Cranberries: The Bitter Berry That’s Better For You

Let’s talk about Cranberries, that humble tart little berry that hails from North America and is as equally associated with Christmas as turkeys. Images of farmers wading waist-deep in water to harvest cranberries has led to a widespread belief that cranberries grow in water filled bogs. Cranberries in fact grow on low creeping shrubs that thrive on dry sandy ground. The berry itself is slightly hollow which means they float in water, and the most common method for harvesting cranberries is to flood the whole growing area and then to comb off the floating berries.

Cranberry Season

The cranberry season is from October to December alongside that of turkey season, making this one of the reasons the pairing goes so well together. Fresh cranberries are the perfect example of eating seasonally, unlike strawberries and raspberries that can be found fresh all year round, even outside of their traditional growing season, fresh cranberries are only sold in the supermarkets during early winter. Although only a small percentage of the cranberry harvest is sold as fresh produce, the majority of cranberries end up as juices, sauces and dried snacks. North Americans annually consume nearly 400 million pounds of cranberries and most of that is eaten during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Health benefits of Cranberries

Before the cranberry became a Christmas dinner staple, they were traditionally used to treat swelling by the First Nations people in America. More recent studies have found that cranberries have a super high concentration of phenols, plant-based antioxidants, that have been shown to protect against heart disease and cancer, and of course the most common association with health and cranberries is in the treatment of UTI’s.

How to eat Cranberries

The festive season is always full of tantalising menus, warm baked good and general over indulgence in rich foods. The tartness of fresh cranberries, makes it go perfectly with other seasonal wintertime fruits like citrus. A loaf of cranberry and orange bread hot out of the oven is a great Christmas alternative to the ever popular banana bread. And of course the acidic bite to the humble cranberry makes it not only great in baked goods, but as a beautiful accompaniment to rich savoury meats, in its most common form as cranberry sauce.

Riverside Foods is a leading UK supplier of high-quality frozen chicken and turkey products. For more details about our Christmas range, please phone +44 (0) 1691 839288 or complete our contact form.

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