Cranberries and their sweet juice aren’t just a perfect mixer for vodka, a delicious sauce for poultry, or a fab dried snack on the road. They’re also incredibly healthy and fairly easy to grow in your own garden.
Fascinating Facts about Cranberries
Cranberries are so much more than just being delicious (although that’s a real plus too). Here are some interesting facts and insights into these amazing scarlet-coloured treats:
1. They can fight serious disease
Cranberries have been proven to contribute to a healthy heart (because they help to relax the blood vessels and lower the pressure inside) and to fight cancer and stomach ulcers. They also have a specific polyphenol in them that helps to protect you against infections. Cranberry juice is well known to ease a bladder infection (or UTI) for this reason.
2. Thank cranberries for your grin
These berries fight plaque and cavities, and help to prevent gum disease. This gives you a brighter, healthier smile. In fact, cranberries are even used in some mouthwashes and toothpastes to help give glam to that grin.
3. They are packed with nutrients
Cranberries have an impressive amount of vitamin C too, which boosts the immune system, may help to lower blood pressure, and helps to fight against chronic diseases. They also contain soluble fibre, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer and reduces cravings for “naughty treats”. In addition, these berries contain vitamins E and K, manganese, copper and pantothenic acid.
4. They’re no new kid on the block
While we may only be learning about their many benefits in the past few decades, cranberries have been used to dye clothing, apply as poultices, treat illnesses and feed families since around 1550 by the Native American folk. In fact, some living cranberry vines are believed to be more than 150 years old.
5. They’re grown and collected in an interesting way
There are some (incorrect) beliefs that cranberries are grown in water. In reality, they’re grown on vines in “wet” areas like bogs and marshes. But, water is sometimes used to collect them because the berry floats, thanks to an air pocket around it. The bogs are flooded and a machine whips around to knock the berries off the vine and into the water. This makes it easy to collect them. Only about 10% of farmers prefer to pick their cranberries with mechanical combs.
6. They’re named after a bird
When the Pilgrims arrived in North America, they thought that the cranberry flower looked like the head and beak of a crane. So, they named it “crane berry”. Over time, this has evolved into its modern name. Other names for this berry were Sassamanesh, Ibimi and Atoqua.
7. They’re guilt-free snacks
Cranberries are particularly low in sugar when compared with other berries. So, they are naturally quite sour if no sweetness is added to them and their juice. Still, by using as little extra sweetness as possible, you can enjoy a healthful low-sugar snack. A whole cup of fresh cranberries only has about 45 to 50 calories.
8. They’re easy to keep and use
Cranberries can be stored in the fridge for about a month and in the freezer for up to nine months. They can be added to yoghurt, smoothies, salads, sauces, cereals, couscous and baked desserts.
Other Cool Cranberry Facts
- Half a cup of cranberries is equal to one normal portion of fruit.
- There is also evidence that they help to fight against kidney stones, respiratory disorders, cataracts, macular degeneration and more.
- Its leaves are smaller than its fruit.
- Cranberries come from North America and are grown in Massachusetts, Oregon, New Jersey, Wisconsin and some areas in Canada.
- The flowers last for between 10 and 12 days.
- Very few cranberries are eaten fresh. About 95% of all cranberries sold are turned into sauces, juice, and so on.
- These berries are about 90% water.
- Cranberries are sometimes added to wine for extra flavour after the fermentation process.
Growing Your Own Cranberries
Just Berry Trees stocks healthy cranberry plants that are ready to plant in your garden, complete with expert advice. The vines flourish in acidic soil that is not particularly high in nutrients, making them relatively easy to plant and grow.