Name Variations Edit
The cranberry is a small sour fruit. It is so sour that most people can't stand to eat fresh cranberries alone. Cranberries contain edible seeds and plenty of air. Cranberry juice has been shown to reduce bladder infections in a nursing home environment. Cranberries are popular as juice, dried fruit, and a jam or jelly called cranberry sauce — all with added sugar of course. One single growers' cooperative, Ocean Spray, controls 70% of the cranberry crop.
The cranberry is a part of subgenus Oxyccocus which belongs to the genus Vaccinium. The cranberry bushes are generally found in the northern hemisphere regions in acid bogs. Cranberry bushes grow in sandy bogs and marshes and they are found from summer to winter. The bushes are small they reach about ten centimeters and they are surrounded by evergreen tiny leaves. The flowers which produce the fruit are pink with reflexes petals while the fruit is a deep red berry and it is generally bigger than the leaves. There are four types of cranberries American cranberries (also called large cranberries), northern cranberry, small cranberry and southern mountain cranberry. Cranberries are used for preparing sauces, jams, compotes, muffins, cakes and juices. The juices are generally mixed with other fruits in order to reduce its usual strict bitterness. The cranberry juice consumed regulate reduces the urinary tract infections and has a chemical in its composition that obstructs pathogens which provoke tooth decay. The fruits are considered to have antibiotic properties which can prevent infectious bacteria from attaching to the cells between the bladder and the urinary tract.
Ripe cranberries will bounce if they are in good condition. They should be shiny and plump and range in color from bright light red to dark red. Shriveled berries or those with brown spots should be avoided. Cranberries do not ripen after harvest.
Store fresh cranberries in a tightly-sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. As with all berries, if one starts getting soft and decaying, the others will quickly soften and decay also. Be sure to sort out the soft ones if you plan to store them for more than a few days. Fresh cranberries may last up to 2 months in the refrigerator. Cooked cranberries can last up to a month in a covered container in the refrigerator. Washed cranberries may be frozen for up to 1 year in airtight bags.
No matter what preparation method you choose, cook cranberries only until they pop; overcooking gives them a bitter taste. Since cranberries are almost 90% water, do not thaw frozen cranberries before cooking them. Thawing will cause the fruit to break down, resulting in soft berries. Cranberries may be baked with a sweetener to make a topping or sauce. They are also good chopped with oranges to make a relish.
- Cranberry from the Wikibooks Cookbook—original source of article, licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License