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Nov 22, 2012 11:41 AM

Is Anyone Familiar With Using Wild Cranberries?

Earlier this fall, while in Maine, I picked quite a few wild cranberries, and brought them home and froze them. While smaller, they have a wonderful flavor. I made some scones with them, and they were quite bitter; apparently, I should have sweetened them first, but am not sure how to do that without cooking them. They do make wonderful cranberry sauce; their flavor is much more complex than the cultivated ones. Can anyone give me some good ideas on how to use them?

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  1. For scones, you could toss whole or chopped berries with some sugar, to make sure each berry gets sweetened a little.

    1. I've been doing some research; these are commonly called "lowbush cranberries" by the oldtimers in Maine. That being the case, I believe they may actually be lingonberries. @babettefeasts, thank you for the tip. I was trying to avoid chopping them, and I'm not sure sugaring them whole would penetrate the berries.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jessiet

        No, it wouldn't penetrate, but might help balance things out. They sound delicious.

        1. re: Jessiet

          They may well be. I've foraged wild cranberries on Cape Cod and they were virtually indistinguishable from store-bought. (Except, of course, for the price - it's hard to beat free!)

          1. re: BobB

            These, I believe, are different from the ones you found on Cape Cod. From what I've read, those are usually found in a boggy area. These are not, but are often found in an area where wild blueberries grow. They are much, much smaller than the larger bog berries, and are indeed very special. Also more bitter, so need sugar before baking with them.

        2. There are both low bush cranberries and lingonberries. in the same family, but different. They are usually made into a preserve or a sauce, cooking with sugar to sweeten them up. To use in a bread or muffin you can cook them up with sugar, no water or just a tiny bit, until they are sweet, then drain and save the syrup and add the berries to the muffin batter.

          In Sweden they also serve meatballs in lingonberry sauce, and the sauce is used with many other foods. In what they consider the best preserve they mix the whole berries (or partially crushed berries) with sugar and let sit overnight, and it makes an uncooked preserve. So you could try that. The berries don't need to be chopped and are used whole.

          Lingonberries are considered in the class of superffruits because of their anti-oxidants.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JMF

            JMF, hadn't seen your post before. Sorry. Thank you so much for the tip. They really are wonderful, and with a bit of sugar, I know they will make a wonderful bread or muffin!

          2. Was the plant tall or close to the ground? 'Low bush' or 'high bush'?