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Americans Eat 400 Million Pounds Of Cranberries Each Year. 20 Percent Is Eaten Thanksgiving Week.

Updated March 23, 2024

Another seasonal holiday staple graces the table each year and National Cranberry Relish Day makes sure you’re prepared. On November 22nd make sure you’re stocked and ready. Get tasting the many recipes out there and pick your favorite one!

  • 1820s – Revolutionary War Veteran Henry Hall formally cultivates and ships cranberries to neighboring states for the first time.
  • 1860s – Reverend Benjamin Eastwood publishes a book on cranberry cultivation after a boom in sales during the Civil War
  • 1880s – A New Jersey grower named John “Peg Leg” Webb discovered that cranberries bounce.
  • 1868 – a standard 100 lb. barrel of cranberries sold for $0.58 in Philadelphia, PA.
  • 1900s – Believed to have originated in the New England States during the early 1900s, cranberry relish is a traditional part of many families’ Thanksgiving dinners.
  • 1912 – Canned cranberry sauce got its start in 1912 when cranberry growers Marcus L. Urann and Elizabeth Lee started working together to create a jellied sauce, which was concocted by boiling the bruised berries from the bog (say that 3 times fast).
  • 1941 – Cranberry sauce in a can became a Thanksgiving staple across the country by 1941.
  • 1959/1971 – Each Thanksgiving, Susan Stamberg provides National Public Radio listeners with her mother-in-law’s recipe for cranberry relish sauce. She has been doing this since 1971. What’s unusual about the special recipe, known as Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish, is that horseradish is one of its principal ingredients. Craig Claiborne originally published the recipe in his food column in 1959.
  • 1994 – The cranberry was made the official state berry of Massachusetts.
  • A barrel of cranberries weighs 100 pounds. Give or take a few, there are about 450 cranberries in a pound and 4,400 cranberries in one gallon of juice.
  • If you strung all the cranberries produced in North America last year, they would stretch from Boston to Los Angeles more than 565 times.
  • Legend has it that Pilgrims served cranberries, along with wild turkey and succotash, at the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • There are several theories as to the origin of the name ‘cranberry.’ One is that the open flowers look like the head of a crane; another is that cranes like these sour berries.
  • Americans consume 400 million pounds of cranberries each year. 20 percent are eaten during Thanksgiving week.
  • The cranberry is one of three fruits native to North America. The other two are the Concord grape and the blueberry.
  • There are approximately 333 cranberries in a pound, 3,333 cranberries in one gallon of juice, 33,333 cranberries in a 100-pound barrel.
  • Cranberry juice contains a chemical that blocks pathogens that cause tooth decay
  • 90% of all cranberries are wet harvested. The bog is flooded then a great big eggbeater knocks the berries off the vine. They float up to the top of the water where they are scooped up.
  • Cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month, or in the freezer for up to nine months.
  • Massachusetts-based Ocean Spray, the largest producer of cranberry products in the U.S., produces about 79 million cans of jellied cranberry sauce each year, 85 percent of which are sold during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
  • Jellied cranberry sauce from a can (the log) is most preferred by consumers totaling 75% of overall cranberry sauce sales.
  •  It takes about 200 cranberries to make one can of cranberry sauce.
  • Why does it wiggle? Because cranberries have a high pectin content, which causes the fruit to “gel.” Pectin is a key ingredient added when making jellies or jams.
  • John Lennon confirmed in a 1980 interview that he repeated the words cranberry sauce at the end of the song “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
  • There’s a reason the cans are upside down. The rounded edge, which is typically at the bottom of canned goods, is at the top of cranberry sauce. According to an Ocean Spray representative: “The rounded end of the can is filled with an air bubble vacuum, which makes it easier to get the sauce out.”
  • The first acknowledgment of a cranberry sauce recipe can be found in the 1796 cookbook American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, which calls for serving roast turkey with “boiled onions and cranberry-sauce,” according to The Washington Post.

Sources:

National Day Calendar

Foodimentary

Mobile-Cuisine

Farmers Almanac

Delish

Insider

National Today