Fresh cranberries

Available from mid-November. Notice may be required.

fresh cranberriesThe cranberry, along with the blueberry and Concord grape, is one of North America’s three native fruits that are commercially grown. Cranberries were first used by Native Americans, who discovered the wild berry’s versatility as a food, fabric dye and healing agent.

The name “cranberry” derives from the Pilgrim name for the fruit, “craneberry”, so called because the small, pink blossoms that appear in the spring resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill crane. European settlers adopted the Native American uses for the fruit and found the berry a valuable bartering tool.

American whalers and mariners carried cranberries on their voyages to prevent scurvy. In 1816, Captain Henry Hall became the first to successfully cultivate cranberries.

Cranberries are a unique fruit. They can only grow and survive under a very special combination of factors: they require an acid peat soil, an adequate fresh water supply, sand and a growing season that stretches from April to November. This must include a dormancy period in the early winter months, that provides an extended chilling period, necessary to mature fruiting buds.

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. Instead, they grow on vines in impermeable beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. These beds, commonly known as “bogs,” were originally made by glacial deposits. Normally, growers do not have to replant since an undamaged cranberry vine will survive indefinitely. Some vines in Massachusetts are more than 150 years old.

Many claims have been made about the health benefits of cranberries, but contrary to popular belief, studies have proven that drinking cranberry juice has no noticeable effect on  bladder infections.

Fresh cranberries are a source of moderate levels of Vitamin C, dietary fibre and essential minerals, and also phytochemicals which are linked to effects on the cardiovascular system, the immune system and to reducing the risk of cancer.

Check out our Blacksticks blue scone with cranberry jam recipe for a great seasonal canape.

Our cranberry and clementine posset with walnut and ginger cookies is another crowd pleaser.

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