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Cranberries: An American Culinary Tradition

The vibrant, red cranberry not only packs a nutritional punch, but is a fall and winter culinary staple. Chefs use this small, sturdy berry in to enhance both the flavor and presentation of their recipes, and its fans appreciate its historical significance in American cuisine. Chefs master the uses, properties, and history of their ingredients while studying the culinary arts, and cranberry is no exception.

Cranberries: A Culinary Gem

Perhaps the craberry's most remarkable quality is its versatility. Cranberries are available to consumers in several forms: fresh, frozen, dried, sauced, and juiced. No longer just a Thanksgiving side dish, tody's chefs learn to integrate these tart, firm berries into appetizers, breads, desserts, beverages, main courses, sauces, salads, and side dishes. With such so many uses, the cranberry is in high demand.

History and Facts Concerning the Cranberry: A Chef's Guide

Chefs master more than just the uses of a particular ingredient during their culinary education. In the case of the cranberry, culinary students might learn some of these important facts:

  • The Native Americans used cranberries as early as 1550.
  • Cranberries, along with blueberries and Concord grapes, are the only native American fruits.
  • Cranberries were first commercially grown in Massachusetts in 1810, and are harvested today on over 40 thousand acres in the northern United States and in Canada.
  • Cranberries are perennials, are grown in bogs, and get their name from "craneberries" because their blossoms resemble the sandhill crane.


Future chefs studying the culinary arts realize that cooking is multi-faceted. Well-trained chefs succeed by using the proper techniques, drawing on a bit of creativity, and learning all they can about their ingredients and food cultures.

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