Every autumn, usually from mid-September until around mid-November in North America, cranberries are ready for harvesting. Cranberries come from bogs, an area of soft, marshy ground with acid peat soil, usually near wetlands, where the cranberries grow on long-running vines. You can find them all over North and South America. Wet harvesting is when the bog is flooded with up to 18 inches of water the night before the berries are to be harvested. The growers then use water reels to churn the water and loosen the cranberries from the vine. Each berry has a tiny pocket of air that allows it to float to the surface of the water. From there, they’re corralled together, loaded into trucks, and shipped off to become cranberry products.
Fresh cranberries, the ones you buy in the produce aisle, are harvested using the dry method, with a mechanical picker. It has metal teeth that combs the berries off the vine.1
A healthy eating pattern includes fruits daily.2 Cranberry, a fruit commonly consumed at Thanksgiving, is often forgotten about most of the year! It can be a healthy addition to your diet, as it is a good source of fiber and vitamin C.3 An article written by Blumberg et al. in 2013 summed up the recent research by stating:
There is strong experimental evidence that cranberry bioactives have favorable effects on blood pressure, glucose metabolism, lipoprotein profiles, oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial function. However, the currently available data from human studies provide mixed results about the clinical significance of these actions on cardiovascular health. Thus, there is encouraging, but limited, evidence of cardioprotective effects of cranberries.
Although reference intake values have yet to be developed for phytochemicals, there is a growing consensus that these bioactives contribute importantly to promoting health and reducing the risk of chronic disease. Berry fruit, including cranberries, represent an especially rich source of many phenolic acids and flavonoids that have been associated with these benefits. Choosing a broad array of types of fruit, including berry fruit, should help increase our intake of these bioactive compounds.4
With cranberries helping us to achieve our recommended daily fruit intake, as well as potential overall health benefits, it really should be considered as a year round fruit to enjoy! Try this cranberry & veggie side dish from Ocean Spray:
Roasted Winter Vegetables with Craisins® Dried Cranberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ pounds medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½ inch chunks
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup small whole frozen onions
1 pound small red potatoes, cut into quarters
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
Coarse salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
Preheat oven to 425º F. Spread 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan.
Combine vegetables, rosemary and salt and pepper in a large bowl, and tossing to mix. Place vegetable mixture in baking sheet and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Stir halfway through cooking time.
Place vegetables in serving bowl, add dried cranberries and mix well. Makes 8 servings.
Per Serving: Cal. 184.9 (9% DV), Fat Cal. 31, Pro. 2.4 g (5% DV), Carb. 36.7 g (12% DV), Fat 3.5 g (5% DV), Chol. 0 mg (0% DV), Sod. 59.4 mg (2% DV), Vit. A 1425 RE (215% DV), Vit C 14.2 mg (24% DV), Vit. E 0.6 mg (3% DV), Calcium 31.4 mg (3% DV), Iron 1.0 mg (6% DV), Folate 23.5 Ug (6% DV), Zinc 0.4 mg (3% DV), Pot. 546.4 mg (16% DV)
- http://www.oceanspray.com/Who-We-Are/Harvest/Cranberry.aspx. Accessed 11/9/17.
- https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf. Accessed 11/9/17.
- https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/cranberries. Accessed 11/9/17.
- Adv Nutr November 2013 Adv Nutr vol. 4: 618-632, 2013. http://advances.nutrition.org/content/4/6/618.full