10 things you probably didn't know about cranberries with bowl full of fresh cranberries

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Cranberries

Oh, the curious cranberry. This tiny flavorful powerhouse can make you pucker and smile at the same time, thanks to its tartness and hint of sweetness. Whether it be cranberry sauce, relish, or bread, come Thanksgiving, cranberries take their place at the table, along with a turkey and the rest of the holiday fixin’s. How well do you know the cranberry? Other than it being a staple during the holidays, people may be surprised by this powerhouse fruit. Here are ten things you probably didn’t know about cranberries:

1. Cranberries Don’t Grow in Water

Ocean Spray commercials, with the thousands of cranberries soaking up rays as they float in wetlands or bogs, would have you thinking cranberries grow in or underwater. Actually, cranberries grow in sandy marshes on trailing vines similar to strawberries throughout many Northern states, including Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin.  

2. Cranberry Harvesting Starts With a Flood 

Although you can dry harvest cranberries by picking them from their vines with a raking machine, most cranberries are wet-harvested. This process requires growers to flood cranberry bogs with up to a couple of feet of water then churn it with water reels to dislodge the cranberries. Once off the vines, cranberries rise to the water’s surface, making it easier for growers to corral them.

3. Cranberries are 90% Water

Like many other familiar fruits such as peaches (89%), oranges (88%), strawberries (91%), and watermelon (92%), cranberries have a high water content of 90%. In addition, nutrient-rich cranberries contain antioxidants and fiber.

4. Cranberries Float

What makes cranberries float? Experts say four tiny air pockets within the fruit cause cranberries to rise and float on top of the water during harvest.

5. There are About 440 Cranberries in a Pound

It takes a lot of cranberries to make a pound, about 440. This translates to about 200 cranberries per can of sauce and 4,000 cranberries in your typical cranberry juice.

6. Americans Consume Around 80 Million Cranberries During Thanksgiving Week

The week of Thanksgiving is the most popular time of year to consume cranberries, so much so that we eat 20% of the yearly consumption of cranberries in that one week. The states that consume the most cranberries? According to Ocean Spray, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

7. Cranberries Can Help Fight Gum Disease

Studies show that proanthocyanidins, chemical compounds found in cranberries, can inhibit bacterial growth responsible for plaque, cavities, and gum disease.  Of course, if you drink sugar-laden cranberry juice, you’ll negate the health benefits natural cranberries offer.

8. Cranberries are Native to North America

Cranberries, Concord grapes, and blueberries are the only three cultivated fruits native to North America. Reports note that as early as 1550, Native Americans used cranberries for food,  medicine, and fabric dye.

9. Cranberry Vines Can Live Indefinitely

Correctly cared for cranberry vines can live indefinitely.  It is reported that some Cape Cod cranberry vines are over 150 years old and continue to bear fruit.

10. Cranberries Make a Fantastic Sauce (Not in a Can)

Texas Pepper Jelly knows a thing or two about cranberry sauce. We know that paired with the right ingredients, you can create flavorful cranberry combinations that you won’t find in a can, like our Peach Cranberry Habanero, Apple Cranberry, and Pomegranate Cranberry Rib Candies. Heck, we love cranberries so much we even make a Cranberry Habanero Pepper Jelly. Whether you glaze your Thanksgiving turkey with our Cranberry-based Pepper Jelly or baste it with one of our three Rib Candies, your turkey will be the envy of all your dinner guests. Don’t forget you can also use Texas Pepper Jelly Rib Candy on your rolls or use it as a vegetable dip, and our Jelly as a glaze for your carrots.

For a couple of ideas on how to incorporate TPJ cranberry products into your meals today read this blog post where we share a simple recipe and ideas on how to use our delish cranberry sauces and jelly.