Thursday, March 13, 2014

History of cranberries

Cranberry is a native of northern Europe, northern Asia and North America. Remnants of cranberries have been found in Bronze Age tombs in Denmark. The Scandinavians used them to make beer.

From very ancient times Cranberries have been used for culinary purposes. In summer they form a cool and refreshing drink and in winter they are made into tarts and pies.

In America, pilgrims may have made cranberry sauce sweetened with maple syrup instead of sugar. 

Cranberries, which grew in wet swamps and marshes, were plentiful in the area. Long before Europeans arrived, Native Americans picked and ate cranberries, and used them to make pemmican.

The luscious red berry, a symbol of peace was also used to dye clothing and blankets and to extract poison from wounds, as well as their practical uses.

‘Cranberry’ is usually interpreted as a corruption of ‘crane-berry’, and early American for the plant in use since the late seventeenth century.

Dutch settlers are said to have originated the English word from their word kranbeere, which in turn comes from the Low German kraanbere, ‘crane berry.’ It was the Germans and Scandinavian, too, who probably popularized the notion of eating cranberries with meat in the English-speaking world, which led to today’s pairing of turkey with cranberry sauce.

By the beginning of the 18th century, the colonists were exporting cranberries to England. But, the history of cranberry cultivation changes forever in 1840 when a Massachusetts man observed that cranberries grew in abundance when the winds and tides filled hos bog with sand.

Bogs became the ideal medium for cranberry. It is believed that first commercial cultivation of cranberries was initiated in the early 1800s at Dennis, Massachusetts by Henry Hall.
History of cranberries