Is it even Thanksgiving dinner if there’s no cranberry sauce involved?! Cranberries have become a staple side dish of a traditional Thanksgiving feast, but they also happen to have a fascinating history. Read on for some facts you probably never knew about cranberries:
1. Cranberries, along with blueberries and Concord grapes, are one of three cultivated fruits that are native to North America. Native Americans used the cranberries for food and medicine, as well as a dye for clothes and blankets, as early as 1550.
2. A hundred years ago, you could only buy cranberries once a year, during harvest, from mid-September to mid-November. That’s because cranberries were only sold whole. But that’s all changed: only 5% of the entire US crop is sold as fresh cranberries — the rest goes into processed foods and beverages.
3. Cranberries were originally used to cure meats, heal wounds, and dye fabric.
4. 400 million pounds of cranberries are consumed by Americans each year. Twenty percent of that is during the week of Thanksgiving. That’s 80 million pounds!