In Season: Cranberries

cranberries are healthy snacks
Homemade Red Cranberry Sauce for the Holidays

Historically, Native Americans used cranberries as a treatment for bladder and kidney diseases, while Early settlers from England used them to treat poor appetite, stomach complaints, blood disorders, and scurvy. The high level of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries helps prevent certain bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. In this way, the PACs in cranberries help prevent infection.

Some of the most common benefits of cranberries include:

Cranberry sauce is an important part of a many holiday meals, but there are many other ways to enjoy this fruit all year round. Here are some tips to incorporate cranberries into the diet:

  • Make a homemade trail mix with unsalted nuts, seeds, and dried berries.
  • Include a small handful of frozen berries in a fruit smoothie.
  • Add dried berries to oatmeal or whole-grain cereal.
  • Toss dried or fresh berries into a muffin or cookie recipe.
  • Add dried berries to a salad.
  • Include fresh cranberries in an apple dessert, such as pie or cobbler, for extra flavor.

A person can refrigerate fresh ones for up to 2 months or freeze them and eat them later. They should be firm to the touch and unwrinkled.

However, some cranberry products may contain added sugars. This is because cranberries are quite tart and may be difficult to consume without some added sweetener. It is important to check the ingredients label and be sure to choose the product with the least added sugar.

Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries rinsed and picked through
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 piece of orange peel just use a potato peel or paring knife

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar, orange juice, and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine.
  2. Add cranberries, salt, cinnamon stick and orange peel.
  3. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  4. Continue cooking, for about 10 minutes, or until all or most of the cranberries have popped. I like to leave a handful of berries whole.
  5. Let cool for at least 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

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