Apple Cranberry Pie Recipe Inspired By The Ocean Spray® Cranberry Classroom
The Ocean Spray® cranberry bog was back in Rockefeller Center® on September 22 to kick off the first day of fall in celebration of America’s favorite fruit! This year marks the bicentennial of the first cultivated cranberry harvest and we got to learn the cranberry’s amazing story of taste, health and heritage in a fun and fruitful way.
It was a fun afternoon filled with learning, tasting and interacting with cranberry growers that were there to represent the over 700 grower families in the Ocean Spray® cooperative.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Stephen Lee IV of Tabernacle, NJ when we were in the bog. Stephen is a sixth-generation cranberry grower located in the heart of the New Jersey Pinelands. Stephen began working full-time with his grandfather, uncle, and father on the cranberry farm in 1999, after a career in hospitality. Today, Stephen manages the day to day operation of Lee Brothers, Inc. with his parents.
Stephen and I had a great conversation about his farm in New Jersey and how receptive people have been to the Ocean Spray® cranberry bog in Rockefeller Center® plaza.
Every farmer that I talked with was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about their business. When you are passionate about the product you produce, it shows!
A fun video showing you our entire adventure:
We got suited up in the chest waders and went for a walk in the bog. If you are going to be pushing cranberries around to be harvested THESE are a MUST. And as my son learned, if you are going to fall down in a bog, chest waders are a MUST for a 6 year old. How water didn’t end up IN the waders is a cranberry miracle!
What you can’t hear in this picture is us have an in depth discussion as to weather it was better to pull or push the cranberries. He was a pusher and I was a puller. Neither of us had done this before and we both thought we were right.
Be sure to check out The Most Beautiful Harvest part of this post to see how the true professionals harvest and push/pull the cranberries.
Fun Facts! Grower Owned Farms By Region
British Columbia – Cranberry farming is the city of Richmond’s largest agricultural industry. The majority of cranberries in British Columbia are used to make dried cranberries and juice drinks.
Chile – Unlike North American cranberries, the Chilean harvest takes place between March and May, providing a counter-seasonal supply of cranberries.
Massachusetts– Home to the first cranberry harvest in 1816. Today, the cranberry is the official state berry and color. Cranberry Juice Cocktail is the official state drink.
New Jersey – Home to more than 2,600 acres of cranberry bogs and Thomas Darlington, the inventor of the first dry harvesting machine, the Darlington Picker.
Oregon – Growers call harvesting “mining for red gold.” History goes back to 1885, when Charles Dexter McFarlin started the state’s first cranberry bog, still in operation.
Washington – Because of the longer growing season on the Pacific Coast, berries from Washington are darker in color.
Wisconsin – Boasts more than 150 years of cranberry growing history. Today, cranberry vines cover nearly 18,000 acres in 19 counties.
I LOVE Numbers. The Amazing Cranberry By The Numbers
400,000,000 ~ Pounds of cranberries consumed by Americans each year. 20% of that is during Thanksgiving week – 80 million pounds!
5,062,500 ~ Gallons of jellied cranberry sauce Americans consume every holiday season.Ocean Spray® produces one can of cranberry sauce per family per year on average – that’s more than 70 million cans!
120,000 ~ Number of people who call theOcean Spray® Consumer Helpline each year for recipe ideas, product information and brochures. The most popular question? “Why won’t my cranberry sauce gel?”
4,400 ~ Number of pressed cranberries it takes to make one gallon of cranberry juice.
76% ~ Percentage of Americans who serve store-bought cranberry sauce at their Thanksgiving meals versus homemade sauce.
4,400,000 ~ Miles a garland would stretch if you strung all the cranberries produced in North America last year together. That’s eight trips to the moon and back!
8 ~ Towns in the U.S. that are named “Cranberry” or some variation of the name.
The Ocean Spray® Cranberry Classroom
We were divided into four groups and they kids all got to have a brief lesson and interaction with the teacher. They went over the history of the the cultivated cranberry. This year marks the bicentennial of the first cultivated cranberry harvest and I was fascinated by all the facts.
The kids listened intently and had fun being able to place items on a timeline. They covered a lot of information in a short amount of time and I was impressed at how well the kids retained the information. I know I learned more about cranberries in those 15 minutes than I have in my adult life.
If you want to catch up with the class here are some notes on what you missed:
11,700 years ago ~ Bogs are formed – Scientists discovered that bogs were made by glacial deposits thousands of years ago. Many bogs began as ponds and small lakes called kettle holes that were created when glaciers began to separate from one another.
1550~ Earliest reference to Native Americans using cranberries in New England – Native Americans ate cranberries on their own, baked into bread or combined with fat and ground venison to create pemmican to eat on long journeys. They also believed cranberries had medicinal properties and were used to dye rugs and blankets.
1620 ~ The cranberry is named – The cranberry gets its name from Dutch and German settlers, who called it “crane berry.” When the vines bloom in the late spring and the flowers’ light pink petals twist back, they have a resemblance to the head and bill of a crane. Over time, the name was shortened to cranberry.
1621 ~ Pilgrims learn to use cranberries from the Native Americans – Legend has it that cranberries were served at the first Thanksgiving along with wild turkey, beans, and corn. 1663 ~ The secret of sauce – A recipe for cranberry sauce is featured in the Pilgrim Cookbook of 1663. 1816 ~ The wild berry is tamed – The first commercially grown cranberries were cultivated in Dennis, Mass., after Captain Henry Hall observed that wild cranberries produced more fruit when sand blew onto the vines. Today, his original bogs are still in production and sanding is an industry-wide practice.
1850 ~ Vitamin C on the high seas – During the days of wooden ships and iron men, American vessels carried cranberries. Just as the English loved limes, American sailors craved cranberries. It was the cranberry’s generous supply of vitamin C that prevented scurvy. 1900’s ~ Careers in cranberries – During the early 1900’s many immigrants came to American in search of greater economic opportunity. The rapidly growing cranberry industry provided just that for the Finns, Cape Verdeans, Italians and Native Americans. Many descendants of these early laborers now run their own cranberry businesses. 1912 ~ Commercial cranberry sauce is created – Marcus Urann, one of the founders of Ocean Spray invented cranberry sauce in 1912. 1940’s ~ Canning innovation – Canned cranberry sauce played an important role in the initial canned food movement in the 1940’s. During World War II, many canned food products were developed for military use, as they could be stored for long periods of time and were easy to prepare and eat on the battle field.
The Most Beautiful Harvest
One of the COOLEST things we got to experience was The Most Beautiful Harvest. Ocean Spray launched the “Most Beautiful Harvest” experience in 2015 using Oculus Rift technology. The Most Beautiful Harvest experience was designed to celebrate the beauty of the cranberry harvest – showcasing the fruit’s journey from bog to bottle.With the help of Google Cardboard we were able to be fully immersed in a 360-degree view of a bog. It was the next best thing to being there!
Don’t have the Google Cardboard?
Just click on the browser-friendly 360 degree experience. When the video tells you to take control of the camera, use your mouse or arrows to move the camera in any direction. It is like using the Google Cardboard, with out moving your head as you would with the cardboard.
It is a BEAUTIFUL expereince either way.
Bog In A Cup
The kids had a great time creating a bog in a cup! This hands on learning expereince gave them first hand knowledge of what it takes to propagate a cranberry vine.
In chatting with one of the farmers I asked him how often do they replant the vines. He told me that an aggressive farmer will replant every 25 years. There is no need to replant each year like I have to replant my tomato and pepper plants. The only reason to replant would be to start a new variety that had been developed as a hybrid or to refresh a section of the bog that had been taken over by disease. He told me that some of his vines are over 200 years old! Now THAT is a heritage crop! After all the conversations about the fabulous cranberry and meeting the families who grow them I went home inspired to update one of my favorite apple pie recipes to include cranberries! I started with my recipe for Practically Perfect Pie Crust and inspiration took over from there.
Enjoy my recipe for Apple Cranberry Pie
- 1 recipe Practically Perfect Pie Crust
- 1 1/2 pounds tart apples (I use Granny Smith) Peeled, cored and sliced thin
- 1 cup fresh Ocean Spray® cranberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
When rolling out your pie dough, remember that flour is your friend and to take your time. Rolling out pie dough is not a race.
To ensure your bottom pie crust is large enough to fill the pie plate, place the pie plate on top of the rolled out crust. If the dough extends a few inches beyond the dish, you are good to go.
Combine the apples, Ocean Spray® cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, all-purpose flour, finely grated lemon zest, salt thoroughly in a bowl. I love adding a hint of salt to sweet items! It just enhances the flavors!
Fill your crust lined pie plate with the apple cranberry mixture and dot with the butter. It is a running joke in our house that we always forget the butter! Because, we alway do! Just don’t forget the butter.
Roll out a second ball of pie dough and top the pie. I decorated this one by cutting out little circles. I am also a big fan of lattice topped pies. Check out how easy it is! Fold the top crust over the bottom crust and crimp closed. Cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400, remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minute or until pie is bubbly and golden brown. Enjoy!!
Thank you to Ocean Spray for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.
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