Cranberry is an invaluable plant in terms of its benefits. In winter, she can help out with colds, vitamin deficiencies, and simply add a spicy variety to the diet. The scope of its application is very wide, so the issues of long-term storage of berries are relevant for any family.
Fresh berries can be used to make fruit drinks, compotes, jellies. Dried ones are suitable for hot drinks that warm up in the winter season.
In the old days, no special tricks were used to store berries. The berries, harvested in September-October, were sorted out and sprinkled in a thin layer somewhere in a dry place. She could mature on her own.
The ability of cranberries to keep fresh for a long time and not spoil directly depends on the percentage of organic acids that it contains. The higher the acidity of the berry, the longer it will be stored.
From this point of view, it seems justified to pick slightly unripe cranberries in the "white barrel" phase. There is a lot of acid in it, it is quite hard, it does not wrinkle. In addition, an unripe berry is capable of ripening.
In order for the harvested cranberries to ripen at home, a clean towel is placed on the bottom of a wicker basket or cardboard box and the berries are carefully shifted. It is important that the berry is only slightly unripe. If the fruits are completely white, there will be no sense.
Next, the basket is placed in a dry place at room temperature. Under these conditions, cranberries ripen within one to two weeks. After that, it can be laid for long-term storage.
If you put a ripe tomato or apple in a container with ripening cranberries, the process will go faster. This is due to the release of ethylene gas from the fruits.
And yet, as the Russian proverb says: "Each vegetable has its own time." Cranberries harvested unripe, even after ripening, do not acquire their characteristic taste, aroma and juiciness. The highest quality berry is taken in late autumn, when it has already become dark red or even purple.
Late fall cranberries are softer and harder to pick. But its taste is sweeter, the bitterness is smoother, and the vitamin content is maximal. There are several ways to save this healthy berry for the winter.
This method avoids the loss of vitamins, which is inevitable with other methods of conservation. This is done like this:
In winter, such a berry can be used to make jelly, sauces for meat, fillings for pancakes and pies.
This is an old-fashioned way of storing cranberries, despite the fact that refrigerators appeared only in the 20th century. In the old days, a cellar or cold canopy was used instead.
Sorted out and washed berries are poured into glass jars up to the "shoulders" and filled with cold water. It is advisable to use the key, but both filtered and bottled will do. You don't need to add anything to the water, the berry itself is an excellent preservative. Then the cans are closed with nylon lids and put away in the cold.
In this state, she calmly "survives" until spring. The degree of preservation of vitamins in such a product is very high.
Water from a jar with soaked cranberries has a number of beneficial qualities. It can be drunk or used for cosmetic purposes.
Since sugar in a certain concentration becomes a preservative, it makes sense to use it to preserve the beneficial qualities of fresh cranberries. There are two ways to do this:
Cranberries prepared in such ways in winter can be used for making fruit drinks, desserts, or simply served with tea instead of jam. Since the berry has not undergone heat treatment, vitamins are well preserved in it.
You can dry cranberries in the oven or electric dryer. Before this, the berry is washed and dried on a towel. A very tasty dried berry is obtained if it is previously boiled in syrup.
For this, the fruits are poured with hot syrup prepared in a 1: 1 ratio of sugar and water. After 6 hours, the syrup is drained, boiled and the cranberries are poured in again for 6 hours. Bring the mixture to a boil, discard the berries in a colander and lay out on a baking sheet. After light drying, they are sent to the oven or to the dryer.
When processing cranberries with an electric dryer, it must be borne in mind that the process is slower on the upper pallets than on the lower ones. Therefore, from time to time it is necessary to change their places.
When processing berries in the oven, the temperature is kept at 50⁰, and the door is slightly opened. A properly dried berry should be supple but not sticky. It is not necessary to overdry it until brittle.
Dry cranberries are stored in containers for bulk products or linen bags and used to prepare compotes and jelly. Shelf life is up to three years.
For drying, not only fruits are suitable, but also cranberry leaves. This is a valuable medicinal raw material for the preparation of gargles for sore throats or diuretic infusions. Cranberry leaf tea restores water and electrolyte balance and is very good after a bath.
Such methods of preserving cranberries as making jams, marmalades, preserves are not bad, but with prolonged heat treatment, a berry from a storehouse of vitamins turns into an ordinary delicacy. You can try to combine business with pleasure by preparing cranberries with your own juice.
Method number 1:
Method number 2:
A good way to preserve cranberries is to roll compotes. The product has a very pleasant sweet and sour taste and beautiful color.
To prepare it, you need to make 50% sugar syrup (sugar to water ratio 1: 1). Pour clean cranberries into jars. Adjust the number of berries in the jar to your liking. If you want to get a more concentrated compote, you can put cranberries up to the "shoulders" of the jar. Pour the hot syrup over the berries.
Put the jars for sterilization. At 100 ° C, cranberry compote is processed for 10-15 minutes. Then the cans are rolled up and put away in a cool place.
In the winter-spring period, cranberries are an excellent remedy for enhancing immunity. When coughing, sore throat, ARVI, a berry mixed with honey is taken 3-4 times a day. Cranberry juice is useful at high temperatures, with antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
However, people with hyperacidosis gastritis, stomach ulcers, and liver disease should exercise caution. The high acidity of marsh berries can provoke exacerbations of these diseases. Before using cranberries for medicinal purposes, you need to consult a doctor.
First, you need to prepare the cranberries for future preservation. Spread a towel on the table, pour the collected cranberries on it. A towel is needed so that the berry does not roll over the entire countertop and does not fall to the floor. With a large volume of berries, process them in portions. Sort the cranberries poured on a towel, remove debris and spoiled berries. After going through the cranberries, wash them well, put them on clean towels and dry them. Thus, cranberries need to be processed for any storage method. Next, let's move on to how to store cranberries with sugar.
Pass all the cranberries through a meat grinder, alternating it with portions of granulated sugar in a 1-to-1 ratio. Mix the resulting mass thoroughly and leave on the table. Stir the cranberry mass more often. All sugar in the mass must dissolve completely. Now we got cranberries, rubbed with granulated sugar. Transfer it to a dry, clean and better in a glass container, close with a nylon lid and you can send cranberries for storage in a cool place.
At the bottom of dry sterilized glass jars I pour 2 cm of coarse table salt. I put the heads down, sprinkle with plenty of salt. I pour another 2 cm of salt on top. I close the lid with holes. I store it in the closet.
Last year I tried to store garlic in cling film. I wrap each head separately, then put it in a cardboard box and put it on the mezzanine. Garlic does not dry in such a wrapper. True, if a rotten head comes across, then in the film it collapses more quickly, but the disease does not spread to another garlic.
There are two harvests of cranberries: early, back in September, when the berries are not yet fully ripe, and late, after the first frost - then they are as juicy as possible. If you are going to keep cranberries frozen all winter, it is better to choose slightly (!) Unripe berries. If they are too ripe, the taste of the product will be significantly reduced after thawing.
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Although nature has endowed vitamin berries with the ability to winter on bushes under the snow, the percentage of acidity after wintering decreases so much that spring cranberries cannot be stored for a long time. Having accumulated sugar, it loses its valuable pectins. Because of this, it is no longer so tasty and piquant in culinary processing.
The berry harvested in summer is hard, bitter and not completely colored. Although unnatural ripening occurs over time, the desired juiciness in the summer fruit is not. Just like there is no cranberry taste loved by many connoisseurs of this natural gift. Therefore, the berries picked in September-October are traditionally harvested for the winter.
By that time, it is filled with the juice of the earth and acquires its purple hue. However, there are enough microorganisms on the skin of autumn cranberries, which, under suitable conditions, will give rise to fermentation. Therefore, earlier, the autumn berry harvest was simply sorted out and scattered on a dry surface in a thin layer for ripening.
Knowing about the ability of cranberries to ripen and the dependence of the storage duration on the content of natural preserving organic acids in the berry, they preferred to take it slightly unripe and hard. Such fruits crumple less during transportation. And she was already ripening at home.
Before sending cranberries for long-term storage, they are kept in a dry room at room temperature for one or two weeks, laid out in cardboard boxes or wicker baskets lined with a clean cloth along the bottom. This applies to slightly unripe cranberries. If completely white berries were picked, nothing good will come of the venture.
Important! To speed up the ripening processes, it is a good idea to add a sweet apple or a red tomato to the berries in each container. These fruits release ethylene, a gas that catalyzes ripening reactions.
In home stores, you can find containers that are designed for storing vegetables. It is easy to place onions, potatoes, garlic, carrots and other products in these. The boxes are made of plastic, have solid walls and a door with holes for ventilation. You can find narrow and high options or, conversely, wide and low. Containers of the same size should be stacked on top of each other, this will save space. Boxes made in the same style will look good in the interior.