Despite conventional wisdom, cranberries do not originate in gelatinous canned molds; they grow in marshy bogs, on vines. Just before they’re ready to be harvested, the bogs are often flooded with water. The water is then churned, to help extract the berries from the vines. They can also be harvested “dry” with an automatic picking machine. Fresh cranberries have a very tart, sour flavor that is best when tempered with a little sweetness.
HOW TO BUY
When buying fresh cranberries, look for ones that are should be pert, perky, and bright red. Pale or faded color is an indication of top-early harvest (meaning they are under-ripe). However, a few pale pink or green berries always sneak in, and are in no way an indication of an entirely bad batch.
HOW TO STORE
Keep your cranberries in a tightly sealed zip-top bag with the air removed. They’ll keep well for a few weeks, up to a month. If you’re planning on cooking with them at a much later date, freeze them on a rimmed baking sheet (to avoid clumping), and then transfer them into a well-sealed plastic bag. Of course, you can always turn your berries into a sauce, jam, or jelly, and either can or freeze it.
The post How to Buy, Store, and Cook With Cranberries, In Season in October appeared first on Bon Appétit.