Cranberry (American cranberry) is a small evergreen shrub of the Ericaceae family. The red fruits are edible. Note that this is not the Vaccinium vitis-idaea (Lingonberry) with which it is often confused.
The plant is in the form of semi-woody polloniferous bushes, with perennial stems and horizontally developing creeping stems, up to 2 meters long. The leaves are small and oval, bright green on the upper side, paler on the lower side. The vertical shoots (5-8 cm) that develop from the buds on the stolons, can be vegetative or give origin to the fruit.
The flowers are pinkish-white, bell-shaped, facing the ground. They are made up of 4 petals curved backwards and can be single or in small clusters. They bloom in the second half of summer.
The fruits are round berries, 1.5-2 cm in diameter, the skin is shiny and hard, bright red in color that turns dark red with ripening. The pulp is dense, rich in seeds, with a sour and astringent taste due to the high content of tannins, which give the blueberry antioxidant properties.
A very important food, that is, a food that, if taken regularly and without excess, behaves like a drug, like all berries, in addition to mineral salts, vitamins, anthocyanins (see Siberian blueberry), Cranberry is, together with grapes ursina, the fruit that contains the greatest amount of proanthocyanidins.
The latter, in short, are natural organic substances that have the important antibacterial action, among others: they completely envelop the bacteria that cause cystitis, preventing them from proliferating, thus avoiding annoying inflammation of the urinary tract.
Many cystitis pharmaceuticals have a high cranberry content
From the same family as our European blueberry (Lingonberry), which grows spontaneously in the woods, the cranberry is a bush no taller than 20/30 cm that grows well in sandy, humid and marshy soils, tends to widen up to almost one meter in height. diameter and, unlike other berries, only in markedly acid soils (ph 4.0 / 5.5)
The ‘Pilgrim’ variety ripens late, around September-October.
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