The United States produces about 70,000 tons of cranberries every year, most of which are grown in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington state. While vines are extremely hearty (some vines in Massachusetts are more than 150 years old and still producing!), this native North American fruit requires specific growing conditions: acidic peat soil, sand, and lots of fresh water.
Native Americans knew about the cranberry's health and dietary benefits. Later, American whalers and sailors ate the fruit to prevent scurvy on long voyages. Today, research confirms what the old salts knew: Cranberries are a nutritionally dense food. For more information on the health benefits of cranberries, visit cranberryinstitute.org.
Cranberries come fresh, frozen, dried, jellied, or juiced. You can usually buy fresh cranberries from mid-September through the end of the year. Fresh, they can last in the fridge for up to four weeks. Store any unused, unwashed berries in plastic bags in your freezer, and you can enjoy this healthy, hearty, super fruit all year long.
Helpful Hint: 1½ cups fresh or frozen = 10 oz. of 27% juice cocktail = 1 oz. sweetened dried = ½ cup sauce
Check out these cranberry recipes:
Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies