Cranberry – A super fruit

by Dr. Lalith Gunasekera

Botanical name: (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

(March 07, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Cranberry is not a popular part of the Sri Lankan diet either as a drink or dessert. The main reason is that is not a tropically grown fruit and is not available locally. Due to its recognition as one of the superfruit around the globe, it would be appropriate to investigate some of its important characters.

Cranberry is an evergreen dwarf shrub or trailing vines in the genus Vaccinium. They found in acidic wet soil conditions throughout the cooler parts of Northern Hemisphere. Cranberry is native to North America and was used by Native Americans to treat bladder and kidney diseases.

The name cranberry has been attributed to a shortened form of crane berry, so called because the flower resembles the head and neck of a crane.

It is a perennial plant. So once established, the plant will continue to produce berries each year without replanting. Cranberry vines grow up to 2 m long and 5-20 cm height. They have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink. They are pollinated by domestic honey bees. The fruit is a berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant. It is initially white but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces. Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce and sweetened dried cranberries.

Since the early 21st century within the global functional food industry, there has been a rapidly growing recognition of cranberries for their consumer product popularity, nutrient content and antioxidant qualities giving them commercial status as a “super-fruit”.


Nutrient Value per 100 grams

Energy 46 kcal
Fibre 4.6 g
Suger 4.04 g
Calcium 8 mg
Magnesium 6 mg
Manganese 0.15 mg
Phosphorus 13 mg
Potassium 85 mg
Sodium 2 mg
Vitamin C 13.3 mg
Vitamin A 60 IU
Vitamin K 5.1 micro gm
Beta carotene 36 micro gm
Lutin + Zeaxanthin 91 micro gm

Cranberry fruit is high in antioxidants, partly from substances called proanthocyanidins (which give cranberries their vibrant colour).

About 95% of cranberries are processed into products such as juice, drinks, sauce and sweetened dried cranberries. The remaining 5% are sold fresh to consumers. Cranberries are normally considered too sharp to be eaten plain and raw but available in supermarkets.

Tell a Friend