Editor's Column: In search of real cranberry juice

One of the mysteries of married life is cranberry juice. Every once in a while the woman will demand it, and it’s up to the male to fetch it. Males don’t know why but instinctively understand it’s better not to even ask.

It’s not as easy today as it was when our kind were cave dwellers. All Grog had to do when given the word by Mugsy was leave the warmth of the campfire he was watching, trudge out of the cave, descend the hillside, cross the river valley, kill a giant crocodile along the way, ascend the high bluff, scramble down the other side, plunge into a bog of wild cranberries, bring an armload home, stomp them into juice on the cave floor, hand a mug of it to Mugsy, and say, “Hey, that’s not the fire I was watching, who changed the logs?”

Today, it’s much more difficult as we have to seek out cranberry juice in the aisle of the local grocery store, where juice manufacturers like Ocean Spray and Langers have made it almost impossible to identify cranberry juice. Heeding the demand for the juice, I picked up a bottle of Langers “Cranberry 100.” Gullibly, I assumed the 100 stood for 100 percent cranberry.

My offering was snubbed at home, because I hadn’t read the fine print. In this case, the 100 stands for 100 percent juice. There’s some cranberry juice, but as the fine print reads, there’s also apple and pear juice. I’m guessing the bottle was maybe 5 percent cranberry juice and 95 percent cheap apple and pear juice. Who wants pear juice, anyway?

I could see the problem for someone who needs to drink 100 percent cranberry juice. To get eight ounces of cranberry juice, you’d have to guzzle a ton of Cranberry 100. If curing whatever problem women sometimes have takes 64 ounces of real cranberry juice, they’d have to swill about four gallons of the Langers stuff.

So back to the store I went, figuring this time price was no object. I’d buy Ocean Spray, the most famous name in cranberries. I purchased a 64-ounce bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry not realizing until I got home that it was “cranberry COCKTAIL,” which translated means “watered down cranberry juice.” The small print admitted it contained only 27 percent cranberry juice with the rest being corn syrup and, as a bonus, “filtered water.” With this stuff, an eight ounce glass gives you just over two ounces of cranberry juice.

On my next trip out of the cave, I went to two different stores and, breaking the male code of behavior, actually asked for assistance. Helpful clerks scanned the juice aisle, scrutinized labels, expressed dumfounded disbelief, and finally admitted they had no such thing as real cranberry juice.

Now I’m obsessed with finding real, 100 percent cranberry juice. They say it’s bitter, and people only buy sweet stuff these days. But if shots of tequila are popular, there must be a bottle of real cranberry juice somewhere.

With a spouse still wanting cranberry juice, nothing will get in my way. I just wish it were as easy as killing a giant crocodile.

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