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Cranberry: Tiny berry packs a powerful punch

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Cranberries, it could be said, long ago played a crucial part in assuring that the United States was eventually formed, which is a glorious thing or just an OK thing, depending on how much credit-card debt you have.

As one of the few fruits native to North America (blueberries and Concord grapes are two of the others), cranberries helped the Pilgrims stay alive in a harsh new land. American Indians taught them to use the gorgeous, tart, deep red berry not just as a nutritious food (they mashed them in cornmeal, mixed them in bread, ate them fresh and added them to pemmican, a survival food made of dried meat, melted fat and berries) but also as a medicine (for scurvy, stomach ailments and nervousness).

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