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Re: cranberries

Poster: E L Wimett <SILVERDRAGON@Charleston.Net>

Rcardiff@aol.com wrote:
> Vaccinium are native to North America, but I can't discover right now if they
> are known in Europe. My Lord Brok thinks that the Scandanavians might have
> them, but I think that might be the Cranberry liqour mentioned before as
> being made of Viburnum (related by the way to the black haw and makes an
> excellent ink or dye). Anyone with Scandanavian books around, please see if
> you can find a reference WITH LATIN NAME.

According to several sources the very name cranberry is medieval, though this 
specific berry is North American.  To quote the American Heritage Dictionary:

"1. A slender, trailing North American shrub, Vaccinium macrocarpon, growing in
damp ground and bearing tart red berries.  2.  The edible berry of this plant,
often made into sauce or jelly.  3.  Any of a variety of similar or related
plants, especially the European species V. oxycoccus.  [Partial translation of
Low German krannbere, "crane-berry" (from the stamens which resemble a beak)."

Note that the lingonberry used so frequently in Scandinavian cookery (and several
period recipes appear to use them) bears the LATIN NAME of Vaccinium vitis-idaea.
The lingonberry is also known in some sources as the cowberry and sometimes is 
also called the mountain cranberry.

On the basis of lingonberry dishes I have had in England and in Scandinavia as 
well as the recipe interchanges that a number of native Scandinavian cooks of my
acquaintance use, I have little hesitation in substituting cranberries for similar
native European berries in period recipes.

While I admit that they are slightly more substantial than the lingonberry, this
could also be said of our modern chickens vis-a-vis the period exemplars, etc.

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