The cranberry is a North American fruit
that grows on a bush. The cranberry is small, round, red, and very bitter.
American Indians used the berries for food and medicine. When settlers first
came from England in the 1600s, they liked these berries, too. The settlers had
never seen the berries before. They decided to call them "crane
berries," because birds called cranes ate them.
The cranberry bush does not grow
everywhere in the United States. In fact, it grows in only five states:
Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. These states have
the special conditions that the cranberry bush needs.
Cranberries ripen when the weather
starts to become cold. We see cranberries in the stores in the fall. Many
people eat cranberries as part of the feast of Thanksgiving in November.
Sometimes cranberries are cooked and
made into a sauce or a jelly. Cranberries taste less bitter after they are
Cranberry growers separate the best
cranberries from all the rest. It's hard to recognize the best cranberries just
by looking. So cranberry growers use a special method, which was developed by
accident by a man named John Webb.
One day, as John Webb was taking a
container of berries down some steps, he spilled the berries. While he was
picking them up he noticed something interesting. The bad berries had stayed on
the top steps, and the best berries had bounced down all the way to the bottom.
Today, cranberry growers use a seven-step test to separate berries. The best
cranberries are the ones that bounce down seven steps!