NATIONAL EAT A CRANBERRY DAY
On November 23rd, National Eat a Cranberry Day encourages us to take a bite of the bright red cranberry. But brace yourself!
Found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere, cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs, or trailing vines, that grow up to 7 feet long and 8 inches high. Their stems are slender and wiry, and they have small evergreen leaves.
The cranberry flowers are dark pink with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. The fruit of the cranberry plant is a berry that is larger than the leaves and is initially white but when ripe, turns a deep red.
- Cranberries’ acidity overwhelms their sweetness.
- They’re a major commercial crop in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.
- However, Wisconsin leads in cranberry production with over half of U.S. production.
- We mostly find cranberries processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam, or sweetened dried cranberries.
- Cranberry sauce is considered an indispensable part of a traditional American Thanksgiving meal.
- Due to their nutrient content and antioxidant qualities, raw cranberries are marketed as a superfruit.
- There are three to four species of cranberry, classified into two sections.
- Producers make white cranberry juice from cranberries harvested after they’ve matured but before they turn their characteristic dark red color.
- Some producers make cranberry wine in the cranberry-growing regions of the United States.
- Laboratory studies indicate that extracts containing cranberry may have anti-aging effects.
The word cranberry comes from “craneberry”; first named by the early European settlers in America who felt the expanding flower, stem, calyx, and petals resembled the neck, head, and bill of a crane.
HOW TO OBSERVE #EatACranBerryDay
Anyone celebrating this holiday will need to incorporate cranberries with other foods. Since cranberries have such a pungent flavor, they hold their own when baked, sauteed, boiled, blended, or pureed. This list will give you ample opportunity to eat a cranberry and explore a variety of ways to enjoy them, too!
- Bake them. Try this Cranberry Lemon Scone recipe. The sweet and tart combination will be a perfect start to your morning.
- Get your health kick-started. A Cranberry Smoothie may not meet the definition of “eat a cranberry” but we’ll let it slide. This sounds too good to pass up.
- Add sun-dried cranberries to your oatmeal, yogurt, popcorn or trail mix. The tart berries will offer a morning or mid-day pick-me-up that traditional snacks don’t. It might also put you in a holiday mood.
- Bring cranberries to the savory side by making a marinade. Before serving it to your guests, make sure you know who’s in charge of doing dishes. That’s right. Not the cook.
Share all your favorite ways to enjoy a cranberry and use #EatACranberryDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL EAT A CRANBERRY DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this berry sweet holiday.
Q. Are cranberries good for the urinary tract?
A. A component in cranberries called A-type proanthocyanidins (say that three times fast with a cranberry in your mouth) prevents bacteria from forming on the bladder lining. So, yes, eating cranberries or drinking their juice could prevent or help alleviate a urinary tract infection.
Q. Will I get sick if I eat a raw cranberry?
A. If you can get past the bitter and astringent taste of a raw cranberry, you will likely not suffer any adverse reaction. That said, eating too many cranberries, like many other berries, can result in an upset stomach. Also, if you’re sensitive to tannins, the compound that gives cranberries their notoriously bitter flavor, you might develop a migraine.