Cranberries are a well-known source of vitamins. They can be found in swamps and bog forests from September until the arrival of snow. Cranberries are round, red, tart berries with a strong skin. They can be added to almost any dishes. They are the most plentiful in autumn, which is also the season when the berries are the most abundantly used. Cranberries look great on a plate and their deep ruby colour whets the appetite.
The acidic taste of cranberries can be balanced with oranges, apples, pineapples or pears. Their tartness can be cleverly used in fresh salads: replace lemon juice and vinegar with fresh cranberries or freshly squeezed cranberry juice. Using cranberries is the healthier option, as the red berries make the salad taste better and add colour. Dried autumn berries add zest to muesli or oatmeal porridge. Dried cranberries can also be eaten instead of sweets. The taste of cranberries becomes less acidic when they’re dried, but they don’t lose any of their goodness.
You can make a great autumn salad from fresh cabbage, carrot, cranberries and pineapple. Rinse the cabbage and carrot and grate the carrot coarsely. Cut the cabbage into thin strips and cube the fresh pineapple. Crush the cabbage and carrot with a little sugar and salt to soften, then add the pineapple cubes and red cranberries. Squeeze juice from some cranberries to make the salad taste even better. Mix the salad carefully with a wooden spoon until even. Sprinkle some cranberries on top before serving, as their vibrant colour will make it look really pretty on the table.
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.
Cranberry helps alleviate skin problems and this wonderful berry can be used by everyone. Cranberry has no contraindications in cosmetology.
Cranberry is a good solution to the problem of oily skin. Fold a piece of cheesecloth in five or six layers, dip it in freshly squeezed cranberry juice and place the cloth on your face after cleansing. Don’t cover the area around the eyes, nose or mouth. The lower eyelids must be protected with a greasy cream. A cranberry mask also helps nourish dry skin. Mix 1 tsp. of freshly squeezed cranberry juice with 1 tsp. of greasy cream. A mix of fresh cranberry juice and egg white helps in the case of flaky skin. Mix the components well and apply to your clean face. The masks should be left on the face for 10-20 minutes and then removed carefully.
Cranberry is used to minimise large pores and alleviate skin irritation. The disinfecting properties of cranberry make it a good treatment for inflamed skin.
Cranberries are also widely used in cooking. They are a great ingredient for pastry fillings. Cranberries are also added to sauces served with meat. They are a tasty and vitamin-rich addition to the daily diet. However, food and drinks made only of cranberries have the biggest benefits. Cranberries are often used to make juice, jam, jelly and sauce. It is also possible to make cranberry kvass. Scald the berries in hot water and squash them with a wooden spoon. Add water and boil, then add sugar. Let the liquid cool down and dissolve yeast in it. Pour the liquid into a bottle, cork it and leave it to rest in a cool and dark place for three days.
A small cranberry shrub is as good as an entire pharmacy. Cranberry farms use cultivated plants with large fruit, which are as nutritious and healthy as the wild berries. However, their chemical composition is somewhat different. For example, cultivated cranberries contain more carbohydrates and flavonoids, but they contain fewer organic acids, especially ascorbic acid, than the wild plants. However, these differences have no significant impact on the nutritional or therapeutic properties of cranberries.
Cranberries picked in Estonia come from clean and environmentally friendly areas.
Cranberries are a real health source by providing dietary minerals, organic acids and other useful things. Cranberries contain different minerals, vitamins, organic acids, flavonoids, phytocides, pigments and pectins. Cranberries are rich in acids, which is shown by their sour taste. Acids include citric, benzoic, malic, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and others, which give cranberries a special taste, the ability to disinfect your stomach and intestines, and to stimulate the production of enzymes in the body. Organic acids inhibit the development of disease-producing bacteria. Citric acid acts as an antioxidant as it strengthens the cell system. Benzoic acid and its salts have both a killing and inhibiting effect on microbes. Benzoic acid is used as a preservative in the food industry. The acids hide cranberries’ sweet taste. Sugars are mainly represented by glucose and fructose. Thanks to the dietary fibres (cellulose and pectin) found in cranberries they have the ability to cleanse the body.
Medicine has always paid attention to cranberries. Cranberries and their juice stimulate digestive glands and increase appetite. Raw berries are the most useful for the body. Cranberries stimulate the production of gastric and pancreatic juices, and are therefore good to use in case of hypochlorhydria or the first stage of pancreatitis. The usefulness of cranberries lies in their great amounts of healthy antioxidants in polyphenols. Polyphenols supposedly have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic characteristics.
Cranberry juice quenches thirst and eases fever pains. In case of high blood pressure, it is good to take candied cranberries or crushed cranberries with honey and garlic. Standard treatment will also become more effective thanks to eating these berries. Cranberries are helpful in case of renal, bladder or urinary system diseases as they have diuretic effect and they destroy microbes. Cranberry extracts and pills, which are very efficient for people with bladder or urinary system diseases, are available in pharmacies. Cranberry juice, which cures angina and bronchitis, is used in many cold medicines. Eating berries constantly helps to prevent infectious diseases. Due to containing dietary fibres, they are good in the prophylaxis of atherosclerosis. Cranberries are healthy because they strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system as they make a person’s arteries softer and more elastic, and prevent the formation of clots. Consuming cranberries has a positive effect on the body’s biggest artery, the aorta. Consuming cranberry juice and preparations daily increases the amount of HDL aka “good” cholesterol in blood and decreases the amount of LDL aka “bad” cholesterol. Cranberries are recommended when treating pulmonary tuberculosis but they can also relieve arthritic conditions.
NB! Cranberries are contraindicated in case of gastric and duodenal ulcers and liver diseases. People with hyperchlorhydria have to careful. They can drink diluted juice and only use the berries in foods.