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Highbush Cranberry

The bright red fruits (and reddening leaves) of Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum opulus) are starting to appear.  Contrary to that which its name implies, this shrub is not a cranberry – it is a Viburnum, a member of the Caprifoliaceae, or Honeysuckle, family. The fruit resembles cranberries, matures in the fall like cranberries, is tart tasting, and is rich in Vitamin C like cranberries, all of which most likely contributed to its common name.

The fruit is acidic and persists through the winter.  It is more or less a “last resort” food source for birds, but those birds that do eat it prefer to do so after the fruit has been frozen and thawed, which reduces the acidic content.  People also consume the fruit in the form of jellies, jams, juice and smoothies.  A recipe for juice, from http://www.ediblewildfood.com follows:

Highbush Cranberry Juice

Ingredients

3 cups water

2 cups highbush cranberries (they can remain on the wooden umbels so long as they look healthy)

2 cups orange juice

1 tsp. maple syrup

Instructions

Bring water to boil then turn stove off. Place the berries into the water and slightly mash. Let sit 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, thoroughly strain. Allow this cranberry liquid to thoroughly cool. Once cool, add the orange juice and maple syrup; stir. Store in fridge up to 5 days.

 

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7 responses

  1. Jan McIntyre

    We had a highbush cranberry many years ago which was devastated by the viburnum leaf beetle,so we never purchased another one. Some nurseries aren’t selling them because of the problem. Are you noticing the issue lately? Jan

    On Fri, Sep 4, 2020, 8:02 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “The bright red fruits (and reddening leaves) of > Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum opulus) are starting to appear. Contrary to > that which its name implies, this shrub is not a cranberry – it is a > Viburnum, a member of the Caprifoliaceae, or Honeysuckle, family” >

    September 4, 2020 at 8:09 am

  2. Wow! Very interesting! Thank you once again for your abundant knowledge! 🙂 ❤

    September 4, 2020 at 8:24 am

  3. Thank you so much for this!

    September 4, 2020 at 8:26 am

  4. Alice

    Lovely photo. Tasty sounding recipe. It’s good to learn more about ‘wild edibles.’ I love purslane, on a hardboiled egg sandwich, or just plain from the plant. We have tall lamb’s quarter, but I haven’t cooked it, yet.

    September 4, 2020 at 8:48 am

  5. Evergreen Erb

    We have a high bush cranberry that just grew itself on our driveway, and I just love the way it looks. The fruit may be tart, but it is a gorgeous color red. Thanks for the recipe!

    September 4, 2020 at 9:52 am

  6. Great recipe, but I would use apple juice for a sweeter taste.

    September 5, 2020 at 6:32 pm

  7. Faith Bieler

    HI MARY, We have been seeing 1 Bittern in fields around our pond for 2 weeks. He/she has also traveled to a neighboring pond not far away and back to us. It is definitely a Bittern. Can y9u t4ell me anything abut this behavior?

    Your friend Faith. Many thanks for responding!

    >

    September 6, 2020 at 7:27 pm

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