Marsh cranberries: plant features, when to harvest
Scientists have proved that cranberries are the most healthy berry. In folk medicine, there are a large number of medicinal substances that will help cure diseases of the genitourinary, cardiovascular systems. The use of drinks based on it will strengthen the immune system and increase the body's defenses. This will allow you to properly confront viruses and other pathogenic microorganisms. The harvesting of berries is carried out in various ways, allowing them to feast on all year round.
Evergreen small shrub belongs to the Vereskov family. Flora affects a variety of varieties that are constantly increasing. The plant feels great both in warm climates and near the Arctic Circle. The length of thin shoots can be up to 30 cm. The leaves are egg-shaped, dense and shiny. The flowering period lasts 1 month, starting in the summer. Flowers are collected in 2-3 pieces on one peduncle. Fruits are red or bright pink with juicy flesh and bluish bloom.
Important! It is possible to harvest even not fully ripened berries, as they can ripen to the necessary condition over time. But do not pluck green - in this case, nothing will work.
Ripening occurs in the fall. Fruits can easily be stored until spring. Most often they are used fresh, but fruit drinks, jams, jelly, cocktails, kvass are often prepared, added to salads and sauces. All this is due to the multicomponent composition of this fruit.
Why does cranberry grow in a swamp?
For a long time, gardeners tried to tame cranberries for growing on the site, as they did with lingonberries and blueberries. But all attempts were unsuccessful. It turned out that this plant is very dependent on the ecosystem in which it grows. Cultural varieties of plants appeared relatively recently, only in the 19th century. Breeders took into account all the features and bred several varieties of garden culture. Scientists note that plant growth is somewhat limited by the 62nd parallel.
If you look closely, you can see that this border clearly coincides with the spread of swamps. The favorite soil for growing are peat, tundra and sphagnum bogs. The formation of this area has a time span of approximately 12 thousand to 400 million years. During this period, a large number of useful substances accumulated in it, which the bush absorbs. The bush coexists perfectly with microorganisms and fungi in the soil, thus extracting for itself the necessary mineral substances.
Did you know? Translated from Latin, the name of this berry means "sour berry." Where the word “cranberry” came from in Russian is still unknown.
Cranberries prefer acidic soil, perfectly transferring its value to 2.5 pH. In addition, there is constant access to pure water and light, which is very important for the development and fruiting of the plant. The bushes are intertwined with shoots among themselves and form real “carpets”. Culture grows poorly near large cities due to the accumulation of a large amount of harmful substances and gases.
Useful properties of berries
Living far from big cities allows you to maintain the naturalness of this plant. Toxins simply cannot penetrate. It is believed that this is a real storehouse of minerals and vitamins.
In its composition you can find:
- organic acids;
- phenolic acids;
In 100 g of fresh product - only 26 kcal. But calorie content increases significantly if this berry is dried. In this case, 100 g will already be 308 kcal.A wide range of components are largely based on the habitat of the bush. Fruits have a truly miraculous effect on humans.
- Among the positive effects are:
- Prevention of premature aging
- cleansing the body of the negative effects of free radicals;
- prevention of cancer cells;
- elimination of impaired functioning of the cardiovascular system;
- lower cholesterol;
- cleansing blood vessels of cholesterol plaques;
- prevents the formation of blood clots.
This is not a complete list of the effects that this medicinal berry carries.
Important! The presence of a component such as quercetin has a prophylactic effect against cancer on the large intestine and mammary gland.
How does cranberry grow in a swamp?
Encyclopedias indicate that this berry is 90% water. There is nothing surprising, because it grows in marshy areas, which means that access to water supplies is constant. Since these are low bushes, they cover the ground with themselves, moving from one bump to another. When collecting these fruits, you need to be especially careful, since swamp and bog can hide under the carpet from the shoots of the plant.
Therefore, it is better to probe the road in front of you with a long stick. It can also be found in coniferous forests and humid lowlands. A characteristic feature of the growth of cranberries is that it is a kind of indicator of the original appearance of the territory. Fertile soils are preserved mainly only where a person has not yet launched his economic activity.
Video: where and how does cranberry grow
The growth of this bush indicates the purity of nature around. Swamp soils serve as the most fertile soil for it. In Russia, it is difficult to find it only in the southern regions with dry soil, as well as a small number of winter months. More often it grows in Karelia, Siberia, Kamchatka and Sakhalin. Basically, those areas that belong to the Northern Hemisphere.
Did you know? Cranberry bushes can live up to 100 years, while the foliage does not fall for the winter.
The distribution area is entirely dependent on the presence of swamps and a clean environment around. Due to the fact that the number of untouched territories and a constant increase in pollution is growing, this reduces the area of its growth. There are places where culture has already disappeared and is no longer growing.
When does it bloom?
Special attention should be paid to the flowers of this plant. They are characterized as drooping, small and of regular shape. Placed on thin long pedicels. The corolla may be purple or pale scarlet, which falls off after flowering. In the middle there are 8 stamens, which are much shorter than the corolla itself.They are free and independent of each other. These flowers are very beautiful and unique in appearance. The plant begins to bloom in late May or early June. You can admire this process for 30 days.
When and how can I collect?
Maturation occurs relative to the region of growth. There is information that the crop can be harvested three times a year. The first ripening occurs in September, and the second - in November and lasts until the frost. Many say that the greatest amount of nutrients is collected in fruits that survived the first frosts. They even become sweeter in taste.
Did you know? You can check the ripeness of the berries when throwing the berries on the table. If she is fully matured, she will jump.
The third collection is carried out in early spring where it was not reached in the autumn. The collection is carried out very carefully, since the berry is poorly transported and easily wrinkled. Since this shrub spreads along the ground, the berries also hide under the leaves, closer to the bumps. The ordinary method of collection is done manually. But you can resort to the use of special devices.
Video: cranberry picking
How to store?
There are characteristics of each crop that should be considered when choosing a storage method:
- Summer. The berry is not fully ripe. The sides may have a pinkish tint. In them, the concentration of nutrients is not so great, and a bitter taste may also be present. They can ripen to the desired condition on the windowsill.
- Fall. Color is brown and the highest level of maturity. A large amount of pectin in the composition allows you to freely store the whole winter. It is very much appreciated by winemakers, as microorganisms ripen on the skin, which contribute to fermentation processes.
- Spring. During the winter period, a large amount of sugar accumulates in the berry, and therefore it is not so acidic anymore. But the amount of vitamin C in it will be equal to zero. It will already be difficult to store and even more transport it.
Particular attention should be paid to storage.
Important! Although this is a completely natural raw material, it has some contraindications for use. These include: gastritis and ulcers, liver and kidney diseases, individual intolerance.
First you need to perform certain manipulations that will extend the preservation of the fruit:
- sort out the berries and eliminate damaged, as well as overripe;
- rinse in clean water;
- glass or enamel containers are suitable for storage;
- rinse containers with soda with clean water beforehand (do not use detergent, as it may get into the berries);
- fill the tank not completely;
- pour the fruit with cold boiled water, it should cover the berries 2-3 cm;
- cover with parchment and bandage with a tourniquet;
- Store in a cool room (it is recommended to change the water 1 time in 2 months).
Instead of water, some housewives pour berries with sugar syrup, and use wooden mugs as containers. The storage process in them is somewhat reminiscent of pickling cucumbers. You can prepare fruit drinks and store it for a long time even without boiling. Various acids in the composition will play the role of preservatives that inhibit the development of microorganisms.
It is important that storage is carried out in a place protected from sunlight.. The value of this berry is especially great, but not everyone can collect it. Thanks to the latest achievements of breeders, it can be grown on your personal plot. With a little effort and creating the necessary conditions, after 3-4 years you will receive your own harvest of healthy berries.