Red and delicious. Cranberries have become one of the absolute favorite berries over the last few decades and are enjoyed by adults and children alike. The large-fruited cranberry can easily be grown in the local climes and for this reason gardeners look forward to a rich harvest every year. This is where the question arises: can fresh cranberries be eaten raw?
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Eating fresh cranberries raw?
Yes, you can eat fresh cranberries straight from the vine without any problems, even during the harvest. The heather plants (bot. Ericaceae) do not produce toxins that have a negative impact on your health. Cranberries are a superfood that you can eat fresh without hesitation if you don’t find the intensely sour and bitter taste unpleasant. The reason for this is the high amount of vitamin C and tannins that make fresh cranberries so intense in taste. The following overview gives you an insight into the ingredients of the healthy and non-toxic berries:
- Vitamins C, A and K
All of these substances are available in large quantities in the fresh berries and are quickly absorbed by the body. Even if you dry the raw cranberries, you can still enjoy them because they don’t get lost during the drying process.
Oxalic acid in cranberries
The only “dangerous” compound in cranberries is oxalic acid, making the berries not recommended for people with kidney stones or a general calcium deficiency. Oxalic acid promotes the formation of kidney stones and also ensures that the calcium content in the body is destabilized. However, you can fix this problem by two methods:
- Eat small amounts of fresh cranberries
- eat foods rich in calcium
The fewer fresh cranberries you eat, the less chance there is of over-indulging in oxalic acid. However, you can safely eat the berries together with dairy products such as milk, yogurt or ice cream. This ensures that there is enough calcium in your body. Since oxalic acid binds to calcium, the oxalic acid is simply excreted again with sufficient Ca in the body and is not deposited in the kidneys. It also keeps your calcium levels up, which is your best defense against oxalic acid.
Possible problems with raw consumption
In itself, there is nothing wrong with eating fresh, raw cranberries straight from the bush. If you don’t find the intense taste unpleasant, the small fruits of Vaccinium macrocarpon are an enrichment for your diet and snacking is really fun, especially during harvest. However, due to the ingredients it contains, problems with the berry can also arise if the person concerned already has health problems or simply does not tolerate certain substances well. First of all, the intolerance to bitter substances should be mentioned, which can be recognized by the following symptoms:
- stomach pain
- uncomfortable feeling of fullness
The intolerance to bitter substances is often a reaction to eating too much berries. That said, you should only eat small amounts of cranberries fresh, especially if this is your first time picking them straight from the bush. If the symptoms appear every time after consumption, you should refrain from consumption completely. It is also possible that the person affected is allergic to cranberries. Although this is very rare, it can lead to numerous problems in the gastrointestinal tract and the mucous membranes. An anaphylactic shock is only possible if the allergy is severe. In addition to the intolerance and allergy, there is also the problem with warfarin:
- Warfarin is an anticoagulant
- Cranberries affect bleeding times
- Result: cranberries work against warfarin
If you must take warfarin, it is important that you check with your doctor to determine if this is possible. By agreeing ahead of time, you do not run the risk of rendering the drug ineffective. Consultation with the doctor serves solely to prevent a possible risk. Another point that needs to be mentioned here is the issue of cranberries and pregnancy. The berries, which are very similar to cranberries, should be avoided by Schwanen when they are fresh or processed. There isn’t enough research on how cranberry affects pregnancy. For this reason, you should rather play it safe.
Due to their numerous ingredients, cranberries are perfect as a booster for your own nutrition. The fresh berries may have a sour and bitter taste, but they do not produce any toxic substances and are easy to process. They only pose a possible danger to people with certain conditions.