Silly Food Facts
The Pilgrims were certainly familiar with cranberries. In the 1640s, Roger Williams called these wild berries “bear berries”, because bears liked to eat them. By 1663, a Pilgrim cookbook included a recipe for cranberry sauce. Cranberries are among the few fruits native to North America, and they were first grown commercially in Massachusetts in 1816. It’s no surprise that this state, along with Wisconsin, is still a major cranberry producer.
Why Our Bodies Love Them
Cranberries provide fiber, vitamins K and C, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. They have an intriguing anti-adhesion property, which helps prevent plaque formation on teeth and may reduce bacterial infections of the urinary system. Studies are being conducted to see if cranberries could help with kidney stones. These tiny berries have lots of potential!
Care and Picking
How does a cranberry grow? On a tree? In a bush? On a vine? The answer: evergreen vines! However, they aren’t grown in a typical home garden. Nearly all cranberries are grown by huge commercial operations in a bog—that’s a shallow, sandy bed with a perimeter dyke to hold water at harvest time. Once the berries ripen to a dark red, the bog is flooded, and the floating cranberries are scooped or pumped out.
Tips and Warnings
Only 5% of cranberries are sold raw. Most of them become juice or sauce. Your lips will pucker if you eat raw cranberries—they are extremely tart! Watch out for cranberry juice cocktail because it’s packed with tons of sugar! If you enjoy the taste of cranberry juice, consider diluting it with some water first. When purchasing raw cranberries, pick those that are shiny and plump. A ripe cranberry will bounce when dropped! If you’re a gardener who likes a challenge, it’s possible to grow your own cranberries!
Click this link to find Allrecipe’s most popular recipes with cranberries.