Wednesday, July 28, 2021

American cranberry plant

Cranberries or botanically name (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.,) for millennia have been a part of the diet of North American and used for medicinal purpose in folk medicine. Cultivation of the American cranberry began in the early 1800’s with the selection of vines from the wild that possessed qualities considered favorable by the collector.

These vines were usually transplanted to a swampy area where they were cultivated and the berries were eventually harvested. The name cranberry was given by early German and Dutch as its flower resembled the head and bill of the crane.

Cranberries are long-lived woody perennials. The plant is a low-growing, trailing, woody vine with a perennial habit. Cranberries produce stems or runners from one to six feet long. During the growing season, the leaves are dark green and glossy, turning reddish-brown during the dormant season. The vines form a thick mat over the surface of a cultivated bed.

Although cranberries are most familiar to consumers in North America, close relative of the cranberry also consumed in Northern Europe and Asia.

The natural distribution ranges from Newfoundland west through the Great Lakes region to western Ontario and Minnesota, and south at higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina and Tennessee.

In North America and Europe, cranberries are primarily processed and consumed in form of cranberry juices, cranberry juice cocktails, and cranberry fruit juice with the oldest cranberry juice recipe dating back to 1683.

The typical annual crop size is approx 500 million pounds, with 60% being used directly in beverages, 35% being processed into sauces and concentrates that are mostly made into beverages, and 5% being consumed fresh.

Cranberries are popular with the consumers because of their bitter-tart taste, and because of their positive implication for health as a functional food, they are one of the first functional foods in America. Cranberries are beneficial for the human organism because they are a good source of vitamin A, B1, B2 , B6 and C, flavonoides, organic acids and other substances.

As a functional food, cranberry juice is associated with protection from urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberry juice may also be useful for promoting cardiovascular health and inhibiting cancer development, and suggestions have also been made regarding cranberry applications for improving oral and gastric health.

The anthocyanin content of cranberry is believed to have important therapeutic values, including antitumor, antiulcer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities.
American cranberry plant

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