What Do You Know About Cranberries?

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Usually we just see fresh cranberries in the fall around Thanksgiving time. If you cook with fresh cranberries, you know that they are very tart and recipes usually call for added sugar to offset this flavor.

Of all the fruits, cranberries have one of the lowest levels of natural sugar. One cup of fresh cranberries has only 4 grams of sugar. Compare this with raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, all of which have 5-7 grams of sugar per cup. Other sweet fruits like cherries and grapes can have as much as 15-18 grams of natural sugar per cup!

There are two popular types of cranberries: fresh and dried.

Dried cranberries offer a way to get and use cranberries year-round. While drying cranberries dates back to colonial times, commercially-dried cranberries became popular (and a way for cranberry growers to diversify) in the 1990s.  Since dried cranberries are available all year, the demand for dried berries is now larger than it is for fresh berries. Did you know that the United States is the world’s top producer of cranberries and the top supplier of cranberries to the EU?

Let’s take a moment to compare fresh and dried cranberries.

Fresh cranberries are very high in Vitamin C. Sadly, there is no vitamin C in dried cranberries.

Both dried and fresh cranberries are good sources of antioxidants. I was originally concerned that some of the antioxidants would be lost in the drying process, but they aren’t!

According to MyPlate, one quarter cup of dried cranberries is equal to half a serving of fruit. One whole cup of fresh cranberries, on the other hand, counts as a single serving of fruit.

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS

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