Our Very Own Contributing Fruit Chemist Talking about Cranberries. Imagine that!

Fresh Cranberries

Note from Jehv: It’s not every wedding you attend that you sit next to a fruit chemist. But it happened to me at the wedding of a friend who happens to be a fanatic fruit lover. No doubt this explains why I ended up sitting next to Lori Bystrom, PhD, a fruit chemist and medical researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College. Lori’s interest is phytochemistry, ethnopharmacognosy, hematology and oncology. Translation: she studies fruit chemistry to find health impacts on humans.

Lori visited us at Manhattan Fruitier a couple of weeks ago. She likes a break from academic writing so has promised a fruit post every month or so.

Since it’s cranberry season, her first post about the “superfruit,” the cranberry:

Cranberry: A Native “Superfruit” by Lori Bystrom (Nov. 2012)

It’s that time of year again when seas of red berries blanket many of the bogs across North America. The native North American berry, Vaccinium macrocarpon or the American cranberry, are in season now and a bog full of these buoyant berries indicates the fruits are ready for harvest.

Once harvested, cranberries are taken to processing plants where their fates are decided. These berries have a long history in North America and were used by the Native Americans as both medicine and food. Today they continue to be used this way and many different types of cranberry products are available in supermarkets across North America and beyond. Cranberries can be found in the organic and non-organic produce sections when in season, or found year-round as different juice concoctions in the beverage aisle. They can also be found in pill form near the pharmacy section. Most cranberry pills are advertised as promoting urinary health, although there is still some debate as to whether or not these fruits function as more than a prophylactic.

Cranberries are marketed as ‘superfruits’ due to their antioxidant content and potential health benefits. However, limited information is available about the biological mechanisms of these berries in regard to their health effects. Scientists continue to research the health benefits of cranberries, especially in relation to urinary tract infections, periodontal disease, ulcers and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease or cancer. Many of the current studies focus on the use of these fruits as a form of preventive medicine or as a complementary medicine used to improve the effectiveness of standard drugs. Updates on some this research can be found on the Cranberry Institute website and the Cranberry Research Health Center website at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Cranberries are particularly interesting to researchers because they contain a unique class of tannins known as A-type proanthocyanidins, or “A-PACS”, whereas most plants contain B-type proanthocyanidins. Many of the unique biological effects of these fruits, including their effects on the urinary tract, are attributed to A-PACs . However, these fruits contain an array of other compounds with biological activities, including anthocyanins and flavonols, as well as compounds known as triterpenoids. Interestingly, research suggests the unique phytochemical mixture of these fruits may contribute to synergistic health effects.

Although much still remains to be known about the biological effects of cranberries, these red little berries offer a wonderful tart taste to both sweet and savory foods, and a plethora of studies already suggest that these fruits are likely to offer health benefits when consumed in moderation.


Cap Cod Cranberry Growers Association

Cranberry Institute

Cranberry Research Health Center at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Open House (with lottery) to Celebrate 25th Year Anniversary

Lottery drawing at Open House

On September 20 we celebrated our 25th anniversary and our new location with a festive open house. Those who attended included our staff and their friends & family as well as our vendors and new neighbors. Even though we all were committed to a “no left overs” policy, we didn’t manage to finish the wine, beer or food. We may have our “open house license” revoked!

We had a lottery drawing every 30 minutes where we gave away Manhattan Fruitier delectables. Winners went home especially happy. One delighted winner let out a “yippee” when her number was called. She later explained that she’d never won anything before. Let’s hope her good luck continues.

Finally, thanks to everyone who has had a positive connection with Manhattan Fruitier for helping us over this past quarter century.

A Secret to Living a Healthier & Longer Life (hint: it begins with an “A”)

“Woman Eating an Apple” by Fernando Botero

Health Benefits of Eating Apples

A 2010 Iowa Women’s Health Study tracking 34,000 plus women for almost 20 years reported that apples were associated with a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Also, Finnish researchers reviewing almost 30 years of data from nearly 10,000 study participants concluded that apple eaters had a lower risk of stroke than non-apple eaters.

Apples are known to prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing while inhibiting inflammation. Apple’s soluble fiber also reduces cholesterol levels.

French researchers found that a flavonoid called phloridzin — only available in apples — may help fight osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Apples are also extremely high in polyphenols (a very powerful antioxidant).

Cornell University studies from 2009 detailed apples role in helping to keep breast cancer at bay. In human terms, eating one apple a day may reduce mammary cancer by 50 percent. Eating the equivalent of six apples a day reduced breast cancer by 75 percent.

Apples are also associated with significantly lower risks of other cancers including lung and colon cancer.

Conclusion: Eat lots of apples!

Rare Fruit Still Life by 19th-Century African American Artist Robert Seldon Duncanson

Still Life with Fruit and Nuts, Robert Seldon Duncanson

We came across this beautiful Still Life with Fruit and Nuts (1848) by Robert Seldon Duncanson during our regular search for beautiful fruit images.

Robert Seldon Ducanson (1821-1872) was a self-taught African-American artist from Cincinatti. This fruit still life was added to the collection of the National Gallery of Art earlier this year. The painting is a diminutive 12 by 16 inches. The classical composition is a study of textures, juxtaposing velvety smooth fruits with rough nuts and wrinkled currants. The contrasts among these objects are brilliantly executed.

“The National Gallery of Art has long been seeking works by Duncanson, and we were very pleased to learn of this painting, which is a particularly fine example of his work in this genre,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. “We continue to look for an outstanding example of the landscape paintings for which Duncanson was widely recognized during his lifetime.”

Duncanson, National Gallery of Art

Encore Performance of Apple Giveaway in Central Park

Even the horses got apples

For a second week in a row we gave out free organic apples to people waiting in line for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park performance of “Into the Woods”. As happened last week, the Park Ranger horses sniffed their way to the apples. The rangers said the horses veered in the direction of the apples from quite a distance. Since the horses have mouth bits, we gave the rangers apple treats to be shared with their mounts later at the stables. Total apples given away: 548 to people in line and 2 to horses.