The sight of cranberry farmers up to their knees in an ocean of crimson berries is a beautiful one. So-called wet harvesting is one of two methods for collecting ripe berries that have been grown in dry, acidic soil. Used for the fruit that goes into juice and sauce, the process begins with flooding the bog; next, machines churn the water to dislodge the berries, which then float to the surface. Dry harvesting, for berries that are sold whole, is a gentler approach. With this technique, berries are carefully combed from the vine by mechanical pickers.
The Berry Pantry
Refreshing Fizzylizzy Cranberry Sparkling Fruit Beverage has more juice (75 percent) than most cranberry juice cocktails. One bottle provides nearly all the vitamin C you need for a day ($1.75 for 12 ounces; 212-966-6621 or fizzylizzy.com). Bogland Cranberry Hot Sauce delivers a powerful, spicy-sweet kick, while the company's Cranberry Salsa is a mild and delicious blend of cranberries and tomatoes spiked with hot chiles ($3.25 for 5 ounces and $6 for 13 ounces, respectively; 800-BOGLAND). Sugar, eggs and butter are three of the main ingredients in lemony Cottage Delight Cranberry Curd, but this decadent topping is so flavorful you need only a little--spread on warm muffins, crackers or wherever you want a hint of sweet-tart richness ($4.50 for 8 ounces; 888-727-7887 or www.chelseamarketbaskets.com).
Berries & Health
In the battle against heart disease, researchers are investigating the potential of cranberries. Like other brightly colored fruits and vegetables, these berries are packed with antioxidants and may have some of the same heart-healthy benefits as red wine. Such studies augment new research into the use of cranberries as a remedy for urinary tract infections. Scientists now believe that the condensed tannins in cranberries, rather than the acids, deserve the credit for fending off bacteria, and they're looking at whether these tannins can also fight the bacteria behind gum disease and stomach ulcers. Cranberries are well-known as a vitamin C source: An 8-ounce glass of cranberry juice cocktail has a full day's requirement.
At the newly opened Spa Shiki at the Lodge of Four Seasons Resort in Lake Ozark, Missouri, the natural cranberry enzymes in the Cranberry Facial brighten the complexion ($100; 800-THE-LAKE). Los Angeles may enjoy a perpetual summer, but the Verabella Skin Therapy Salon in Beverly Hills celebrates autumn with the Fall on Your Face Facial: An exfoliating apple-and-cranberry-scented scrub is followed by a pumpkin pie peel($125; 310-278-4733). The Cranberry Cosmopolitan Cocktail Body Scrub at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas uses jojoba beads scented with extracts of cranberry and lemon to rub skin smooth ($50; 800-646-7787). The Cranberry Sugar Pedicure at Channing's Day Spa in Chicago includes a foot scrub blending the antioxidant benefits of cranberry oil with exfoliating sugar and softening grapeseed oil ($55; 312-280-1994).