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Nov 20, 2013 09:23 AM

Fresh (?) cranberries at the market

Our Fresh Market has a bin of cranberries floating in water, and I suppose that means they are fresher than the packaged kind. They are also double the price of the packaged kind, which leads me to ask, is there any benefit here in buying the floating ones? They are smaller than the ones you see from Ocean Spray, but otherwise would they cook differently?

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  1. Well I think it's sort of cool, and easier than wading out for them yourself. Hope to see them locally in the near future. If I was feeling in a holiday mood, guess I'd try them, just to see the difference (so if you do, let us know). Doubt the cooking method would be that different, I'm just now off to make my Grand Marnier cranberry orange sauce for next week, don't think I'd have to change it all that much! I know people that have their secret bogs, and I never heard any big deal about the preparation.

    1. I doubt you'd find a difference. I've foraged wild cranberries (can't get any fresher than that!) and they tasted just like store-bought. Can't beat the price though (free is good).

      1. a bag here is $2.50 more or less. i wouldn't pay $5 for a pound of cranberries floating -- even if i were to use them whole. i doubt they were shipped in the water. are they locally gathered there in your area? is that it?

        11 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          I really don't think it is. We're in the Ozarks and as far as I know there's no cranberry growing done around here.

          But this is at a Fresh Market and while they do some things well they also sometimes tart things up for appearance sake. Or maybe if you sell cranberries open in bulk it's best to store them in water, like asparagus.

          1. re: ennuisans

            mmm, you may have a point on it being the optimum display for non-bruising/freshness (since that is their natural environment). maybe it is to keep them from drying out too quickly.

            1. re: alkapal

              Actually, having grown up around cranberry bogs, I can tell you that's a myth - sitting in water is not what cranberries do most of the time. They need plenty of irrigation, true, but during the growing season the plants are above water level. In most places they are flooded in the fall to facilitate harvesting, though some crops are hand-picked without flooding, and these are in fact the better-quality berries (less bruising). What Fresh Market was doing is just a stunt, not a quality-based practice.

              When I foraged them (on Cape Cod) it was in a meadow surrounded by woods, not a bog. And they were excellent quality.

              1. re: BobB

                thanks for clarifying that, bobB. a stunt, huh? maybe ennuisans needs to go to the store with some waders and tell the produce manager that he wants to harvest some berries.

                1. re: BobB

                  oops, teach me not to read all the way down before posting...

                  1. re: BobB

                    The Ocean Spray guys standing waist-deep in floating berries hawking their product are totally Madison Avenue contrived - just as much as one Mr. Thomas closing his London shop in 1846 and bringing English muffins to America. As they say in New England - "Hogwarsh."

                2. re: ennuisans

                  I suspect this is a case of "tarting things up for appearance sake". IIRC, cranberries aren't grown in water, the fields are merely flooded at harvest time to make the harvesting easier.

                  So I wouldn't pay double the price, if I were you. May well be a gimmick.

                  1. re: ePressureCooker

                    epc, you can genuinely say now that "great minds think alike."

                    1. re: alkapal

                      That, and being more familiar with growing things than most people are. I garden, and I once had a friend (an attorney, no less) say something about, doesn't lettuce grow underground? Umm, no, actually. ;D Clearly, not a gardener, and more than a little startling coming from a VEGETARIAN!

                      1. re: ePressureCooker

                        Around here, one of the farm stands jokes about the time a tourist asked where the pumpkin trees were.

                        1. re: coll

                          Yeah. After the other person present (grew up in Iowa) and I finished laughing at her, we had the vegetarian go through and tell us where she thought all the produce came from: trees, under the ground, leafy plant, etc. She was wrong A LOT. It was quite amusing.