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Slow Food Edmonton Highbush Cranberry Foray

09.29.11

Headed out this evening to hit the urban bush with a bunch of Slow Food Edmonton members. I organized the event hoping it would be an easy, casusal way to get us like minded folk outdoors enjoying some wild food and good company – maybe even expose some folks to something new that grows in their own backyard. Turns out it was a success on all those fronts. Everybody went home with wild fruit this evening. Some folks will work with it in their kitchens for the first time. Some will enjoy it at a local fine restaurant whose chef cares enough about food to get into the bush to forage for it.

I quite simply equate the highbush cranberry to stinky french cheese – something distinctive, odorous [some compare it to stinky feet], that speaks to place and even time. Something that we should be proud of as having thoughtfully and skillfully integrated into our local food culture. I think there’s still a long way to go, especially with us younger generations. We have an ingredient of character in our own backyard, and hardly know what it looks like nevermind what to do with it.

As I’m prone to avoid recipes, I’ll point you in Karlynn’s direction re: a recipe for highbush cranberry jelly. What I can help with is its uses. It’s fine on toast in the morning, but in my opinion has met its proper fate on a plate with the wild game meats that live in the same bush. So get yourself some wild game, or even farmed elk, bison, venison, whatever, and give it a shot with some highbush cranberry jelly. It’s terroir food.

3 Responses

  1. Deb Krause says:

    out at my sister’s acreage the smell of highbush cranberries is everywhere! and her wildlife cam has been photographing a black bear wandering about the trails for the past week.
    She hasn’t gone berry picking… but there is already a large bag of berries sitting in the freezer, waiting for someone to be ambitious enough to make jelly :)

  2. Erin says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it. This post spoke to me as I grew up trudging though the west country on the search for these little red gems everytime my mother caught wind of their stench. I grew up eating highbush cranberry jelly instead of cranberry sauce everytime we had turkey. It’s a fantastic little berry, glad to see it being appreciated!

  3. ns says:

    I didn’t get to pick HBCs this year, just not able too when they were best. But I have Saskatoons and Chokecherries. Also, missed out on crabapples!! which I love for chutney and just about anything, instead of pectin.

    And darn!! I have missed your posts. Now I clicked on the little envelope to subscribe by e-mail, but I don’t seem to get anything. What should happen?

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