Cranberries: From Bog to Table

In the spirit of the season, today’s post is all about cranberries. You know, those tasty, nutrient-dense, little red morsels … you most likely passed them (or passed them by—folks usually love ’em or hate ’em) around your Thanksgiving table last week. And maybe you’ll enjoy them again at a Christmas feast. Their bright-red hues bring a festive touch to any holiday meal.

When I think cranberries, I think New England, where many of the cranberries in the U.S. are grown and harvested. I don’t think my neighboring Washington state … until now. Turns out, Washington state is the fifth largest cranberry-producing state in the U.S. Who knew?

And cranberries are grown in a unique, almost other-worldly setting called a cranberry bog. According to Cranberries.org, “[Cranberries] can grow and survive only under a very special combination of factors. These factors include acid peat soil, an adequate fresh water supply, and a growing season that extends from April to November. Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. These beds are commonly known as bogs or marshes and were originally created by glacial deposits. Commercial bogs use a system of wetlands, uplands, ditches, flumes, ponds and other water bodies that provide a natural habitat for a variety of plant and animal life.”

This gorgeous slideshow of cranberry production in Washington state will make you appreciate these little gems even more. And here are a couple of holiday-inspired recipes to get your creative cranberry juices flowing!

Day-after Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwiches

Today’s Recipe: Cranberry-Ginger Mini Custard Pies

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Who Let the Cow In?

Ah, geez …

Wait, before I go on, let me throw out this disclaimer:

If you’re allergic to cuteness (or cows), cut your losses and get outta here while you still can.

Still there?

I knew you’d risk it.

You will be duly rewarded with smiles …

The video below chronicles what happened when Pennsylvania farm mom Billie Jo Decker discovered an unexpected house guest hanging out with her 5-year-old daughter, Breanna. Be sure to keep watching to the halfway point and beyond if you can stand the sweetness:

In a YouTube update a couple of months ago, Billie Jo admitted that Izzy the Cow has secured a pretty solid place in the family. “Izzy has turned into quite the spoiled cow. She is literally like dealing with a 2-year-old child throwing tantrums,” she said. “If she is not in the mood to share my company, well, let’s just say she MOOOOOOVES it out of the way. She is a very jealous cow and doesn’t like to share Mom’s attention.”

Izzy is a bit big for house visits now (she makes an appearance in this video). Hmmm … maybe Breanna needs a mini Jersey?