Category Archives: Highbush cranberry (Viburnum)

Highbush cranberry recipes

High bush Cranberries  This article is by author, Corrine Conlon, and in it she presents some interesting information about the high bush cranberry and some of the things she does with it, as well as some of the combinations friends of hers have concocted. She also includes a description of the plant and some of the pros and cons of picking them. Conlon, C. 2016. Gathering Alaska: Juice and jelly from highbush cranberries. Available online Accessed on: 28 Sep, 2016.

High bush cranberry – ketchup

High bush Cranberry…..Ketchup?

I attended an extremely small K-8 grade school in Moose Pass, Alaska. When I was in probably 3rd or 4th grade our school went out high bush cranberry picking, most of the kids did not appreciate the berries because of their tartness, but that is when our teacher came up with this brilliant idea. All of the kids loved the smiley face “French Fries”, but we would always go through copious amounts of ketchup when we had them. So our teacher found a recipe to make ketchup out of high bush cranberries. The process for making the ketchup can be tedious, but it is very rewarding and you end up canning it, so it lasts! A very important factor for Alaskan lifestyle of living. Follow the site bellow to learn how to make this delicious twist on your favorite condiment. BE. Moose Pass
Beachcomber, A. 2012. Highbush Cranberry Ketchup. Available online: accessed 14 Sept. 2016.

High bush cranberry cultivation

I visited a gentleman in Palmer last week who has been busy cultivating our wild high bush cranberry, Viburnum edule. The DOT widened the road in front of his house and he rescued quite a few high bush cranberry plants before they were inundated with gravel. He held them in cold frames of potting mix for one winter and planted them out beginning in June 2016. Even in the raised beds, they had begun to spread, and they were well established by September. No doubt about it, south central Alaska is a great place to grow high bush cranberry, and they transplant very well.  Can’t wait for the updates on productivity and to try the wine he wants to make!!!

Highbush Cranberry Bark as medicine

Highbush cranberry bark Highbush cranberry has traditional uses beyond foods created from its berries.  The bark is also used for medicinal purposes.  The Alaska Native Knowledge Network has an entry from Eleanor Viereck’s book here Audrey Sunnyboy’s book Denyaavee, recommends using one teaspoon of dried bark or one tablespoon of fresh bark per one cup of boiling water to make a tea.   To harvest the bark, simply use a vegetable pealer and shave off some bark.   Viereck, E. 1987. Alaska’s wilderness medicines: Healthful plants of the far north. Alaska Northwest Books. Anchorage, AK. Sunnyboy, A. 2007. Denyaavee. Medicine plants of interior Alaska’s People.

Cutting Propagation Experiments

What is the need for hormone treatments in vegetative propagation? Perhaps this article will help decide. The author surely can’t be all that bad. It has experiments with highbush cranberry, bog blueberry, and soapberry. Cutting propagation

Arctic Berry Harvesting- Churchill, Canada

This site lists the common berries found in and around Churchill,Canada and great information about the berries, photos,  and personal harvesting reports, as well as tidbits about wildlife and birds in the area. Churchill, Canada Berries. It includes kinnikinnick, wild blueberries, bunchberries, cloudberries, bog cranberries, crowberries, gooseberries, raspberries, lingonberries and highbush cranberries.

Highbush Cranberries

Did you know there are several species of high bush cranberries? Viburnum edule is the native species found in Alaska but V. trilobum is the native species found in the other areas of Canada and the Lower 48. Viburnum opulus has been imported from Europe and is sold as an ornamental. This article from “Mother Earth News” offers some methods of identification, Viburnums

Baneberry vs. Highbush Cranberry

High bush cranberries and baneberries Anyone who as thumbed through a book or perused a website about Alaska berries knows about baneberries.  They are highly poisonous and to be avoided at all costs.  I figured that was simple enough to do.  Baneberries seemed distinctive from other berries.  They could easily be spotted and distinguished on their own in the woods.  I thought they shouldn’t be difficult to avoid.  Recently I was picking high bush cranberries and learned how easy it could be to mistakenly add some baneberries to your highbush cranberry harvest.  The baneberry plants were growing alongside the high bush cranberries and the branches intertwined.  Both berries have black dots in the center of the red.  The high bush cranberries are translucent while the baneberries are opaque, but the distinction is small.  Both berries were soft at the time I was picking.   The leaves of the plants are shaped differently, but have a lot of similarities and are difficult to distinguish from one another when you are in the bushes and everything around you is green.   It seemed easy enough that when reaching for a handful of cranberries, one might pick one or two of the baneberries as well.   Being that small amounts can do lots of damage, it was alarming.  Luckily we were paying close enough attention and avoided any trouble.  The highbush cranberry bushes were very tall in that area and the baneberry plants were all below the waste.  I passed over all the high bush cranberries that were growing low and discarded any somewhat questionable berries.  I rechecked when cleaning the highbush cranberries at home.  When juicing the berries for jelly, I didn’t come across any different looking seeds. has an entry that warns about this possible confusion    Alaska poisonous plants

Highbush Cranberry ketchup

One type of berry I picked a lot of this summer were highbush cranberries. I bought a food mill so that I could easily remove the flat seeds and use the pulp. They are still in my freezer, but one of my friends made a batch of this highbush cranberry ketchup. It ended up being more like sweet and sour sauce. Here is the recipe:

Highbush cranberry

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Highbush Cranberry Sauce Many of my friends have varying relationships with the highbush cranberry. Some love the pungent odor that reminds them of fall’s approach while others find it positively rank. Some love the look of the berries on the shrub, sparkling like jewels and persistent even after snowfall, but don’t understand why I would waste my time picking something so bitter and seedy. My favorite way to convince people of the culinary merits of highbush cranberry is by serving them as a spiced sauce over grilled spruce grouse that we hunt with the help of our little black lab, Friday. Spiced Highbush Cranberry Sauce Yield: 4 cups
  • 6 cups of highbush cranberries
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups onion,finely chopped
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon cloves
  • ½ tablespoon allspice
  • ½ tablespoon celery salt
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Cook the cranberries in the water until soft and then put them through a foodmill or sieve to remove the large seeds. Add the onion, vinegar, sugar and spices to the de-seeded fruit. Boil until the mixture thickens and the proper consistency is reached. Let cool. If jarring, follow Extension guidelines for safe boiling water bath processing. Dinstel, R. 2013. Available online: Accessed 20 Sept., 2015.