**Please see Highbush Cranberries 2 – the Sequel for the previous posting on this subject **
Listen ! I’ve tried ! God knows I’ve tried !
Sounds like my dad discussing me, with the camp counselor, or a Sunday school teacher, or maybe his pastor, or possibly our neighbours, the PTA, strangers on the bus, or (he went to his grave unaware that I knew about this one) that guy in the cottage across the lake from ours !
However, I digress, before I’ve even started. The subject here is the incredibly disappointing Highbush Cranberry. I dare say, even more disappointing than I was to my afore-mentioned father. I don’t give a rat’s rectum which species of highbush crapberries you pick. ‘Cause none of them have a single redeeming feature, even if you could successfully distinguish one from the other. The only way I could positively tell them apart was to nibble on one and count to 10. If I then felt compelled to shave my tongue and eat dog crap to get the taste out of my mouth, I’d know it was one of the good bush species. I don’t even wanna talk about the bad ones. Think about it alright ? … the damned birds won’t eat them ! What does that tell you ?
Then, as I posted earlier on this subject, there’s the aroma as you boil them down. After searching my past for a more accurate description than my last post on this subject, I hit upon an old memory scent. Heay guys, do you remember camping as kids ? Do you remember how you put the campfire out … for the night … without getting a bucket of water from the lake ? Yeah !! That’s the smell ! And they don’t taste any better ‘n that either.
As for me, I blame the authors of the field guide we bought. I should’ve known something was amiss when they showed a picture of a sumac with the caption “Red Elderberries”. In this same guide, highbush cranberries were described as highly edible, which also supposedly denotes their palatability. I’m glad I already knew raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are delicious ‘cause who knows what that guide would’ve told me ?
Though, to be fair, I’ll admit to desperately wanting to like them. I mean, now all that’s left are wild grapes and then snow. I suppose I should be satisfied in finding that chokecherries make delicious jelly and wine. The red currants made great jam and jelly too. The elderberries make a pretty good jam reminiscent of blueberries, Just last night I made a small batch of gooseberry jam. Tasty, but like elderberry, you need to exercise a few day’s patience for the seeds to soften up in the jar. Ranger reminded me on our last outing that he’s looking forward to tasting homemade elderberry wine. I looked up a recipe and if he wants elderberry wine, we’ve got a whole lot more foraging to do yet ! Fortunately, I know where there are still 2 good sites to gather more. Unfortunately, they’re both public parks. The one is rarely used, except by curious hookers, nosey cops, and “2 old guys walking” (I’ll explain that one some other time). However, I’ll need Ranger to run distraction action at the other park as it’s rather popular (unless of course, we run across another curious hooker and nosey cop). Anyway, that’s my take on the consumption of highbush cranberries.
However, as I think of it, I suppose they do have one redeeming feature. A more beautifully formed, and translucently colored berry cluster you’d be hard pressed to find. It’s difficult to imagine how such a delightful treat to the eyes can be such a heinous crime on the palate.