Cranberries contain more natural vitamins than most other berries that grow in bogs and marshes. These pretty red berries add a touch of brightness to grey autumn days with their beautiful colour alone, not to mention their sour and bitter taste. The nice green leaves of the cranberries also add a pretty note to autumn.

Cranberries are used almost everywhere – in the food industry, medicine, folk medicine and at home. They add a great freshness to desserts and are fantastic with pastries and meat dishes. Everyone knows that eating cranberries is good for you. These berries burst with vitamins and have a number of qualities that help improve and maintain health. However, just popping some cranberries in your mouth is not the best idea – the sour taste will make you wince. This is the result of their high acid content. In addition to citric acid they contain benzoic acid, which has a strong antibacterial effect and is what makes cranberries so easy to preserve. We hope that eating cranberries will keep viruses away during this cold, dark season.

There are three periods in the year when cranberries can be picked, but usually this is done in autumn from September until the arrival of snow. This is when cranberries are at their most valuable and strongest. The best known way of preserving cranberries is in water. Wash and clean the berries, put them in a jar or bottle and cover them with cold boiled water. Kept in a cool place, cranberries can survive the winter like this. Berries that are picked earlier will rapidly go off due to their low benzoic acid content and because their vitamin content is also small. Berries picked in later autumn after a light frost taste the best – freezing when still attached to the plant makes the taste milder. However, the only way to preserve them raw is to deep freeze them. Cranberries picked in spring are juicy and sweet, but do not keep well, and their vitamin content is lower. Cranberries are soft berries that burst easily.

If bogs and marshes are too far away and you cannot get to the market, it is good to know that you can grow cranberries in peat beds in your own garden. Cultivated cranberry varieties have large berries (1.5-2 cm) and high yields. The bright red berries also add a touch of eye-catching beauty to your garden.