Cranberry growing in South Africa
Cranberries are creeping or trailing plants of the genus Vaccinium (family Ericaceae), related to blueberries. Cranberry plants are small (40cm high), evergreen shrubs native to North America. Cranberries are easy-care plants that tolerate moist soils, but they do require a very low (acidic) soil of a pH level between 4.5- 5.5 to fruit and thrive.
As part of a healthy diet, cranberries can be added to low-fat vinaigrettes, whole grain pancakes and yogurt.
[/luv_icon_box][luv_separator height=”20px”][luv_page_section id=”nutrition” hide_dot=”true”][luv_icon_box title_tag=”h3″ icon_type=”image” icon_size=”80″ color_scheme=”default” title=”Nutrition and health benefits:” image=”4752″]
- Cranberries score among the highest of all fruits in antioxidants. Diets including fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant values, like cranberries, may help support memory function and coordination. Antioxidant compounds such as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC’s), anthocyanidin flavonoids, cyanidin, peonidin and quercetin in cranberries may offer protection against cardiovascular disease by counteracting against cholesterol plaque formation in the heart and blood vessels. Further, these compounds help the human body lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL-good cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Delicious, tart cranberries hold significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called pro-anthocyanidins (PAC’s). Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries have potential health benefits against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections.
- Research studies suggest that drinking cranberry juice can protect against gram-negative bacterial infections such as E.coli in the urinary system by inhibiting bacterial-attachment to the bladder and urethral mucosa.
- Consumption of cranberries turns urine acidic. Together with inhibition of bacterial adhesion actions (proteus bacterial-infections), cranberry juice can help prevent the formation of alkaline (calcium-ammonium- phosphate) stones inside the urinary tract.
- Further, the berries prevent plaque formation on the tooth enamel by interfering with the ability of another gram-negative bacterium, Streptococcus mutans to stick to tooth surface. It thus, helps prevent development of cavities.
- In addition, the berries are also good source of many vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate and phenolics like ß-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, and minerals like potassium, and manganese.
- Cranberries are a cholesterol free, fat free and low sodium food, and help maintain a healthy heart.
- The berries are a natural source of lutein, which is great for eye health, and quercetin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory and may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Source: www.nutrition-and-you.com[/luv_icon_box][luv_separator height=”50px”]
It can take a few years before a newly planted bed will produce any fruit, but they will continue to provide cranberries almost indefinitely if they are cared for. There are some commercial fields that have been bearing fruit for more than 100 years.
Cranberry plants need soil with a low pH level (between 4.5 and 5.5) and a high level of organic matter. A mixture of sandy soil and untreated peat moss works well as a planting medium.
Cranberry plants grow best directly in the garden where they have plenty of space to spread their runners (vines). However, it is also possible to grow the cranberry plant in a large pot, if you prefer. A 5L or larger pot will suffice. We found that a large (20L) rectangular pot particularly works well, which can be placed on a window shelve to allow the runners to overhang.
These plants are extremely cold hardy and can be grown about anywhere in South Africa, but cooler areas works even better as the plant needs to enter it’s dormant state for optimum fruit production.[/luv_icon_box][luv_separator height=”50px”]
The cranberry gets its name from Dutch and German settlers, who called it “crane berry.” When the vines bloom in the late spring and the flowers’ light pink petals twist back, they have a resemblance to the head and bill of a crane. Over time, the name was shortened to cranberry.
Although commercial growers harvest cranberries by flooding the fields in order to make the cranberries float (and therefore easier to collect), this is not necessary for home growers. The cranberries can simply be picked off the plants by hand.
Once harvested, fresh cranberries will stay fresh for up to two months when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Dried cranberries can be stored for up to one year.[/luv_icon_box][luv_separator height=”50px”]