Of all fruits, only three – the blueberry, the Concord grape and the cranberry – can trace their roots to North American soil. The name “cranberry” derives from the Pilgrim name for the fruit, “craneberry,” so called because the small, pink blossoms that appear in the spring resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill crane.

Cranberries are a unique fruit. They can only grow and survive under a very special combination of factors: they require an acid peat soil, an adequate fresh water supply, sand and a growing season that stretches from April to November, including a dormancy period in the winter months that provides an extended chilling period, necessary to mature fruiting buds.

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. Instead, they grow on vines in impermeable beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. These beds, commonly known as “bogs,” were originally made by glacial deposits.

Normally, growers do not have to replant since an undamaged cranberry vine will survive indefinitely. Some vines in Massachusetts are more than 150 years old.

In 1930 the Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. formed as a grower-owned marketing cooperative.

Ingredients & Directions

1 cup plus 2 tbs. all-purpose flour, divided
2 tbs. plus 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup cold butter
2/3 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
2 tbs. fat-free milk
1 tbs. grated orange peel
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup flaked coconut

1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour and 2 tbs. sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in 1/3 cup pecans. Press into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until set.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the egg, egg whites, milk, orange peel, vanilla and remaining flour and sugar. Fold in the cranberries, coconut and remaining pecans. Spread over warm crust. Bake 25-30 minutes longer or until top is golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Yield: 2 dozen.