Cranberries – Interesting Facts

Even in the Swiss German speaking region, the English word “cranberry” is used to describe the small fruit, even though a German name exists. Officially the fruit is called “Grossfrüchtige Moosbeere”, better known as “Kranbeere” or “Kranichbeere”. The name is derived from the similarity between the filaments of the flower and the shape of the beak of a crane. Ripe cranberries have a deep red colour, smooth skin and taste a little bitter when eaten raw. With a little preparation, cranberries develop their bittersweet taste, which has seen them used in a variety of culinary methods.

Food Facts Food Facts

Cranberries

Class

vaccinium

Calories

46 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

12 g carbohydrates, 4.g fibre, 0.1 g fat, 0.4 g protein per 100g

Season

October-January

Storage

store in the fruit and vegetable shelf of the fridge

Shelf life

up to 3 months

Cranberries – Origin and Cultivation

Although there are some large cranberry cultivation areas in Europe, for example in Latvia, cranberries are mainly cultivated in the moors of North America. They grow on small, evergreen shrubs and are harvested using a very particular method: the shrubs are flooded. Small bubbles of air on the inside of ripe cranberries mean the berry is lighter than water. The pressure of the water causes them to come off the shrub and float on the surface of the water. Botanically, cranberries are part of the heather family and is a close relative of the lingonberry.

Cranberries – Prepare and Conserve

Cranberries are used in a similar manner to the lingonberry. Especially in the USA, they are boiled down and served with thanksgiving dinner. To balance the sour taste of the berry, these sauces often contain a lot of sugar. Aside from poultry, the fruity taste of cranberries also goes well with game. Any leftovers can easily be turned into cranberry jam for a nice change from your usual morning spread. Another option to avoid wasting cranberries is to freeze them. In an air-tight container and stored at -18 degrees they can keep for up to six months. Make sure to only use undamaged berries.

Cranberries – A Dried Treat

Dried cranberries are also popular and have an almost unlimited shelf life. They are particularly nice in salads or muesli – how about combining feta cheese, dried walnuts and dried cranberries as a topping? As an ingredient in fruit loaf, cake or cookies they can replace raisins. But be mindful of the ingredients: dried cranberries often contain a lot of sugar, making 300 to 400 calories per 100g no exception. 

Cranberries - How to Dry

To avoid unnecessary additives, you can opt to dry cranberries yourself using your oven. First, plunge the washed berries into boiling water. This will cause them to burst open and greatly reduce drying time. Dry the cranberries well and distribute them on a piece of baking paper. Turn the oven to 60°C fan oven, which will allow for the fastest drying time. Nevertheless, the entire drying process can take between ten and 24 hours. They are fully dried when they have shrunk and feel slightly sticky.

Cranberries – Healthy Berries

Thanks to all their nutrients cranberries are very healthy. They have plenty of vitamin A and vitamin C, which are great for both the immune system and the eyes. Minerals like sodium, potassium and magnesium support metabolic processes and are present in cranberries. Particularly beneficial for your health are the cranberry’s antioxidants and secondary plant substances: they protect your vascular system and cells from diseases and ageing. Debatable however is the cranberries often touted ability to cure urinary tract infections.

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