About Cranberries

Frequently Asked Questions

Polyphenols include several classes of phytonutrients, including flavanols found in cranberries, that are naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. In addition to their antioxidant capacity, polyphenols have been shown to provide protection from some bacterial pathogens, cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation.

Proanthocyanidins (PACs) are in the flavanol family – a class of polyphenols. The PACs found in cranberries have a different structure than those found in other fruits and vegetables which are associated with their anti-adhesion properties. Cranberry PACs help prevent the adhesion of certain harmful bacteria, including E. coli associated with urinary tract infections, onto cell walls.

Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals when they are formed. The human body is capable of producing antioxidants naturally, but under conditions of stress this antioxidant production can be severely impaired. Fruits and vegetables, including cranberries, provide an excellent source of additional antioxidants.

Normally the molecules that make up our body have an even number of electrons orbiting around a nucleus. A free radical is any molecule with an odd number of electrons. These "unstable" molecules attempt to "stabilize" themselves by capturing an electron from another molecule. The cells in the body where this process is occurring can become injured. The cell may malfunction or even become malignant.

The body produces free radicals through normal metabolic pathways (i.e. extracting energy from the food we eat). Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation, tobacco smoke, and exposure to certain naturally occurring chemicals can also be sources of free radical production. In short, we are exposed to potential sources free radical production every day of our lives.

Yes. In fact cranberries freeze very well either whole or sliced. When sealed in an airtight container, frozen cranberries will keep for nearly a year.

While commercial farms exist in nearly a dozen states, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Québec account for most of the production worldwide. Production is also expanding in Chile.

No. It is a common misconception that cranberries are grown in water. Water is used during harvest to float the fruit for easier collection, and during the winter months to protect the plants from freezing and desiccation. The rest of the year the fruit is grown on dry beds.

Neither. The American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a low-growing, vining, woody perennial plant with small, alternate, oval leaves. The plant produces horizontal stems or runners up to 6 feet (2 m) long. Short vertical branches 2 to 8 inches (5 to 20 cm) in height, called uprights, grow from buds on the runners and produce both vegetative and fruit buds. Each fruit bud may contain as many as seven flowers.