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Cranberries on a Roll

By Mary_RD on Oct 08, 2010 10:00 AM in Recipes
Edited By +Rachel Berman

It’s harvest time for cranberries, and this year’s is a bumper crop.  Buy fresh cranberries now because they’re gone after Thanksgiving.  Eat cranberries in jellies and jams, in muffins, on cereal, in a vinaigrette or sauce, and as a compote or a sorbet. They complement so many foods.

An All American

The cranberry is one of three fruits native to North America (Concord grapes and blueberries are the others.) Native peoples used cranberries as food, dye, medicine, and in religious ceremonies. 

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. They are grown on sandy bogs or marshes. Because cranberries float, most bogs are flooded at harvest time to make it easy to pick the berries.  Most are harvested between September and October.  Cranberries are primarily grown five states -- Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.

A "Superfruit"

Only a few fruits have gained the commercial classification of "superfruit".  Super fruits include blueberries, pomegranates, acai berries, and cranberries.  Cranberries have been long valued for their antibacterial and anti-adhesion properties. That’s why cranberries are used to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTI).  Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), which inhibit bacteria (both antibiotic susceptible and resistant strains) from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. This anti-adhesion effect can last up to 10 hours and so two servings of cranberry juice, taken at split intervals, may be more beneficial than one. The National Kidney Foundation® suggests drinking 10-ounces of cranberry juice cocktail everyday to help prevent UTIs.

Fully ripened cranberries are a rich source of other flavonoids and other compounds known as polyphenols that research has shown provide a variety of health benefits.  Red fruits, like cranberries, contain lycopene (important for healthy eyes), ellagic acid (an anti-carcinogen in the gastrointestinal tract), quercetin (prevents LDL cholesterol oxidation), and hesperidin (improves blood vessel function). And those are just a few of the benefits they provide.

Eating Cranberries

Good, ripe cranberries will bounce, which is why they are sometimes called "bounceberries." Preserve washed fresh cranberries in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator for several weeks or in the freezer for up to 1 year. Use frozen cranberries in recipes without thawing.  They are easier to chop or grind before they thaw.  Cranberries are can be dried in a warm oven with the door ajar and rehydrated by soaking them in any liquid for an hour or so. Cranberries are also available in the form of sauce and juice which are sweetened with natural or artificial sugars.  Some folks who like it tart prefer to drink unsweetened cranberry juice.

Here are three yummy cranberry-based recipes from Calorie Count's Recipe Browser:


I love cranberries!! I´m from Mexico so for me there are a little expensive, so I buy them dry.

Here´s a REALLY good salad that I want to share with you guys (my favorite):

- Pineapple cubes
- Basket cheese cubes (very common in Mexico, if you don´t have put feta)
- Diced tomato
- Nuts chopped
- A little Paul Newman vinaigrette dressing
- Lettuche romaine
- Baby Spinach
- Dried Cranberries

You will love it for sure!

I love cranberry sauce made from real berries. Not that gelatinous stuff shaped like a can. (Very easy to make; simmer in water with natural sugar [please no splenda...], stirring every so often, until it starts to turn into a gel. From there, add whatever you'd like. Almonds and tangerines [include the zest!] are my favorite.)

I've looked allover the grocery store many times, and I can't find any cranberry juice. Cocktail, yes, but not juice. Undecided


This is the time of year I stock up my freezer!  I like to mix whole cranberries and chopped apples and eat with a spoon – YUM!

My “native pride” was stung with Mary’s statement that “The cranberry is one of three fruits native to North America” – with quick research I would respectfully suggest re-wording this sentence to say the cranberry is one of three that are commercially grown/known on a global scale.  With gratitude and admiration for this Earth that continues to care for us, back here on the reservation we’re harvesting and eating many of the fruits/nuts found on the list below. American_origin

Fruits of North American origin

(This is only a section of the above webpage)  

Canada and the United States are home to a surprising number of edible plants, especially berries; however, only three are commercially grown/known on a global scale (grapes, cranberries, and blueberries.) Many of the fruits below are still eaten locally as they have been for centuries and others are generating renewed interest by eco-friendly gardeners (less need for bug control) and chefs of the region alike.

Very nice post above... although I'd like to point out that some of the items listed are nuts... not fruits.  ;P  (Yes, I'm just being cheeky)

I'd also like to point out that cranberries are also grown in Canada, and we have some pretty vast fields in British Columbia.  I think they're also grown in the East (Ontario), but I'm not aware of where they're grown out there.

Bring on the Cranberries.... and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all us Canucks, who  are celebrating this weekend!  I know we do it early, but it gets COLD up here in November (plus we get some time to recover our stomachs between now and Christmas)!! 

Can't wait for my turkey dinner (with jiggly cranberry sauce!)!!  :D  yummmmm!!!!

Nuts are fruit :P

Are Gooseberries on your list under another name? Great research Thank you.

Wow - now you've got me thinking - what about Juneberries too?  and high-bush cranberries?  A little more googling and  . . .  cobbling together Wikipedia stuff:  Gooseberries are indigenous to this continent and are called the North American Ribes hirtellum and are missing from list above as are  high-bush cranberries we go after out here in Northwestern Minnesota,,, and they aren’t even the same scientific grouping as cranberries aka low-bush cranberries -> native high bush cranberries are Viburnum trilobum and Viburnum edule (also indigenous)..  Juneberries (again Northwestern Minnesota) are on the Wikipedia list – called Saskatoon berries in other places.

Hmmmm – what else is missing from the excellent Wiki-list? 

Viva la indigenous foods! Can you say Less Likely To Be Genetically Modified?  I knew you could!  LOL  

I'm a Canadian living in the US, so I get to celebrate Thanskgiving twice!  I'm making cranberry sauce this weekend to go with our turkey dinner.  My American husband loves that he gets to have turkey dinner twice!

Thanks!  Thanks, we're near Lake Tahoe, Nevada where Natives included wild stawberries, Salmon berries,  wildrose  hips, pinenut,  juniper, miner's lettuce, wild  asprgras, elderberries and acorns (leached) in their diets.

Two more native North American fruits, although there is debate regarding whether they are fruit or veggie:


Tomatoes and Pumpkins

We just attended a cranberry festival in northern Wisconsin. I am so glad the l cranberry is getting so much attention these days!  I love them made up in juice, sauce, or cooked into other recipes! 

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