by Bree West
The cranberry typically grows wild in northern Europe, northern Asia, and North America. The North American cranberry is a member of the same family as blueberries and it has a long history; Native Americans used cranberries as food, for medicine, and in their ceremonies. They also used them as a source for red dye, to help stop bleeding (due to cranberry's astringent abilities), as a poultice for wounds and injuries, and combined with cornmeal to help counteract blood poisoning. The first commercial cranberry farm was planted in 1816 by Revolutionary War veteran Henry Hall, who discovered that cranberries grow better in the presence of sand, which prevents the growth of weeds. The cranberry industry has continued to grow, and currently, the U.S. crop is about 154 thousand metric tons of cranberries a year.
As was mentioned, the Native Americans used cranberry to help treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other illnesses for many years. Current science has discovered that cranberries do in fact help to prevent and treat UTIs because they have proanthocyanidins which help to prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract. If the bacteria can't stick to the walls then they will be washed away with the urine and no UTI will develop.
Cranberries also help to prevent kidney stones. In the U.S. about 75–85 percent of kidney stones are made up of calcium salts, and cranberries help to decrease the amount of ionized calcium that lead to kidney stones. Cranberries have quinic acid, which is not metabolized in the body, and is excreted, unchanged, by the urine. The quinic acid causes the pH of the urine to decrease (or become more acidic), which helps to prevent the calcium from turning into stones.
Cranberries contain a number of flavonoids, including anthocyanidin which studies have shown to be a particularly strong antioxidant that helps to prevent cancer, atherosclerosis, and other degenerative diseases. As with cherries, the deeper the red color of the cranberry, the better it is for you because it the concentration of these strong antioxidant compounds increases. It's also important to note that fresh cranberries are much higher in antioxidants than dried cranberries, and dried cranberries also tend to be much higher in sugar.
Fresh cranberries are low in calories and are an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, and soluble and insoluble fibers.
Raw Cranberry SauceIngredients:rn
- ½ c freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 orange, peeled and halved
- 1 apple, cored and quartered
- 1 c Medjool date, approximately 8–10, pitted
- 2 c fresh cranberries