Cranberries: A Thanksgiving Tradition and Superfood

Written and Published by BMT Foods, November 22, 2021

Every year, cranberries and cranberry sauce are staples on many tables on Thanksgiving. After all, the sweet and sour taste of the cranberry complements turkey, and other Thanksgiving sides, perfectly. But did you know that cranberries are also a superfood with vast nutritional benefits?

What exactly are cranberries?

The cranberry is a berry that originates from an evergreen shrub that live in bogs primarily within the world’s Northern Hemisphere. In North America, the shrub that produces cranberries is found in the northern U.S. and Canada. Cranberries are primarily grown within bogs in the Northern Hemisphere, as they thrive in this acidic environment. The cranberry is initially green and turns red when ripening. By itself, the cranberry tastes acidic and tart, which typically masks the berry’s sweetness. However, by cooking cranberries, adding sugar to them, or using other methods of sweetening them, cranberries become a delicious addition to the Thanksgiving table.

An overview of the 2021 cranberry growing season.

Our cranberry growers reported lower-than-usual cranberry crop yields in 2021 versus 2020 in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, the two largest cranberry-producing regions in the U.S. Lower crop yields were also reported in the Canadian province of Quebec. As a result of the lower crop yields, along with general supply chain issues, there is a shortage of cranberries and the prices for cranberries around the Thanksgiving holiday has climbed more than usual.

In Wisconsin, cranberry growers face the worst cranberry harvest in at least 15 years. It is projected that cranberry volumes will fall below 400 million pounds. Wisconsin is the largest cranberry grower in the U.S., so this lower-than-expected yield has created problems around the world. In Massachusetts, heavy rainfall in August and September has depressed the crop yield, resulting in a decrease in this year’s cranberry yield over last year.

Cranberries are truly a superfood with many health benefits.

Cranberries are considered a superfood, as they contain many vitamins and minerals and can provide numerous potential health benefits for consumers. First, cranberries contain soluble fiber which is great for healthier digestion patterns. Cranberries also contain a wide spectrum of vitamins. The Vitamin C in cranberries helps protect your skin, muscles, and bones. Cranberries are rich in Manganese, an antioxidant that helps promote healthy cell growth. The Vitamin K1 in cranberries helps promote healthier blood clotting. Most famously, cranberries have been touted as a remedy to alleviate or prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to the A-type proanthocyanins they contain.

Cranberries can be made into a variety of products.

Typically, cranberries are used for producing cranberry juice, cranberry sauce (especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas), jelly or jam, dried cranberry snacks, or cranberry toppings. At BMT Foods, we offer Cranberry Juice Concentrate, Cranberry Juice NFC, and Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) Cranberries, which can be whole, sliced, or diced, for bakery, food production, and other applications.

BMT Foods works closely with our trusted cranberry producers. We are available to answer any questions you have about our cranberry product offerings. Reach out to us today to learn more.

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