Cranberries are a wild, healthy berry that grows in northern latitudes. Contains a huge amount of nutrients and nutrients that help strengthen the immune system and fight against all sorts of infections. How and where the cranberries grow, everyone who goes for this well of vitamins should know.
General information and types
All cranberries belong to the Vereskov family and are related to blueberries, blueberries and lingonberries. In total there are 4 varieties of cranberries that grow in the wild:
- Cranberries ordinary. Shrub belongs to the evergreen and grows in the northern and temperate latitudes of the Eurasian continent. Creeping plant, shoots up to 80 cm long. The leaves are ovate to 100 mm long. It blooms in May and June. Lasts in September. The diameter of the berries - 16 mm.
- Small-fruited. The shoots of this shrub spread to 30 cm. The plant is listed in the Red Book of many regions. Fruits with a diameter up to 8 mm.
- Large-fruited. Distributed mainly in Canada and the United States. The fruits of this berry reach 25 mm in diameter. On its basis, large varieties of cultivated cranberries are cultivated.
Now the berry is harvested not only by hand, but also by a special combine. This allows you to harvest a nutritious and healthy berries on an industrial scale.
There is also a hybrid bred in the USA for cultural breeding. For a long time, mankind could not tame the wild berry, because cranberries are very capricious of the environmental conditions in their growing areas and require high soil fertility. The homemade cranberry variety appeared only at the end of the XIX century. It is easier to grow under the supervision of a person than wild and has less requirements for soil and moisture.
At the same time, the wild berry tries to grow in places located far from human habitats. Therefore, berry lovers can go more than one kilometer before they run into a thicket of useful product.
Properly harvested and harvested cranberries serve as antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, as well as an immunity enhancing agent. It can be used to treat colds, including in pregnant women and in children. The berry also has limitations, in particular, it cannot be in large quantities for people with stomach ulcers and other problems of the gastrointestinal mucosa.
How to grow cranberries
Cranberries are marsh berries and grow in peat and sphagnum bogs. In Russia, the berry grows exclusively in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as in wet coniferous forests and wet lowlands. They also attract berries and peat deposits. In our country it is impossible to find cranberries only in the southern regions, with a minimum number of winter months and dry soil. In Russia, it is found in Kamchatka, in Karelia, on Sakhalin and in Siberia. Everywhere in those regions that belong to the tundra and forest tundra, as well as in taiga wet, coniferous forests, where swamps and wet lowlands are often found.
It is noteworthy that in different territories the berry has its own names. For example, in the Pskov region of Russia, it is called the spring breeze, and the Ukrainians call it a crane. In Belarus, this berry is called Zhuravina.
Comparison of cranberries with a crane is not accidental - the berry is located on a long stem, which resembles a thin and long neck in a crane.
Interestingly, cranberries often grow in places where people have not spoiled the environment and have not developed a vigorous economic activity. This is a kind of indication that the nature around is pure, and much has been preserved in its original form. The main conditions for the growth of this berry is a sufficient amount of moisture and fertile soil.
What does a cranberry look like?
Cranberries are small, evergreen shrubs. The shrub shoots are thin and spread wide around. At the same time they can take root by special adventitious roots of a very small size.
The leaves of the shrub are small, with short cuttings and an egg-shaped form. From above, the leaves are slightly pointed, and their edges are intact, slightly curved down.
On the upper side, the leaves have a dark green color and a shiny surface. The bottom color is grayish.
Flowers drooping, small, located on long pedicels. Flowers have a white color, often with a pink tinge. Cranberries are blooming in late spring and early summer. Only 3 months after the start of flowering, you can harvest. The uniqueness of this berry is that it can be collected both unripe and otzymovavshey in the spring, after the snow melted. True, in the spring in the cranberries are already much less vitamins and nutrients.
The fruits are basically spherical, sometimes egg-shaped berries of small size. When fruits are formed, they are white in color and then turn red. The color is bright, glossy, and dimensions reach 13 mm in diameter.
In order to increase the yield, cranberries are grown on special plantations on an industrial scale. There, the harvest is 20-30 times more.
When cranberries are harvested
Berry has several collection times. It all depends on the preferences and taste of consumers:
- Summer. Berry at this moment is not yet fully ripe. The sides of the berry are reddish or pink. Such fruits can ripen on the windowsill, but they have an order of magnitude less nutrients and have a bitter taste. Such berries are usually harvested for long-term transportation.
- Autumn. Cranberries at this moment have a brown color and have the highest degree of maturity. The high content of pectin in these berries allows them to preserve their quality and preserve for a long time in the form of blanks for the winter. Autumn cranberries are also important for winemakers, since special microorganisms are formed on its skin that contribute to the fermentation process.
- Spring. Overwhelmed berries accumulate a large amount of sugar, and therefore the taste of spring cranberries is not so sour. But there is practically no vitamin C in this berry. However, it is poorly transported and not stored.
When cranberries ripen in Russia
The maturation of useful raw materials occurs depending on the region. The first harvest ripened in early September, and in the central regions of Russia - by mid-September. If at this time to pick cranberries and sort, then whole berries can easily fill with cold water and leave in a cool place for storage until next year.Attention! Cranberries, which are grown as a crop in gardens, ripen on average 14 days earlier than wild.
The second term for the collection of wild raw materials - November, with the onset of frost. And until the first snow. In some regions, cranberries are prized precisely after frost, as they become sweeter.
The third collection period is early spring, immediately after the snow melts. But during this period it should be collected very carefully, because it is easily wrinkled and poorly transported. And the places you need to know where the cranberries can be found, and where it has not yet been collected.
How to grow cranberries in the swamp
Everyone knows that the wild northern berry grows in a swamp. Therefore, you need to collect the cranberries with great care. Cranberry bushes spread along the marsh, only slightly rising above the ground.
Attention! Berry likes high humidity, and therefore a dangerous quagmire can easily be hidden under a carpet of a shrub. Therefore, in the campaign for cranberries, you must be careful and use a long stick in order to probe the ground in front of you.
Optimal when collecting use a special comb, wooden or metal. So the berry is easier to find, because it hides under the leaves and is not always visible to the naked eye.
How and where the cranberries grow, all lovers of "quiet hunting" know. These are northern taiga forests, where swamps and high soil moisture are common. In these places there is always a clearing where the carpet is covered with shrub with bright red beads. It is important that you need to carefully prepare for picking berries and be careful, because cranberries like swampy places with lots of bog where you can get bogged down. But the collection time is very extensive: from the beginning of September to the complete overlap of snow cover. In some regions, the harvest is collected with pleasure even in spring. But experts with experience say that the most delicious and healthy berry is after the first frost.