National Eat A Cranberry Day is celebrated on November 23 every year. The cranberry is a delicious fruit that creates even more delicious food and beverages, and it has a sweet set of benefits. Legend has it that cranberries were served as part of the feast during the very first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. Eat A Cranberry Day promotes and celebrates all that the red berry offers and is, of course, a day dedicated to eating a cranberry.
History of Eat A Cranberry Day
Cranberries have been around for tens of thousands of years; their origination is rooted in natural and geographical occurrences. Long ago, glaciers that receded after the Ice Age left behind cavities that eventually evolved into cranberry bogs, and other geological changes made the perfect environment for cranberries to grow in.
The American Indians used and consumed cranberries, or ‘sassamanash’ as they called it, in numerous forms. They ate it, made dyes with it, and used it as a natural healer for war wounds. With its abundant health benefits, the Indians made their version of a cranberry energy bar known as ‘pemmican.’ Europeans who arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries were no strangers to these berries as they had their own cranberry bogs in parts of southern England. While the fruit has had many names, ‘craneberry’ was the most widely used because its flower was believed to be shaped like a crane.
Wide-scale cranberry cultivation began in 1816 when Captain Henry Hall realized the positive impact of sand on his cranberry bogs. He developed a technique to spread sand over his cranberry vines, taking the cultivation world by storm. The technique spread and cranberry cultivation saw a rapid increase. The cranberry industry continued to grow over the years, leading to the innovation of new tools and techniques to make cultivation and harvesting more efficient. This generated thousands of job opportunities, and cranberries eventually became an indispensable part of the economy. Even global demand was on a steady increase.
The first case of pesticide contamination in the U.S. involved cranberries — the “Great Cranberry Scare of 1959.” Beginning in the mid-1950s, cranberry farmers introduced a new chemical called ‘aminotriazole,’ a known carcinogen, to control weeds in their bogs. The FDA approved the herbicide on the condition that it was applied after the harvest to ensure it doesn’t contaminate the berries. In 1958, the Delaney Clause prohibited the sale of foods containing cancer-causing substances, which led to compulsory tests showing aminotriazole contamination in some cranberries from Washington and Oregon. Just before Thanksgiving, Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare Arthur Fleming made an announcement warning the public against cranberries. Thanks to these special berries, governments worldwide started prioritizing food safety from that day by regularly recalling contaminated foods.
Today, U.S. Farmers harvest approximately 40,000 acres of cranberries each year, and the industry continues to see more advancements. On November 23, Eat A Cranberry Day is celebrated nationwide to pay tribute to these wonderful berries. There is no public record of the origin of this unofficial holiday and no congressional or presidential declarations to make it a national day. The earliest mention of Eat A Cranberry Day on the internet was in 2015.
Eat A Cranberry Day timeline
Missionary John Elliot names the fruit ‘cranberry,’ derived from the German ‘kraanbere’ and English ‘craneberry.’
American settlers make the first-ever cranberry juice.
Veteran Henry Hall mass cultivates cranberries for the first time in Dennis, Massachusetts.
The first-ever cranberry sauce is marketed.
Thanks to this significant health scare, Americans have a cranberry-less Thanksgiving for the first time in a long while.
Eat A Cranberry Day is first mentioned and celebrated on the worldwide web.
Eat A Cranberry Day FAQs
Are cranberries poisonous?
No, in fact, they are really good for you. The rawest form of cranberries is deemed too bitter to eat, but even that won’t kill you.
Are cranberries popular in the U.S.?
Cranberries are one of the most popular fruits in the U.S. Americans consume around 400 million pounds of cranberries every year.
Where are the most cranberries produced?
Cranberries are widely cultivated in the U.S. Some states that are popular for their cranberry production are Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.
Eat A Cranberry Day Activities
Eat a cranberry
The most simple (and obvious) way to celebrate Eat A Cranberry Day is to, well, eat a cranberry. Whether it’s raw, in a juice or smoothie, in your favorite baked treat, or any other form, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Cook with cranberries
With a plethora of recipes and ideas out there, the world is your oyster when cooking with cranberries. Grab some of these versatile berries and let your imagination run wild, chef.
Make your own cranberry dye
Cranberries are rich in pigmentation and make for strong and durable clothing dyes. With a handful of cranberries, water, old clothes, and some elastic bands, you have yourself a DIY project.
5 Fun Facts About Cranberries
They bounce and float
Cranberries have small pockets that pump air inside them, causing them to bounce and float.
They are teeth whiteners
In their rawest, purest form, cranberries are great for oral and dental hygiene.
The official berry of Massachusetts
In 1994, the State of Massachusetts declared cranberries as the official berry.
We’re thankful for them
More than 94% of Thanksgiving dinners every year include cranberry sauce.
It’s all water
Cranberries are 90% water.
Why We Love Eat A Cranberry Day
An abundance of health benefits
Cranberries, in their purest form, have innumerable health benefits. They are low in sodium and contain little to no fat and cholesterol. They can be used to treat bladder and kidney diseases, prevent plaque, bacteria and gum diseases, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
They are versatile
They are key ingredients in many popular foods and beverages, often used as clothing dyes, and more. Cranberries play a big part in the U.S. economy as a major commercial farm produce.
They taste so good
While their raw version may be bitter and inedible, the cranberries we know and love are delicious. From smoothies and sauces to juices and baked goods, cranberries can do it all.
Eat A Cranberry Day dates