Low-bush Cranberries

KevinForaging, From The Wild, Wild Fruits9 Comments

At a recent farm stay over the weekend, the smell was everywhere – that pungent, somewhat stinky odor…not of manure, but of fall cranberries. I looked, and looked, and looked – nothing. Until I looked down instead of up. I’m good and used to harvesting high-bush cranberries, and even have some planted in my yard, but have never come across the low-bush variety, although I knew they existed. Hardly breaking 3′, they took a while to find but once we did the plants themselves were everywhere. The bad news was these low bushes yielded a small fraction of what a mature tree-sized [12-14’+] highbush variety will put out. After a good effort at picking, only a sheet pan one layer thick was the result. It was like picking wild blueberries. But I’ll take it.

For details on making jelly, check out Karlynn’s recent write up on the high-bush berries. My spartan yield will be enough to flavour a few sauces, garnish a few plates – but again, I’ll take it. These little things are vastly underrepresented in our regional food culture. People dig stinky cheese – perhaps it’s time to embrace the stinky berry.

9 Comments on “Low-bush Cranberries”

  1. Karlynn

    I’m thinking my cranberry jelly would be amazing with some of that goats cheese you are tasting this Saturday…sigh.

  2. Allan Suddaby

    So are these just young high-bush cranberries or a different variety altogether? Do they have the same three-lobed leaves that turn red about this time of year? Do they taste any different?

  3. Pingback: Highbush Cranberry-fest « Kevin Kossowan

  4. MikeH

    You wouldn’t by any chance have any low bush cranberry seeds, would you? I’ve been search everywhere but with no luck.

  5. maryon

    To funny the photo is high bush cranberry. Low bush don, t have a stock or leaves

  6. Anna

    Low bush cranberries are all over the Yukon. They are excellent in jellies, muffins, pies. I would love to find a place to pick them in central Alberta!

  7. Naomi

    The photo is not of low bush cranberry but high bush and the low bush do not have the pungent smell that high bush have. They are also known as lingonberries.

  8. Kenna MacKenzie

    Hi everyone. Just to get a little more confusing -the common name, lowbush cranberry, is used for two genera. Two species of Vaccinium: small cranberry or swamp cranberry (V. oxycoccos) and lignonberry (V. vitis-idaea). As well, a species of Viburum (V. edule) is know as lowbush cranberry – this is what Kevin is describing. And, it is related to highbush cranberry (Viburum trilobum). I haven’t seen V. edule myself but suspect it would have the same characterics as V. trilobum.

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