For ESL Learners – Cranberries

Cranberries are one of the traditional parts of the Thanksgiving dinner in the U.S. and Canada. Even families who never eat them at other times – and may not really like them – have cranberry sauce to go with the turkey.

Cranberries grow throughout Canada and in the northern States, as well as other northern countries. The bushes need wet places, called bogs, to grow in. There is a type of cranberry that grows wild, but the ones we buy and use are grown on farms.

The berries are smooth, with a white color that changes to dark red. In the past, they were not picked until they turned red. However, they are already ripe when they are white. Recently, white cranberries have been picked and used for juice and other products.

Cranberries are very sour and almost impossible to eat without sweetening. For example, a recipe for cranberry sauce calls for four cups of cranberries and two cups of sugar. (The berries and sugar are boiled in water and cooled.)

Dried cranberries, which are sweetened, have become popular. There are also cranberry muffins, chocolate-covered cranberries, cranberry gelatin, and cranberry drinks. Cranberry juice is often mixed with the juice of sweeter fruits, like raspberries. Some bakers put cranberries in their apple pies for a sharper taste.

Cranberries have a high amount of vitamin C. Some people feel they keep sickness away – especially urinary tract infections. A study found that this might be true for adult women, at least. One problem the researchers had was that many people dropped out of the study. There may be some reason people get tired of drinking cranberry juice.

Cranberry extract, in pills, is also sold in drugstores and health food stores. Some find it easier to take these than to drink cranberry juice. Of course, cranberries are healthiest when they’re fresh, like any fruit.