The cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus, various species) is the fruit of a small vining shrub that is native to a band of the northern hemisphere that stretches around the world. The cranberry grows in acidic soil that is flooded at harvest time which takes advantage of the fact that ripe cranberries float.
Cranberries were introduced to American settlers by indigenous tribes, who used them for everything from medicine to dye and as a food source. By the early 19th century, cranberries were being farmed and shipped to Europe. Most of the cranberies harvested in the United States come from only a few states, with Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, and New Jersey producing major commercial crops.
Today, most cranberries in the United States during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Cranberries are highly acidic, and are almost never eaten by themselves, but turned into chutneys, relishes, juices (which are either sweeteted or blended with another sweet juice like apple juice), baked into muffins, or dried and sweetened like raisins.