Last spring while I was out looking for a geocache I took a “shortcut” back to the car. I quickly regretted it, as the shortcut led me into a bog and my shoes were getting soaked. It turned out to be rather fortuitous though, because the bog was filled with wild cranberries. There were still berries on the plants even after the winter. I decided I would return when the new cranberries were out.

I’ve thought about that bog many times since then, and even a few times after the new berries came in. But it wasn’t until today that I made time to pick some.

The bog is in a very surprising place. It doesn’t look anything like a bog.

Cranberry bog? Yes.

Cranberry bog? Yes.

This bog is on a power line right of way. Indeed, this is where the infamous “Northern Pass” project would go if it were ever approved. I don’t know if it will be approved or not, as it is very nearly universally loathed by the New Hampshire public. But power companies have deep pockets, so who knows?

That aside. I went to the bog/power line right-of-way today after lunch. The plan was to pick some cranberries until it was time to go to Durham to fetch Jonathan from college.

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

I had about a cup of them in my little food storage tub when my phone rang. It was Va, and her “check engine” light was on. So I abandoned the bog, drove to Walmart, and bought a gallon of 5W20. Then I met her at the church and added half of that to the engine.

Don’t know if that’s why the light was on or not, but that’s what the car has been doing. My mechanic can’t find an oil leak, and the plugs are clean as a whistle. But it goes through oil. I’m taking it in again next week. But that’s an aside.

School was almost out, and I thought Beth might like to pick some cranberries with her old dad. And I was right. We ran a few errands, and then went back to the bog.

My helper

My helper

We picked about a quart, which was all I needed for a recipe I had heard on NPR (not Susan Stamberg’s recipe, but a different one).

Then we headed to Durham to fetch Jonathan. He came riding up on his bike just as we parked in his lot. He disappeared into his dorm to get his laundry, etc, and then popped out again. I made him drive home.

He had a good week at school.

After we got home, and after we ate supper, I got out my cranberries and washed them off. I also had to pick the stems off each berry. That’s a lot of work! With the berries clean, I hopped on the Innerwebs to find that recipe, but all I could seem to find was Susan Stamberg’s. I guess a read a dozen recipes for cranberry relish, and I figured that gave me about all the info I needed. I made up my own.

  • 4 cups WILD cranberries, picked today.
  • zest from one orange
  • 1/2 cup water
  • innards from one orange
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon

Wash the cranberries and remove the stems. I guess they don’t really have to be wild or picked today, but since that’s all I had…

Put the cranberries in a sauce pan. Grate off some orange zest into the pan until you get tired of grating off orange zest. Then slice the orange in half and scoop the innards into the pan. Add half a cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tbsp of cinnamon. Mix it all together and bring to a boil. I guess I boiled it for 20 minutes. I stopped when 90% of the cranberries had burst open. I thought about boiling it until all of them did, but decided I liked being able to see a few whole berries in there.

Then I poured it into a plastic storage dish. Thought better of that, and poured it into a ceramic bowl. You could skip the plastic storage dish step if you’d like. I will next time. I covered it with plastic wrap and popped it in the fridge. It’s supposed to sit in there for two hours, and maybe it has been two hours by now.

I’d take a picture, but I’d have to clean the kitchen to Va’s satisfaction first, and I don’t want to do that. I can’t eat a quart of cranberry relish before it goes bad all by myself (and no one in my family is interested in trying it), so I will take it to our potluck lunch at church tomorrow.

Maybe I’ll take a picture of it then.