Christmas cooks hit by cranberry crisis

Christmas traditionalists beware. A cranberry shortage after a poor harvest is threatening supplies of the red superberry just ahead of the peak seasonal rush.

Turkey dinners risk being served denuded of their preferred festive accompaniment, cranberry sauce, after a poor harvest saw the crop plunge by 10 per cent.

The price of cranberries, which are grown mainly in North America, has shot to its highest in almost a decade, according to the world's leading cranberry brand, Ocean Spray. Growers have blamed a drought in August and September. US retailers warned that consumers are already stockpiling berries, and British shoppers might well be advised to follow suit. Apparently, they freeze well.

An Ocean Spray executive in the US confirmed there could be pre-Christmas shortages, although the company has pledged to try to ensure that supplies to the UK are not disrupted too badly. If the worst comes to the worst, cooks will have to stick to bread sauce.

Unusually for a British culinary tradition, we must look west for the origin of cranberry sauce, which originated in the US.

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