My Thanksgiving Day would not be complete without the traditional consumption of cranberries. The North American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), which is likely what I ate, is the fruit of a vine that thrives in bogs in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. Think the “Pine Barrens” of New Jersey. Really. Cranberries destined for juice and sauce are usually “wet harvested.”¬†Farmers flood the cranberry beds, shake the vines, and collect the floating berries. Harvesting fresh berries requires a dry approach, picking the fruit directly from the vine. Native Americans used wild cranberries for food and dye, and, yes, they probably did introduce cranberries to the Europeans who arrived on their shores. For that I am grateful.

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