Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. They grow in beds called 'bogs' made of impermeable layers of sand, peat, gravel, clay, and organic matter from the cranberry vines. The vines only grow where specific conditions exist, such as acid peat soil, an adequate supply of fresh water, periodic flooding, a supply of sand, and a long growing season that extends from April to November. There are two methods of harvesting cranberries - dry and wet harvesting.
EDEN Dried Cranberries are native American Vaccinium macrocarpon organically grown on family owned cranberry bogs in Quebec. They are wet harvested, considered to be the best way to harvest cranberries. When ripe the bog is flooded with water. A simple machine called a 'water reel' stirs and loosens the cranberries from their vines. The water reel is nicknamed the 'egg beater' and resembles a paddle boat. Cranberries have an air bubble in the center, and once loosened they float to the surface. Harvesters use a long handled gathering device to corral the berries into a large red carpet that is loaded into trucks and taken to the processing to be cleaned, sorted, and quick frozen. When ready for drying they are thawed and infused with organic apple juice concentrate to a targeted sweetness or 'Brix'. The infused cranberries are then rinsed, slowly dried, misted with organic sunflower oil to prevent clumping. They require no refrigeration.
Unlike commercial dried fruit, organic EDEN Dried Cranberries contain no added refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. They are free of sulfites, chemical preservatives, or any other additives.
Cranberries are native North American and were prized by American Indians. They used them as food, as textile dye, and as a healing plant for arrow wounds. Indians had many names for the cranberry such as sasamanesh, ibimi, and atogua. To Delaware Indians it was a peace symbol. Native Americans believed cranberries calmed their nerves. Its current name is from Dutch and German settlers who called it 'crane berry,' because its small pink blossoms resembled the head and bill of a Sandhill crane.
Although folklore and anecdotal accounts of cranberries healthful properties (especially benefits to urinary tract health) have been touted for centuries, research is revealing how healthful cranberries are. Packed with antioxidants and other efficacious compounds, cranberries are indeed valuable. USDA found its high phenolic content delivers a potent antioxidant value, rating it one of the highest out of 20 common fruits tested. USDA uses a system called Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). By testing the ability of foods and other compounds to subdue oxygen free radicals, USDA determines antioxidant capability. The ORAC value of cranberries is 1,750. Cranberries recently became the first fruit to carry a French certified health claim for urinary tract health.
Organic EDEN Dried Cranberries are a versatile healthy snack, but there's no sense limiting them to snacking. Use them in baking breads, cakes, and muffins, in pie fillings, puddings, and in grain and bread stuffing. Sprinkle them on salads and put them in hot or cold cereals. They're great in granola, muesli, granola bars, popcorn balls, and caramel corn.
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