October is the most “fruitful” month during the cranberry harvesting season. National Cranberry Month honors this tiny, antioxidant-packed red berry that also makes for a delicious granola ingredient. Let’s take a look at how these berries are grown, how they are harvested and what health benefits they have.
How Cranberries Grow
Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay with an adequate fresh water supply. This environment is known as a bog and Massachusetts (where we are from) has more than 14,000 acres of cranberry bogs!
When the wet harvesting season takes place (mid-September – early November) it’s typically a 3-day process.
Day 1: Water is released onto the bog, flooding it with enough water to just cover the vine tips.
Day 2: Water reels are driven onto the bog, knocking the fruit from the vines.
Day 3: Cranberries are corralled and taken off the bogs with pumps or conveyors into waiting trucks. The trucks then proceed to the receiving station for cleaning and eventual processing.
The way that cranberries are produced can be labeled as sustainable. When the harvesting season is finished, growers normally do not have to replant since the perennial cranberry will survive indefinitely with proper care. Some vines in Massachusetts are more than 150 years old!
Cranberry Health Benefits
Cranberries hold a multitude of health benefits! Long known as food that helps prevent urinary tract infections, cranberries also contain phytonutrients that lower the risk of inflammation, help improve gum health and reduce the risk of periodontal disease. They have anti-inflammatory properties and are a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect against cancer and the effects of aging.
Golden Girl Granola owner Deborah O’Kelly on using cranberries in granola:
“Dried cranberries are both delicious and nutritious, which is why we wanted to have a granola flavor that featured this delightful fruit. We love working with local partners like Decas Cranberry Products to get our cranberries for our Creative Cranberry granola. It is one of our most popular flavors this time of year.”
Cranberry Granola Special