C’est le temps de la canneberge !

It’s cranberry time!

Summer is (unfortunately) over, but we shouldn't despair: the cranberries are on their way. In Quebec, they are generally grown from September to December. They can also be found in grocery stores all year round, dried or frozen, but nothing beats good, freshly picked cranberries! A cranberry plant is perennial, and can stay alive for many years, even decades. Its tangy taste has been able to satisfy young and old alike for several generations!

Cranberries like cold weather, hence their many uses during the holiday season. But in which regions of the world does it grow? Cranberries are produced in regions further north: in certain Canadian provinces (and of course, Quebec), in American states further north and in Eastern Europe. Quebec, with its climate, is one of the most important suppliers in the world!


Cranberries can take several names depending on the region where you are. In Quebec, we of course call it cranberry. In France, it is rather called cranberry (English). It can also be called atoca or North American lingonberry. In the Algonquian language, it is called popokwa , while in the Iroquois language it is rather found under the name ataca . Proof that it has been growing in our territories for centuries and centuries!


Did you know ? A cranberry is more than 87% filled with water! It is also a source of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and vitamin C. It is also a good source of manganese¹, known to help cellular metabolism and our body's antioxidant defense².

¹ Data comes from the Canadian Nutrient File by Health Canada, per 100g of food.

² Source: Nutrition, by M. Bélanger / M. Leblanc / M. Dubost


In Quebec, picking berries in the summer season is all the rage. But we often forget that you can go pick much more than just strawberries and blueberries yourself! Just 1 hour 30 minutes from Montreal, it is possible to pick your cranberries and visit the crops. The VMO³ Gardens will certainly be able to welcome you (note the play on words here) this fall from the end of September to mid-October. Stay tuned by visiting their website to find out the details of the 2020 season. Be careful, cranberry crops may or may not be flooded. Obviously, it is preferable to pick your own crops in fields that are not flooded: it makes the task easier!

³ Website: jardinvmo.com/canneberge/


Have you ever heard of grandma's cure for cranberry juice and urinary tract infections? This type of urinary infection is caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) which attaches itself to the bladder. Cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail!) would have a preventive action on this type of infection, due to the proanthocyanidins it contains. These compounds would be able to bind to E. coli and prevent it from adhering to the bladder wall. We could therefore prevent certain urinary infections⁴! However, studies on this subject are still few and drinking cranberry juice is not a miracle cure for these infections. To treat a bacterial infection, it is imperative to use an antibiotic. One thing is certain: don't wait until you have finished your bottle of cranberry juice before going to see a doctor. Urinary infections can cause serious complications and should be treated as quickly as possible. Don't wait and go see someone if you think you have a urinary tract infection!

⁴ Source: LY Foo, Y. Lu, AB Howell & N. Vorsa – A-Type Proanthocyanidin Trimers from Cranberry that Inhibit A Uropathogenic P-Fimbriated Escherichia coli


A food does not deserve to be consumed more because of the vitamins and minerals it contains, the antioxidants it contains, or the supposed therapeutic properties it has. Food is consumed out of desire, pleasure or appetite. If you don't want a particular food, don't like it, or aren't hungry, why bother trying to eat it? Because it contains antioxidants? No !

Due to their plant origin and their beautiful dark red color, cranberries contain a large quantity of polyphenols, antioxidant molecules. But what is an antioxidant? The metabolic processes in our body generate free radicals. These molecules are highly unstable and can cause several effects: damage our cells or mutate our DNA (negative!) or participate in the immune system (positive!). Don't worry, we produce a ton of free radicals in a day and our body also has a ton of effective ways to reduce their effects. Among its means, we find antioxidants! These are flavonoids, lycopenes, polyphenols, curcumins, and more.

But should we prioritize foods containing antioxidants? There is this belief that if we consume more antioxidants, our health will improve. This is not entirely true. It's a biological process and our body takes care of itself! On the other hand, we can help it by eating a varied diet and eating plants. However, the link between antioxidant consumption and better health in humans is still weak. We know that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for your health. We also know that fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants. But is their beneficial effect on health only due to the presence of antioxidants? We do not know. There is no cause and effect link⁵.

In short, simply drinking your turmeric tea or eating your cranberry cookie because they contain antioxidants is not really necessary! We do it because we have the taste!

⁵ For more information on food myths concerning antioxidants and to demystify the good and bad information about food circulating on the Web, I recommend the book Don't swallow everything you're told, by nutritionist Bernard Lavallée (the Urban Nutritionist)


At the market, we offer 2 types of cranberry products from the Trois-Rivières region!

- Cranberry cocktail (1.89L)

Ingredients: water, cranberry juice, glucose-fructose, natural flavors and vitamin C. It is a juice to which sugar has been added in order to balance the acidity of the cranberries. Perfect for your festive drinks.

- Cranberry extract (950 mL)

Ingredients: cranberry juice only (no added sugar, only cranberries!) It is a slightly sweet juice, much more concentrated in cranberries than the juices found in grocery stores.


For your cocktails – A must-have for your fall evenings is, without a doubt, the amaretto + cranberry juice combo. Accompanied by a little orange zest, this simple cocktail with a jujube flavor will satisfy those with a sweet tooth!

Muffins – Personally, my favorite muffin recipes are those that include berries. My favorite recipe: lemon cranberry muffins! Simply take a basic muffin recipe ( 3 times a day style ⁶), then incorporate the cranberries according to the amounts of fruit indicated, and add lemon zest to taste. A winning recipe in all cases! The good thing about cranberries is that they can be kept in the freezer all year round without worrying.

⁶ Recipe: troistroisparjour.com/fr/recettes/dejeuners/pains-et-muffins/muffins-aux-fruits-a-personnaliser/

For desserts – Crisps, scones, cookies, cakes, breads, tarts and other pastries. The possibilities are limitless ! The tangy taste of cranberries goes wonderfully with sweet desserts. The flavors mix and balance, to the delight of young and old!

Savory recipes – Cranberries also work well in your savory recipes in all kinds of ways. Whether it's dried cranberries in a green salad, couscous or pasta. Or to flavor your meat and even fish dishes! It can also be used to add color and texture to the top of a vegetable soup. And above all, put it in the oven on top of a brie to obtain a delicious melty cranberry cheese!

Traditional cranberry sauce – To go well with turkey, what's better than cranberry sauce. Although there are more complex (and perhaps tastier) recipes, it is possible to make such a sauce with only 3 ingredients: cranberries (obviously!), orange juice and white sugar. Easy and quick!

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