this tart berry using them not only for food, but also as a medicine and a fabric dye. Drying the berries with bear fat, deer meat and wild herbs provided a survival food known as pemmican for the harsh winter months. Also, the European settlers found that the berries were one of the few fruits that would last well into the winter and provide them with the much-needed vitamin C. And, early American sailors kept barrels of cranberries on the ship avoid getting scurvy.
Since the cranberry did not begin to be cultivated until around the 1830’s it was important for families to gather the wild berries in the fall. Families picked the precious fruit by hand. Children were not expected to attend school during the harvest season in order to help their family gather the berries. In New Jersey it was against the law to pick cranberries before October 10th. If you were discovered with “unlawful” cranberries you would be fined, and the ill-gotten berries taken from you.
The beautiful tart cranberry has become the perfect accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner and the Christmas Holidays. However, the cranberry is perfect for the whole year. They are delicious in salads, stuffing, gravies, muffins, cakes and icy sorbets. Enjoy the cranberry all year long!”
This month we are celebrating the many ways this simple crimson fruit can be used.
I’m sure that many of you fondly remember making strings of popcorn and fresh cranberries to adorn the Christmas tree. For years, my favorite floral arrangement has been to pack a clear glass vase with fresh whole cranberries, then fill with cold water before arranging white roses, carnations or daisies in the vase. The bold red contrasting with the simple flowers makes a stunning floral display. Couldn’t be easier!
Or how about a floating candle decoration? Fill a glass jar with water, pine tips, fresh cranberries and top with a white floating candle for a long-lasting display.
To continue with the same theme, freeze cranberries into ice cubes to keep your holiday spirits cold.
There are so many cranberry recipes that it was hard to choose which ones to share with you. We finally settled on Cranberry & Orange Scones, Cranberry Eggnog Trifle and Cranberry Wassail with Tea. These recipes can be found in the recipe section of our web page and will be served at our Open House from 10- 5 pm on Saturday, December 14th. Location: 545 Warm Springs Avenue, Martinsburg, WV 25404.
Just a reminder that for those who live within driving distance our premises will be open to the public until 5 p.m. on Friday, December 20th. The 20th is also the last day to place an order on-line before Christmas. If you place an order it will NOT be shipped until after December 30th.
Everyone here at The Larkin Tea Company wishes you and your family
A Wonderful Holiday and a Joyful and Happy New Year.