Cranberry HARVEST!

The air is crisp and you can feel the ground pulsating to the rhythm of a water pump. From afar it almost looks like the cleanup of an oil spill. Workers in Waders use huge booms to corral a common substance to the side. But as you get closer you realize this is no tragedy, this is AWESOME! 50 shades of red, white, and everything in between float on the surface. What are these magical floating berries?? CRANBERRIES of course, and it is harvest time!

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For the last few days I have stalked all the cranberry bogs around me, waiting impatiently for this time-honored tradition of harvest. Why? It felt right. Cranberries remind me of Christmas time as a young girl when my mom and I would string them together into a garland (sometimes with popcorn).

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I stole these two pictures from the internet.

Cranberries remind me of my mom’s tangy homemade cranberry-orange sauce, her Pinot Grigio spritzers, and in general, just her. She LOVED cranberries. She snuck them into a lot of her recipes and raved about their levels of antioxidants.

As I watched the harvest I couldn’t help but smile thinking about her. She lived for this sort of thing.

The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association says:

Of all fruits, only three – the blueberry, the Concord grape and the cranberry can trace their roots to North American soil.001

Cranberries are our roots.

Even the Native Americans were infatuated by these little berries of heaven… Or were they just starving? Tell me Plimoth Plantation.

Cranberries are COOL.

You absolutely need to check out a cranberry harvest in person. No picture or video can give this epic event justice…. but I will try. This is a combination of two bogs, on two separate days. You are not crazy if you think they look different.

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This is a wet harvest where the bog is flooded to make cranberry juice. For the harvest of Craisins® or the fresh bags of cranberries you see at the grocery store, the cranberries must be picked by the dry method. I have yet to see a dry harvest. Will someone invite me to one next year??? I swear I am not desperate (ha ha).

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The water pump in use…. so vintage, I love it!

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Once they flood the bog, they use these adorable almost Jerry-rigged machines to loosen the berries.

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Then they corral the berries.

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Load them in the truck, and WOW that was out of this world like NASA.

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Time to get cooking!!!

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Foraging for Quahogs- From Nature to Table

A few weeks ago, when it wasn’t freakin’ freezing out, I went hunting for quahogs! Oddly, a lot of people don’t even know what they are… but basically, a quahog is just a giant clam. Back in the day, the Native Americans would grind down, shape, and use the quahog shells as ‘wampum,’ or currency to trade with the Pilgrims.  Getting all nerdy on you, I know. I couldn’t help myself…they are simply too GORGEOUS!

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Wampum jewelry TODAY. how purddyyy

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A dolphin… are you KIDDING ME??! How adorable

Pretty cool stuff….but what’s even cooler is the fact that the actual quahog itself is DELICIOUS! You can use them in chowder, stuffies, or if you want to eat like an ole’ Yankee, just steam the quahogs (whole) with garlic, white wine, and lemon. My favorite since I love to eat & get ‘stuffed like a quahog,’ is the stuffie.

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NOM NOM

I live fairly close to New Bedford, America’s Portuguese mecca… so, I used my findings to make Emeril Lagasse’s stuffies. Which highlighted of course, local Chorizo.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/hildas-stuffies-recipe2.html#!

They turned out pretty bomb

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Cut the chorizo much smaller than you would think and ENJOY! BTW this picture was taken before I baked them…. don’t think I served quahogs with just a slab of compound butter on top. Although, it probably wouldn’t hurt.

Get dipped in BUTTAH!!

What should I do with the shells I saved? Do you like this wreath?

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