Cranberries

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 25. Aug. 2020
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Cranberries are an incredibly nutrient-packed berry that is delicious as a juice or mixed with hearty meats.

cranberries

Cranberries...

  • ...are anti-aging. If you’re looking to combat the signs of aging, look no further than the humble cranberry. Their high antioxidant content effectively protects against free radicals.
  • ...help protect your cells. Cranberries are full of anthocyanins, natural dyes which have been proven to prevent cell damage by free radicals.
  • ...help prevent inflammation. The anthocyanins in cranberries have a general anti-inflammatory effect and can also help to prevent rheumatism and arthritis.
  • ...are good for your eyes and skin. With 29 micrograms per 100 grams, dried cranberries contain significant quantities of beta-carotene, which helps build the immune system and promotes healthy vision and skin.
  • ...almost always have added sweeteners. Unfortunately cranberries are hardly edible if they aren’t sweetened.
  • ...can stress your stomach. If you like the taste of raw cranberries, you should only eat them in small quantities, as they can cause gas and constipation.

What You Should Know About Cranberries

Cranberries are an incredibly versatile and delicious berry that provide a slew of health benefits. Remember that the cranberry’s tart taste means that is not very palatable without sweetening of some kind. 

Origins

Cranberries have been an integral part of the American diet for hundreds of years. Native Americans harvested and consumed them, as did European settlers when they began colonizing the region in the 1600s. Today, cranberries are still mostly harvested in the U.S.

Season

Cranberry season starts in September and lasts until early November.

Flavor

Raw cranberries taste extremely sour and are rather inedible. Dried, they still have a pleasantly tart flavour, but become considerably sweeter and taste delicious on their own.

Find all our cranberry recipes here.

How Healthy Are Cranberries?

Cranberries have a reputation for helping with the bladder issue cystitis. Indeed, in recent years several studies have confirmed this beneficial effect.

Experts are still debating, however, whether cranberries can help with other bladder issues, such as a urinary tract infection. What is known is that cranberries contain high amounts of valuable plant substances, including polyphenols and anthocyanins, which have an antibacterial and antioxidant effect. Anthocyanins are particularly beneficial for helping protect the cells against free radicals and for healthy blood vessels as well as for the heart and circulation.

The dark red berries have a lot more health benefits as well. Fresh cranberries contain a relatively high amount of vitamin C, plus considerable amounts of vitamin A, around 13 grams per 100 gram serving. Dried cranberries contain even higher amounts of minerals.

Despite the high vitamin content, cranberries should only be eaten raw in moderation, as larger amounts can lead to stomach issues such as gas and constipation. Caution is also required when combining medicines with raw cranberries, as the fruit can impair the absorption of medicinal substances.

Cranberry Nutritional Info (100 g) Fresh Dried
Calories 46 308
Protein 0.4 g 0.1 g
Fat 0.1 g 0.4 g
Carbohydrates 12 g 82 g
Fiber 4.6 g 5.7 g

 
Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

You can generally find cranberries in every well-stocked supermarket year round. Look out for plump skin without wrinkles and spots. You can also try the bounce test-- simply drop the cranberry from a height of about 7-10 inches onto a table. If it bounces like a rubber ball, that means it’s the right quality and freshness.

Storage

Fresh cranberries can be kept in the refrigerator for two to three months. You can also freeze fresh cranberries, which will stay good for up to a year. Dried cranberries keep almost indefinitely if you store them in their original packaging or in a tightly sealed container.

Preparation

Before eating your cranberries, simply wash thoroughly in a colander and drain well.

What To Make With Cranberries

Fresh cranberries are perfect for savory and hearty dishes because of their tart acidity. Dried varieties are much sweeter, and thus go particularly well with desserts, muesli and pastries.

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