'Tis the season for these tart, crimson berries. Though Thanksgiving is behind us, and harvesting is complete for most, we'll be savoring cranberries at holiday gatherings for at least the next few weeks. This all-American fruit is a staple on dining room tables from roughly November-January. It turns out there's a lot more to this old favorite than you might expect. Do you grow cranberries in your garden? Ready to test your knowledge? Check out The Humble Gardener's seven fascinating facts:
- Cranberries are one of just three fruits native to the United States.
- These plants age well! It's possible to find 100 year-old vines that are still producing cranberries.
- Almost all cranberries are grown in either Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Oregon, or Washington State.
- The name 'cranberry' may have come from German and Dutch settlers who found the cranberry plant resembled the head and neck of a crane, and thus named it a 'crane-berry,' eventually shortened to 'cranberry.'
- Native Americans enjoyed cranberries as far back as the early 1500s, baking them into bread with a mixture of cornmeal and Maple syrup. Sounds pretty delicious! Unripe cranberries were also made into a salve that was thought to heal arrow wounds, extracting the poison from the body.
- America's first sailors learned to eat cranberries before long voyages. They believed the berries provided protection from scurvy.
- The ruby red hue indicates major nutritional value. Cranberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and Vitamin K. They contain anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.