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7 Facts You Didn't Know About Cranberries

Think you know everything about this Thanksgiving classic? Think again!

7 things you didn't know about cranberries

Photo by Mark Thomas

  • Fresh cranberries bounce, thanks to the four small air pockets in each berry. Just think: a new way to entertain your Thanksgiving guests!
  • Cranberries don’t grow in water, as most people think, but on perennial vines in sandy bogs and marshes. Why the misconception? When it’s time to harvest, growers flood the beds so berries float to the top.
  • Fans of jellied cranberry sauce can thank cranberry-bog owner Marcus Urann for this classic. Looking for a way to sell cranberries year-round, he was the first to devise methods for canning the berries. That perfect cylinder of ridged delight that today trembles on holiday tables everywhere was first sold in 1941. The fruit’s natural pectin is what gives it a gelatin consistency.
  • Native Americans used cranberries to create the original energy bar. Pemmican, a high- protein mash of dried deer meat, fat tallow, and cranberries, could keep for months.
  • Wisconsin is the top cranberry producer in the U.S. So great is its affection that in 2004, the state declared cranberry its official fruit. (Runners-up: Massachusetts and New Jersey)
  • Berries are born white and turn crimson only as they ripen.
  • Cranberries are finicky, requiring acidic soil, plenty of fresh water, and a long winter’s nap—going dormant, that is— which accounts for their limited availability year-round. But fresh berries can hang around up to nine months frozen in the bag.

Find recipes for cranberry sauce, cranberry bread, cranberry salads, and more.


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About Cheryl Brown

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