The Wake Up Wisconsin got a sweet, tart treat on Garden Goodies this week! The crew enjoyed a cranberry relish. The recipe was given to Justin Loew by the fine folks who own the Ellis, Ellis & Dahlman cranberry company!
Cranberries are a small vining plant that is one of the few berries native to North America. Cranberries naturally grow in acidic damp areas and that is why most original cranberry farms in Wisconsin were started in the swamp country of central Wisconsin.
It is a misconception that cranberries grow in water. They need moist conditions for most of the growing season but they do not grow in water.
Cranberry marshes are only flooded in the Fall for harvesting and over the winter for protection from bitter cold temperatures. Wisconsin is one of the biggest cranberry-growing regions of the world.
Even though commercial production of cranberries occurs in marshes, they can be grown in pots, regular gardens or elevated gardens, they only need the right nutrients. Cranberries seem to do best in sandy soil, but can be grown in other media. I grow them at my house in a miniature marsh. The cranberry crop at my house was the biggest ever this year, perhaps because I split the bed in two a couple of years ago, or because I added a light layer or sand last year, but most likely because this year was a good growing season.
-2 cups (or 1 small bag) of cranberries
-1 small can of crushed pineapple
-zest of one orange
1. In a food processor or blender, lightly chop the cranberries.
2. Mix in the zest (grated outer peel) of the orange and the can of crushed pineapple.
3. Serve on a cracker with cream cheese.
Justin tried this recipe without the zest of the orange. It was tasty, but not as good, he says. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add sugar, but it is meant to be a somewhat tart treat exhibiting the full flavor of the cranberries, and it is healthier without added sugar.