Cranberries Archives - Eva Varga

November 19, 20131

Native Americans had been gathering cranberries for food, as a dye for blankets, and for medicine long before the first European settlers arrived.  After their arrival in New England, colonists also discovered cranberries and soon thereafter, on sailing ships and in logging camps, cranberries were eaten to ward off scurvy and by the middle of the 19th century, they were being grown on both sides of the continent.

I grew up in a small town on the Oregon coast – where fishing, farming, and logging were prominent.  One of the largest agricultural products harvested in the area were cranberries.  Many of my friends’ families owned bogs and we looked forward to the annual Cranberry Festival each September when we would celebrate the annual harvest season.  A couple years ago, I was delighted to share this experience with my own children as we took a field trip to a bog to see the harvesting of cranberries first hand, Sweet, Tart Cranberries.

The Harvesting of Cranberries

Sadly, we were not able to go this year.  In consolation, we again enjoyed the book, Cranberries by William Jaspershohn.  Though the book focuses on the bogs of Massachusetts, the author does an excellent job of describing the varying harvest methods – wet and dry.  Another title for youth, though one I am not familiar, is Cranberries: Fruit of the Bogs by Diane Burns.

As cranberries are harvested in autumn, it is not surprising that they are commonly found on one’s Thanksgiving table.  In our home, we enjoy cooking the tart berries a variety of recipes year round. One of our favorites is Lingonberry Cake – a small, tart berry native to Norway that is similar to cranberry.

Lingonberry Cake

2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
3/4 cup lingonberry or cranberry preserves

Streusel topping:
2/3 cup oatmeal
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder then cut in the butter with pastry blender. Add the egg and mix well. Spread into a greased 20×30 (8×12″) pan. Spread the preserves over the batter. Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden. Cool in the pan.

I feel it is important for children to understand where our food comes from. Having an understanding of food production and harvesting is important – particularly now with the controversy of GMOs. I encourage you to provide opportunities for your kids to discover the agricultural products in your local area.

Enjoy, but first, here is the Norwegian Table Prayer.

I Jesu navn går vi til bords
å spise, drikke på ditt ord.
Deg, Gud til ære, oss til gavn,
Så får vi mat i Jesu navn.

In Jesus’ name to the table we go
To eat and drink according to His word.
To God the honor, us the gain,
So we have food in Jesus’ name.


This post is part of the Autumn Book & a Big Idea link-up at iHomeschool Network.