What, exactly, are white cranberries? They’re cranberries early in the harvest season, and they’re ripe!
If you put white cranberries in the freezer, they turn red. If you cook them, they turn red. That’s because cooking and freezing releases the anthocyanin (red pigment).
If you look at a bed of cranberries, they all look red.
But, if you peak below the surface, you’ll see white cranberries.
Sometimes, you can even turn a cranberry over and the underside will be white. That’s because the sun draws the red pigment out onto the skin. Cold temperatures also bring the pigment to the surface of the berry. By the end of the season, even the berries that have been hiding from the sun will have turned red because of frosty nights.
Another reason for lighter coloured berries is because they’re FRESH! After picking, cranberries will continue to darken. If you put a bag of cranberries in your fridge for a couple of weeks, they’ll be darker red when they come out. Cranberries in your grocery store were often picked weeks before you see them – a great reason to plan a visit to your local cranberry farm.
There are also over 150 commercially grown cranberry varieties. We grow 5 different varieties on our farm. Varieties don’t vary a lot in taste, but they do vary in size, keeping quality, time of ripening, winter hardiness and … colour.
When you see a green cranberry, pick it out. It’s not ripe. But white, light and pink cranberries are ripe and ready to eat!
When we started Muskoka Lakes Winery, we wondered what would happen if we crafted white cranberries into wine. Our White Cranberry Wine has become very popular and sells out every year. So, instead of picking out the white cranberries, enjoy them!