Cranberries are small, but very useful for our body.
What miracle substances do they contain?
What is the uniqueness of this crop?
You will learn everything in this article!
Cranberries, miraculous red berries
Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium. They are small, round, deep red berries related to blueberries. They come from North America.
Cranberries are low. In addition to evergreen leaves, they have dark pink flowers. The berries are light green at first, turning red when ripe. They are edible and sour.
Where do cranberries grow? They are found in the forest or you can grow them in the garden.
Why consume cranberries?
They have a very sharp, sour taste, so they are rarely eaten raw; more often they are used dried or somehow processed.
Cranberries are strong antioxidants, which is why they are used to prevent urinary tract infections, to treat type 2 diabetes, cancer or chronic fatigue syndrome.
How many cranberries can you eat a day? 80g or 1 glass of cranberry juice is recommended.
Cranberries are widely used in gastronomy. You can add them to or with main courses. Process them into desserts, jams or juices.
And what benefits do they have for our health? Read on.
Cranberries and health
Due to the high content of antioxidant compounds, cranberries have medicinal effects. For example, cranberry juice treats and at the same time prevents urinary tract infections.
Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which have natural antibacterial effects and can help prevent Escherichia coli bacteria from attaching to the inner surface of the bladder and urinary tract and causing infection. So if you are going to drink cranberry juice, choose unsweetened 100%.
Cranberries also support healthy heart function, reduce blood pressure and high cholesterol. They can be a prevention of stomach ulcers.
They contain ursulic acid, a compound with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and potential anti-cancer effects. They have been shown to be particularly helpful in prostate cancer.
Side effects of cranberries
Side effects of excessive cranberry consumption include:
- upset stomach
- pain or burning when urinating
- kidney stones
If you have an allergy to cranberries, you can tell by an itchy mouth or tongue, sneezing or a runny nose. If a more severe allergic reaction occurs, call an ambulance immediately.
If you are taking the blood thinner Warfarin, talk to your doctor about the recommended dose of cranberries.
Cranberries are especially high in vitamin C. You can see other nutritional values, minerals and vitamins in the following table:
|Nutritional values||Raw cranberries 100 g|
|Vitamin A||3 mcg|
|Vitamin K||5 mcg|
|Vitamin B2||0.020 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.101 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.295 mg|
|Vitamin C||14 mg|
|Vitamin E||1.32 mg|
Types of cranberries
Latin Vaccinium vitis-idaea. A cranberry that grows in the wild. It is a popular variety especially in the Nordic and Eastern countries of Europe.
This variety prefers shade, moist and acidic soil. It has underground stems that form dense bundles. Its leaves are evergreen and do not fall even through the winter. The flowers are bell-shaped and white to pale pink in color.
The fruits are red in color. They have a sour taste and ripen in late summer. It is better to cook the berries before consumption, sweeten and process them into jam, compote, juice, smoothie or syrup.
The berries of this cranberry are also important food for bears, foxes and many birds that feed on the fruit.
Cranberry cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus) is a variety with smaller oval leaves with sharp tips. The berries of this variety are red, smaller and have a drier texture.
It occurs on the banks of rivers or lakes, in swamps or marshes.
A Dutch variety that is grown mainly for European commercial production.
It has small to medium fruits that are somewhat sour.
Latin Vaccinium macrocarpon.
It can be grown in humid conditions. It has evergreen leaves, pink flowers and large, tart, red berries. These are usually only in late autumn.
Also called ornamental cranberry or Viburnum trilobum. A crop that needs plenty of moisture.
Its dark green leaves change color depending on the season, they can also be red. Clusters of white flowers bloom in spring, followed by red fruits that hang over winter.
They have a sour taste like other cranberry varieties and are ideal for use in homemade jelly.
Cultivation of cranberries
If you decide to grow cranberries, the method of cultivation will depend on the chosen variety.
In general, cranberries prefer moist and more acidic soil. Berries that are exposed to the sun turn deep red when fully ripe, while those that are not fully ripe are pale pink or white in color.
Cranberries are harvested in autumn, when the fruits acquire their distinctive deep red color, and ideally after the first frost.
They are mostly processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam and sweetened dried cranberries.
Fresh cranberries can be frozen or canned. If you want to be inspired, read the recipes for delicious cranberry preserves .
Dried cranberries are also consumed. These are often used in granola mixes and baked goods, due to their high fiber content.
In the following table you can see their nutritional values, minerals and vitamins:
|Nutritional values||Dried cranberries 100 g|
|Vitamin A||2 mcg|
|Vitamin B3||0.548 mg|
|Vitamin C||0.2 mg|
|Vitamin E||2.10 mg|
|Vitamin K||7.6 mcg|
Cranberry tea – used for proper kidney and urinary tract function
Cranberry juice – used in the treatment of urinary tract inflammation, it is also part of cocktails such as the Cosmopolitan
Cranberry sauce – is especially suitable for turkey meat, for example as part of a festive dinner
Currants like cranberries
In Czech cuisine, canned cranberries are often added to sirloin sauce. A similar substitute for cranberries is preserved currants.
It is almost impossible to tell that these are not canned cranberries. But if we were to compare these crops raw, the red currant is sour, while the cranberry is bitter.
If you often suffer from urinary tract infections or kidney disease, cranberries should definitely not be missing from your diet. There are many ways to consume them. So include them in your drinking regime or food. Your body will thank you!