Sometimes our best intentions can be met with utter failure. This was the case for my most recent adventure. Remember those highbush cranberry trees in my mini tree plantation? Now that we’ve had a few frosts I decided to give them a try by making them into a simple berry sauce.
Collecting them from the tree, the first most apparent thing you notice is the rank smell. Now some websites I’ve read mentioned that they have a musk, but lemme tell you there’s a difference between musk and outright nauseating putrid smell!! The berries were, in one word, repulsive. I’ve been having my doubts with these berries since I first saw them, and this awful smell only worstened my fears.
I cooked them up inside with the windows closed. This was a mistake of large proportions. It was fun to explode the little berries while they were cooking, and they did start to develop a suggestion of a sweet aroma, but it never got close to overtaking the putrid musk.
Once simmered, they were strained to seperate juice/jam from skin/seeds. They have cute little heart-shaped discs for seeds, and the red juice seems to have the potential as a stain. The skins can be seperated from the seeds easily by rinsing and floating in water.
A ton of sugar was added to the saucy jam, then back on the heat for some more cooking.
Then the taste test.
Oh no. Eew. Eeeewww!!! OH GOD! What IS this!? Did people actually EAT this!?
The taste goes something like this: “hmm, tart, sweet, not so bad… wait eew, gross, it tastes like puke!!! Nooooo!!!”
A complete failure. Maybe I did something wrong. Next year I’ll harvest the berries before the first frost to minimize the nasty odour and hopefully there will be potential for a yummy sauce… But I can tell you now that post-frost these berries are GROSS. If mthose results also fail I will probably chop down the trees and transform that area of the farm into something more productive, perhaps crops or a mini orchard.
Birds love the berries though. Know why? Birds can’t taste their awfulness! The highbush cranberry tree also has decorative uses, it is indeed a pretty tree to watch through the seasons. But in my opinion they simply have no edible use for us humans. Sure, maybe back hundreds of years ago they could have been interesting to eat especially considering they are available during the dead of winter, but my palette is simply not one that needs to be subjected to such a horrendous flavour! This just goes to show you that just cause something is technically edible doesn’t mean it’s yummy.