Throughout history, wherever they grew, cranberries and blueberries have been eaten for their therapeutic benefits.
Well before the arrival of settlers in North America, the indigenous peoples used cranberries to supplement their food intake, heal their wounds, and to dye their clothes. Sailors took them on their long voyages to prevent scurvy.
When the settlers arrived, the American natives showed them the benefits of cranberries. This led to the ritual of preparing a turkey with cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving in honor of the Wampanoag people of Massachusetts: in 1620 they had helped the starving Pilgrims who disembarked from the Mayflower, feeding them at first, then teaching them to catch wild turkeys and to grow corn. The first harvest took place in the fall of 1621, when the settlers invited the chief and a large number of members of the Wampanoag tribe to a meal.
The first large-scale cultivation of cranberries took place in the 19th century.
These berries should have a pleasant smell. The stalk should be green, not dried, and the fruit should be plump, not bloated.
Cranberries: fresh cranberries are rare in France. They are mainly found in North American markets.
They can be found canned in cranberry sauce, dried, and frozen.
Most of the cranberries produced in the US and Canada are made into juice or jam.
Blueberries: fresh, sold in small trays.
Wild or dried, they are also frozen and dried, made into juice, jelly, and jam.
Cranberries and blueberries are packed with all kinds of antioxidant molecules (including carotenes, precursors of vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, and minerals.
For centuries, blueberries have had a proven reputation for being beneficial for the eyes. The vitamin A found in them is necessary to renew the rods in the retina. During the Second World War, air force pilots consumed large amounts of bilberry jam to improve their sight!
Cranberries have scientifically proven action on urinary tract infections, in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, and on stomach ulcers, owing to their high antioxidant content.
Hence the large-scale production of cranberries in Canada and the United States to produce the juice of this beneficial fruit.
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