Cranberry is one of those few fruits in this world that has played an important role in the holiday culture.
Though not many definite proofs have been cited by the research and medical fraternity, this fruit is considered to have unique health benefits.
In this list of cranberry facts, we will explore the fruit in somewhat details and find out what this fruit has to offer us.
Are you ready?
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 1-5
1. Cranberry is a berry (a type of fleshy fruit) which grows on evergreen dwarf shrubs.
2. Cranberry is one of the fruits which is native to North America.
3. These shrubs belong to the genus Vaccinium and subgenus Oxycoccus.
4. They belong to a family of Heath or Heather (Ericaceae). This family consists of nearly 125 genera and around 3500 species.
5. These species are mostly found in polar regions of northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere.
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 6-10
6. The vines of the cranberry shrubs can grow as long as 7 feet or 2 meters and can have a height of around 2 to 8 inches.
7. Just like any other creeper (any plant that grows along the ground is called creeper), stems are wiry and slender and at regular intervals root the stems to form a solid mat.
8. It is a perennial plant meaning these plants survive many years without any difficulty. The leaves are oval shaped.
9. Cranberries grow in wetlands generally called bogs. They also grow in areas which have sand dunes.
10. Sand blown by the wind covers the cranberry vines and protects them from cold.
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Delicious Cranberry Facts: 11-15
11. Cultivators of cranberries use sand to cover the vines even today. It helps in optimizing growth.
12. The flowers are dark pink and are pretty attractive. They bloom in the months of late June to mid-July. The blossoms last for 10 to 12 days.
13. Warm weather is a must for proper pollination of the cranberry flowers. The major pollinators are bumblebees and honeybees.
14. The fruit cranberry is bigger than the leaves.
15. The berry is light green in color when it is unripe and once it ripens, it gets a bright red hue.
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 16-20
16. The berries are harvested in the months of September and October.
17. The word ‘Cranberry’ is derived from ‘Kranbere’, a German word.
18. They named the berry as Kranbere because the blossoms of the vine looked similar to the head, neck, and bill of a crane.
19. However long before Germans named the berries as Kranbere, eastern Indians named it as “sassamanesh”.
20. Tribes of Cape Cod (Pequots) and South Jersey (Leni-Lenape) used to call them “ibmi” which meant bitter berry.
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 21-25
21. Wisconsin’s Algonquins used to call them “atoqua”. Chippawas call them as “a’ni-bimin”.
22. John Elliot was the person who first used ‘cranberry’ for the berry in English language in the year 1647.
23. They are also known as bear berries because just like us, bears love to eat cranberries.
24. There are 4 species of cranberry (genus Vaccinium) which are:
Vaccinium oxycoccus – also known as Oxycoccus palustris. It is the normal cranberry. It is grown in northern Europe, northern Asia and northern part of North America. These berries have acidic flavor. This variety is mostly used in Britain. They are also called swamp cranberry and bog cranberry.
Vaccinium microcarpum – also called Oxycoccus microcarpus. These are small cranberries. They are pretty much similar to Vaccinium oxycoccus.
Vaccinium macrocarpon – also known as Oxycoccus macrocarpus or American cranberry. These are large cranberries. They are grown in northern and eastern parts of USA, Canada, etc. This cranberry species has apple-like taste. It is mostly used in USA. Other names of this are large cranberry and bearberry.
Vaccinium erythrocarpum – also known as Oxycoccus erythrocarpus. It is grown widely near southern Appalachian Mountains, eastern Asia, southeastern America etc.
25. Cranberries are related to huckleberries, blueberries, bilberries etc.
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 26-30
26. USA is the major producer of cranberries. US, Canada and Chile make up for 98% of the cranberry production in the world.
27. The top 5 states of USA which produce cranberries are Wisconsin, Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C.
28. Most of the cranberries (95%) are used for either making cranberry sauce or jams etc. as fresh cranberries are bitter, hard and sour.
29. They are also dried and sweetened and these dried cranberries are sold in the market.
30. Cranberry juice is also sweetened and generally mixed with other fruit juices to decrease the tartness of the cranberry.
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 31-35
31. Did you know cranberry juice cocktails have more amount of sugar than sodas? These cocktails are also linked to obesity.
32. Ironically enough, cranberry itself is pretty low in sugar. 100 grams of raw cranberries contain a mere 4 grams of sugar.
33. There is something called cranberry sauce. Cranberries are cooked to make this sauce.
34. Cranberry sauce is usually served with roasted turkey especially on the holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
35. Cranberries are also used in preparing muffins, cakes, breads etc.
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 36-40
36. Cranberries are rarely used to add tartness to stews and soups.
39. Oranges have the same water content as cranberries.
40. Cranberries are really healthy and are generally considered as a super food.
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 41-45
41. Cranberry capsules may prevent urinary tract infections. However cranberry juice doesn’t have the same effect as the cranberry capsules.
42. However, a review of available research in 2012 came to a conclusion that there is no proper evidence to prove that cranberry or cranberry products (as extract or capsules) are effective in preventing urinary tract infections.
43. European Food Security Authority had the same thing to say when they reviewed proof from a brand of cranberry extract.
44. Another review in 2017 concluded that cranberry or cranberry products indeed help in preventing urinary tract infections.
45. Cranberries consists a set of natural chemicals called polyphenols.
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 46-50
46. Studies are being conducted on the effect of these polyphenols on our cardiovascular system, in relation with cancer, and on our immune system.
47. According to some evidence, cranberry may help in reducing cardiovascular diseases.
48. Nutrients in cranberries have positive impact on liver, breast, prostate, ovarian, colon etc. cancers. The nutrients also help in slowing down the progression of a tumor.
49. Oral health can also be improved with cranberries. According to the researchers at University of Rochester Medical Center (at Center for Oral Biology and Eastman Department of Dentistry), cranberries help in preventing the bacteria binding our teeth.
50. Cranberries are loaded with Vitamin C which is a natural antioxidant. Vitamin C (according to National Institute of Health) helps in absorbing iron from plant sources, boosting immune system, helps in the production of collagen (which helps in wound healing and keeping our skin wrinkle free).
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 51-55
51. Cranberries also contain fiber. Fiber helps in lowering the risk of developing some serious diseases like stroke, diabetes, obesity, and it lowers blood pressure and helps in losing weight as well.
52. Vitamin E and Vitamin K are also present in cranberries which help in protecting our body from free radicals, and diseases like cancer, cataracts, arthritis, Alzheimer’s etc.
Note: It must be noted that most of the health benefits of cranberries come from raw cranberries and not cranberry juice or other products of cranberries.
54. A cup of cranberries has around 50 calories.
55. Did you know cranberries are also used to prepare dyes for fabrics?
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 56-60
56. Though cranberries have a lot of water content in them, they cannot grow in water.
57. Cranberries have small pockets filled by air which allows them to float in water.
58. Native Americans believed that cranberries had medicinal value and cranberries were used in some medicines. For example, in medicines to remove poison from wounds inflicted by poison darts.
59. Delaware Indians considered cranberries as a sign of peace.
60. It is considered that cranberries were served in the first ever Thanksgiving in Plymouth.
Delicious Cranberry Facts: 61-65
61. Did you know that recipes including cranberries was first recorded as early as 1700’s?
62. Native Americans used cranberries for preparing a convenience food (any food that is pre-prepared and requires little heating or thawing to eat it) like pemmican.
63. First cranberry cultivation was recorded in the year 1816 in Dennis, Massachusetts.
64. Americans required nearly a million pounds of dried cranberries per year during world war II.65. Did you know cranberries are also used to flavor wines? But they are not fermented as the grapes.