Cranberries are a holiday staple. Whether you’re on team whole berry sauce or team jellied sauce, there is no mistaking that holiday meal plates just aren’t the same without the sweet and tart flavor of cranberries. This year, while you’re dishing up the deep red delectable, here are a few fun facts about cranberries to make you even more appreciative.
The cranberry is one of only three fruits that are cultivated in North America. The other two are the Concord grape and the blueberry. Cranberries are grown in just a few places: Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Quebec. So, when you are enjoying cranberries, you will know that you are helping to support North American growers and processors.
Amazing physical properties
Cranberries are amazing little fruits. They can float as well as bounce due to a small pocket of air inside the fruit. Although many people believe that cranberries grow in water, they do not. They grow on low-running vines in bogs and marshes. When the fruit is ready to harvest, growers flood the area to make harvesting them easier.
Cranberries are a healthful food choice
Like most fruits, cranberries are full of nutrients that make them a healthful choice for eating. They are rich in antioxidants, allowing them to strengthen the immune system, and support memory function and concentration. They also promote heart health and can aid in lowering blood pressure. Cranberries are a natural source of lutein, which supports eye health, and quercetin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory. Other health benefits of cranberries include promoting urinary tract health, cancer prevention, and oral health.
Approximately 768 million pounds of cranberries are grown in the United States each year. However, only 5% of them are sold as fresh fruit. The rest are used for making juice, cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, or for medicinal purposes. On average, Americans eat about 400 million pounds of cranberries each year. Approximately 20% of them are eaten during Thanksgiving week.
If all of the cranberry bogs in North America were combined, their combined size would be about 47 square miles – which is about the size of Nantucket Island. However, those bogs create enough cranberries to create a chain that would extend from Boston to Los Angeles more than 565 times.
Now that you know there is more to cranberries than you thought was possible, it’s time to add more cranberries to your diet. There is no need to save them for the holidays. Mix some cranberries into your dinner tonight.
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