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Cranberries (lingonberries), raw (organic?)

When raw, cranberries have a sour, slightly bitter taste. They are traditionally used to treat urinary tract infections. Organic quality is preferable.
The information we compiled for this ingredient complies with the standards ofthe USDA database.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 91.83%
Macronutrient proteins 2.82%
Macronutrient fats 5.34%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 0.2g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, 0.2g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 1:1

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Here, essential linolenic acid (LA) 0.15 g to essential alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) 0.19 g = 0.79:1.
Ratio Total omega-6 = 0.15 g to omega-3 fatty acids Total = 0.19 g = 0.79:1.
On average, we need about 2 g of LA and ALA per day from which a healthy body also produces EPA and DHA, etc.

Cranberries ( Vaccinium vitis-idaea ), also called lingonberries , taste extremely sour when raw, which is why they are mostly eaten cooked and sweetened. Choose organic berries if possible.

Use in the kitchen

What are lingonberries? Lingonberries are small, bright red berries that have a tart, sour, slightly bitter taste when raw. Can you eat lingonberries raw? Although you can eat lingonberries raw, they are mostly cooked and sweetened due to their high acid content. The berries are particularly popular in traditional Scandinavian cuisine. 1

Cranberries are often processed fresh into compote, jam, chutney or sauce. Cranberry jam is often used in all kinds of desserts such as cakes, tarts or strudel. A dollop of the sweetly preserved fruit in vegan soy yoghurt or on a waffle or crêpe tastes wonderful. Cranberries are often eaten as compote or chutney with hearty dishes. The sweet and sour taste of the preserved berries goes perfectly with vegan meatballs, lentil roast or in a warm pear half with vegan autumn plates with spaetzle, dumplings or mashed potatoes and red cabbage or Brussels sprouts . The sweet preparations give mushroom dishes, vegetable stews, gnocchi or rice pans a special touch and also taste good with vegan cheese. They also spice up soups as a topping (e.g. with potatoes or parsnips ), sandwiches or burgers as a sauce and salad dressings as a special ingredient.

The berries are suitable raw as an ingredient in salads, vegetable stir-fries, smoothie bowls, shakes (e.g. berry shake with wheat germ ), in morning muesli and porridge or as an ingredient in baking. Dried cranberries have a similar application and can also be used as a snack between meals.

Fresh cranberries can also be used to make excellent juice, syrup or tea. The fruit can also be added to wine or used to enhance liqueurs with its special cranberry flavor.

Vegan recipe for cranberry jam

Ingredients: 1½ kg cranberries (raw, organic), ½ kg sugar , peel of an organic lemon , optionally 2 juniper berries .

Preparation: Rinse the cranberries well, soak them briefly in water, remove any damaged berries and drain the rest well. Cut the lemon peel into fine strips or grate it finely. Crush the juniper berries. Mix the ingredients with the sugar in a large pot and leave to steep for about 2 hours. Then simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the hot jam into clean jars, close tightly and turn upside down for about 5 minutes (screw-top jars only, not Weck jars).

Tea preparation

Dried cranberry leaves can be prepared as tea. You need 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves for one cup. Pour boiling water over these and let them steep for about 10 minutes. To keep the extraction of tannins to a minimum, cranberry leaf tea can also be prepared cold. To do this, let the leaves steep in cold water for about 6-12 hours. After straining the leaves, warm the tea and sweeten it as desired. Ready-made cranberry tea mixtures (made from leaves or berries) are also available to buy.

Vegan recipes with cranberries (raw) can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - Storage

In conventional supermarkets (e.g. Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer , Billa ) and organic supermarkets (e.g. Denn's Biomarkt , Alnatura ), cranberries are almost exclusively available as preserves (jams, compotes) cooked with sugar. Some selected supermarkets, health food stores and organic shops also sell dried cranberries. Cranberry preparations (capsules, drinking granules, tablets, tea, juice, syrup) can be found in health food stores, pharmacies, drugstores or online shops.

In Europe, fresh, wild-harvested cranberries are most likely to be found at weekly markets between July and October. 2,3 There are also online shops that sell fresh or frozen cranberries.

The availability of cranberries (raw) varies depending on the size of the store, catchment area, etc. Our recorded food prices for the DA-CH countries can be found above under the ingredient image - and by clicking on them you can see their development at various suppliers.

Found in the wild

Where do cranberries grow? The natural distribution area of the cranberry is in the temperate and cold zones of the northern hemisphere. It can therefore also be found in the wild in the DA-CH countries. Large populations can be found in northern Europe. The evergreen subshrub, up to 40 cm high, grows in moors, swamps and acidic coniferous and oak forests. It has oval, leathery, shiny dark green leaves, light pink flowers and spherical fruits with a red color and a diameter of 5-8 mm. 3,4,5, 6,7,8

Wild-harvested cranberries should be washed thoroughly before consumption - keyword fox tapeworm (see chapter "Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects").

Storage tips

Fresh cranberries stay fresh for about 2-3 days when refrigerated. The red fruits will keep for several months when frozen.

Preserved cranberries should be stored in a dark, cool place, such as the cellar or pantry. Dried fruit should be placed in an airtight container and put in the freezer. If dried cranberries are stored at room temperature, the humidity in the storage room should not be too high. Cooked or dried cranberries can be kept for several years, provided that no pests or molds get to them.

Ingredients - Nutritional values - Calories

The energy content of raw cranberries is low at 41 kcal/100g. They are low in fat at 0.53 g/100g and protein at 0.28 g/100g. The carbohydrate content is also not high at 9.1 g/100g. 9

The vitamin C (ascorbic acid) content of raw cranberries is 12 mg/100g (15% of the daily requirement). Cranberries (14 mg/100g) andblueberries (9.7 mg/100g) have similar values. Blackcurrants (181 mg/100g) and sea buckthorn berries (450 mg/100g) contain significantly more of the vitamin. 9,10

Manganese is present in 0.26 mg per 100g of cranberries (raw) (13% of the daily requirement). A similar amount of manganese is found in cranberries (0.27 mg/100g) and blackcurrants (0.26 mg/100g). Nuts (e.g. hazelnuts : 6.2 mg/100g), whole grains (e.g. oat flakes : 3.6 mg), seeds (e.g. pine nuts : 8.8 mg/100g; pumpkin seeds : 4.5 mg) and germs (e.g. wheat germ : 13 mg/100g) in particular have a high content of the trace element. 9,10

100 g of cranberries contain 0.94 mg of vitamin E (8% of the daily requirement). This content is comparable to that of blackcurrants (1.0 mg/100g), blackberries (1.2 mg/100g) and cranberries (1.3 mg/100g). Nuts such as almonds (26 mg/100g) or hazelnuts (15 mg/100g) are particularly rich in vitamin E. 9,10

Cranberries are particularly rich in secondary plant substances (phytamines). Some of the secondary plant substances contained in these cranberries are flavonoids (e.g. catechins), phenolic acids, benzoic acid, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins (condensed tannins), arbutin and triterpenoids (e.g. ursolic acid). 1, 4, 11,12 However, the content and profile of phenols and triterpenoids in cranberry fruits vary depending on geographical origin, variety, stage of ripeness and environmental conditions (weather, soil). 1, 11

The complete ingredients of cranberries (raw), the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health Effects

Are cranberries healthy? Cranberries ( Vaccinium vitis-idaea ) and other berries have a positive effect on health mainly due to their high antioxidant activity. Studies have shown that cranberries have the highest antioxidant activity among soft fruits, including blackberries ,blueberries ,raspberries , strawberries and cranberries . Cyanidin-3-galactoside is the dominant anthocyanin in cranberries and has a strong antioxidant effect. 1,11 The flavonoids (such as quercetin) and proanthocyanidins also contribute to the antioxidant activity of the berries. 12,13

Regular consumption of berries, preferably throughout the year, can reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular and degenerative diseases. Fresh cranberries (raw) are the best source of bioactive compounds and antioxidants. However, the berries are most often found in processed form (as jam, juice or sauce) after they have been subjected to heat treatment, which can reduce their antioxidant activity by a third. If fresh berries are not available, dried cranberries are a better alternative than processed products. 11

The proanthocyanidins (condensed tannins) found in other Vaccinium berries (such as cranberries and blueberries) are associated with the health of the urinary tract. 1 According to some studies, regular consumption of berries, their juice or their preparations reduces the risk of suffering from urinary tract diseases such as cystitis. 14,15 However, this effect is controversial in the literature. 16

The tannins isolated from Vaccinium vitis-idaea (procyanidin B-1, procyanidin B-3, proanthocyanidin A-1, cinnamtanin B1, epicatechin and catechin) also show antimicrobial activity against periodontal pathogens such as Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia . 11 Mouthwashes containing fermented cranberries protect the oral mucosa, prevent gingivitis and support the healing of gum disease. The mouthwash reduces the levels of Streptococcus mutans (cause of tooth decay), Candida pathogens (cause of candidiasis) and pathogens of periodontal disease. 17 Proanthocyanidins also showed antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus . 18

A 2018 study in mice examined the effects of cranberry extract supplementation on reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with chronic consumption of high-fat diets. The results were improved cholesterol levels and a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. 19 Cranberries have also been shown to have antiproliferative and antitumor effects in in vitro and animal models. 20

Other potentially health-promoting properties of cranberry compounds include anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, hepatoprotective and neuromodulatory properties. 1,11 Both the leaves and the fruit of the cranberry are said to have soothing effects on liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diarrhea and gastritis. 21

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects

Are cranberries poisonous? Cranberries are not poisonous. However, some cranberry harvests from Bavaria and Eastern Europe are still heavily contaminated with caesium-137 (radioactive) due to the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl (Russian: Chernobyl). You should therefore pay attention to the origin. 2,22

Before eating, cranberries, as well as all other plants that grow close to the ground and can be eaten raw, must be washed thoroughly, or better yet, cooked. Infection with the fox tapeworm ( Echinococcus multilocularis ) is rare, but can have very serious consequences. The larval stages of the parasite can cause a serious liver disease in humans, alveolar echinococcosis. The worm usually lives in the small intestine of foxes, and rarely in dogs and cats. The tapeworm eggs enter the human body via the feces of berries, for example, and by eating contaminated food raw. The disease is often noticed late. Blood tests allow early detection and keep the infection under control. Note that freezing temperatures of up to -20 °C do not kill the eggs. 23,24,25

Do cranberries have side effects? Cranberries and their products can cause an allergic reaction in sensitized people when consumed. 13

Are cranberries in a jar healthy? Cranberries are mainly cooked with sugar , which is why the preserved berries have a high sugar content. Consume the sugared products in moderation and, if available, choose fresh, raw or dried, unsweetened cranberries.

Folk medicine - natural medicine

The leaves and fruits of the cranberry ( Vaccinium vitis-idaea ) are traditionally used in Asian and European countries for the natural treatment of urinary tract infections (e.g. cystitis), gastrointestinal complaints (e.g. diarrhea), neurodegenerative diseases and inflammations. 12,26

The Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ) recommends raw cranberries as a diuretic and detoxifying agent for the treatment of infectious diseases. The Russian State Pharmacopoeia (XIV edition) also describes cranberries as an antiseptic and diuretic agent used for urinary tract infections, stomach pain, diarrhea and rheumatism. Folk medicine records have also been found in Austria, Serbia, Sweden, Latvia, Azerbaijan and the Crees (indigenous people of North America) that demonstrate the traditional and historical use of cranberries (fruits and leaves) as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent. 12 In Cumbria (a county in England), cranberry leaves were one of the ingredients in a brew used to make an inhalant for a blocked nose or sinuses. 27

Tea made from berries or dried leaves can help to relieve urinary tract diseases, fever, gout and rheumatism. 3

Ecological footprint - animal welfare

The ecological footprint of a food depends on various aspects, such as cultivation method (conventional/organic), seasonality, origin, transport and, if applicable, packaging.

In many cases, the cranberries available in stores are berries that have been collected in the wild. Wild collections can also be certified organic and are therefore subject to organic guidelines (such as those of Bio Suisse). Among other things, there must be no harmful emission sources near the collection area and the collection activity must be ecologically harmless, i.e. it must not have a negative impact on habitat stability and biodiversity. 28 We therefore recommend buying organic products.

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation

The cranberry ( Vaccinium vitis-idaea ) is found in the temperate and cold zones of the northern hemisphere (Asia, Europe, North America). 6 The berries are mainly collected in the wild. Despite a long history of cultivation of some varieties in North America and the Scandinavian countries, the cultivation and breeding of cranberries is still in its infancy and only takes place on a small scale. 11

Growing in the garden or pot

If you have your own garden, it is a good idea to use cranberry bushes as ground cover. A sandy, humusy or peaty, fresh, rather nutrient-poor and acidic soil (pH 4-6) is ideal for cranberries. The location should be sunny to partially shaded. If you don't have space in the bed, you can also plant the cranberry in a pot. 29,30

The best time to plant is in autumn (October to the end of November). However, if you are worried that the young bushes will not survive the winter, you can plant them early in the spring before new shoots sprout. Cranberries planted in the spring must be watered well in the summer to prevent water shortages. In general, cranberry plants like it when the soil never dries out completely. 29,30 Weed control is an important maintenance measure, as other plants will quickly overgrow cranberry bushes. 29

Cranberries bear fruit from the third year onwards. The first berries are ready for harvesting in June and July. The main harvest takes place from August to October. 29,30 To harvest the berries as gently as possible, it is recommended to pick them by hand. A small berry comb can make harvesting easier, however. 29

Further information

The lingonberry ( Vaccinium vitis-idaea ) is a plant species from the heather family (Ericaceae), which also includes the cranberry ( Vaccinium macrocarpon ) andbilberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus ). There are two subspecies:

  • Vaccinium vitis-idaea subsp . vitis-idaea occurs throughout northern Europe from Scandinavia to northern Italy and the Caucasus, across northern Siberia and Japan southwards to northern China and Korea.
  • Vaccinium vitis-idaea subsp. minus is widespread in North America. The distribution area of this subspecies extends from northwestern Greenland across the Canadian Arctic southwards to New England. It grows westwards to the Great Lakes and British Columbia and reaches islands in the Bering Sea. 31

The cranberry ( Vaccinium macrocarpon ), known in German as the large-fruited cranberry, looks very similar to the lingonberry, but they are two different species. Cranberries were initially called "cultivated lingonberries", which led to great confusion among consumers. 2 Both are heather plants with red fruits, but the cranberry is significantly larger than the pea-sized lingonberry. In addition, cranberries taste milder and less tart than lingonberries. 32 Is there a risk of confusion with lingonberries? The lingonberry can be confused with the common bearberry ( Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ). Although the berries are non-toxic and do not usually cause side effects when consumed in small quantities, they are inedible. The two species can be distinguished by small dots on the underside of the lingonberry leaves. 33

Alternative names

What are Kronsberries? Kronsbeere is an alternative name for the cranberry. Other names include Riffelbeere, Griffelbeere, Braunschnitzer, Graslitzbeer, Grestling, Grante, Granten, Grandlbeer, Granken, Kranklbeer, Klusterbeere, Fuchsbeere, Fuchsbeeri, Kreuzbeer and Dröppelkes. Outdated spellings are Preisselbeere, Preuselbeere and Prasselbeere.

The English name is cowberry. The berry is also known as lingonberry or mountain cranberry.

The medicinal name for dried cranberry leaves is Vitis idaeae folium. 34

Bibliography - 23 Sources

1.Roger JDP. Heilkräfte der Nahrung. Ein Praxishandbuch. Advent-Verlag: Zürich. 2006.
2.USDA United States Department of Agriculture.
3.Kontiokari T. Randomised trial of cranberry-lingonberry juice and Lactobacillus GG drink for the prevention of urinary tract infections in women. BMJ. 2001;322.
4.Ibadullayeva SJ, Mamedova SE, Sultanov ZR et al. Medicinal plants of Azerbaijan flora used in the treatment of certain diseases. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2010;4(8).
5.Hewage SM, Sid V, Prashar S et al. Impact of Lingonberry Supplementation on High-fat Diet-induced Metabolic Syndrome and Hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis Supplements. 2018;32.
6.Mane C, Loonis M, Juhel C et al. Food Grade Lingonberry Extract: Polyphenolic Composition and In Vivo Protective Effect against Oxidative Stress. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2011;59(7).
7.Pini U. Das Bio-Food Handbuch. Ullmann: Hamburg, Potsdam. 2014.
8.Bundesamt für Gesundheit BAG. Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft. Fuchsbandwurm (Echinokokkose). 2019.
9.Bown D. Encyclopedia of Herbs & their uses. DK: London. 1996.
10.Fleischhauer SG, Guthmann J, Spiegelberger R. Enzyklopädie Essbare Wildpflanzen. AT Verlag: Aarau. 2018.
11.Russe KP. Upper Tanana Ethnobotany, Anchorage. Alaska Historical Commission. 1985.
12.Vogl S, Picker P, Mihaly-Bison J et al. Ethnopharmacological in vitro studieson Austria’s folk medicine - An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013;149.
13.Oberdorfer E. Pflanzensoziologische Exkursionsflora für Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete. Eugen-Ullmer: Stuttgart, Hohenheim. 2001. Preiselbeere.
15.Mabey R. Essbar Wildpflanzen, Pilze, Muscheln für die Naturküche. Haupt: Bern, Stuttgart, Wien. 2013. Preiselbeeren pflanzen. Wunderwaffe Preiselbeere.
18.Pahlow M. Das grosse Buch der Heilpflanzen. Gesund durch die Heilkräfte der Natur. Nikol: Hamburg. 2013.
19.Hjalmarsson I, Ortiz R. Lingonberry: Botany and Horticulture. John Wiley & Sons. 2002.
20.Bielfeldt HH. Deutsch Preisselbeere "Vaccinium vitis-idaea", seine Herkunft und Wortgeschichte. Zeitschrift für Slawistik. 1971;16(1).
21.Wikipedia Preiselbeere.
22.Wikipedia Englisch Vaccinium vitis-idaea.
23.Juthani-Mehta M, Van Ness PH, Bianco L et al. Effect of Cranberry Capsules on Bacteriuria Plus Pyuria Among Older Women in Nursing Homes. A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2016;316(18).