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Get Crazy with Cranberries

Every Thanksgiving, both my sister, Kim, and I are conscious of being thankful for many things, one of which is no more canned cranberry sauce! What was that jelly-like sweet stuff anyway and where were the cranberries in that big red blob? We loved Mom’s Thanksgiving dinner, but that jelly stuff had to go! Ever since we’ve been on our own, fresh cranberries have graced our holiday tables in a lot more than just sauce. In fact, we both go crazy for cranberries in just about everything — from breakfast to bread to a snack before bed, and anything in between. Cranberries are one of the few fruits that are truly native to North America. Stories say that Native Americans used them for food as well as medicine and even as natural dye long before the first settlers arrived. Although no one knows for sure, some believe they were served at the first Thanksgiving dinner! Back then, the cranberries were truly wild — a smaller variety that has long since been replaced by the larger cultivated cranberries that we are familiar with. Interestingly, only about 10% of the current cranberry crop is sold fresh while the rest is processed and sold in the form of juice or canned sauce. Cranberries are harvested September through December, which is why they are in high demand for holiday menus. Aside from Thanksgiving dinner, cranberries are probably best known for benefiting the urinary tract. It was once thought that they worked by making the urine more acidic, but studies have shown that cranberry can keep the walls of the urinary tract healthy. By adding cranberries to your diet this holiday season, you’ll be getting a great bang for your buck. Just one cup of raw cranberries contains:
  • Only 51 calories!
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • 0 fat
  • Antioxidants – cranberries have plenty! Antioxidants may help support heart health by keeping cholesterol levels and blood vessels healthy.
You’ll find cranberries fresh, frozen and dried. Here are some delicious ways to add them to your menu this season: Remember, if juice is your “thing,” Whole Foods Market has the real deal! That means straight, 100% pure cranberry juice (no sugar, fruit juice concentrate, or high fructose corn syrup added). It’s tart, for sure, but very refreshing when mixed with a splash of sparkling water and a squeeze of fresh orange or lime juice. If “too tart” is not for you, we have naturally sweetened cranberry juice as well. Do you get crazy with cranberries, too? Got a favorite recipe? Let me know!

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SusieBeeOnMaui says …

WOW, great selection of cranberry recipes! I just made an amazing Cranberry Nantucket Pie (but it is really a cake). Super easy and very tasty; beautiful presentation. http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/11/recipe-for-nantucket-cranberry-pie-cake.html

Wendy Storey Sahagen says …

I love the recipe ideas for cranberries listed here! I didn't realize how beneficial these tasty berrries really are, but I'll be trying a lot more cranberry ideas this holiday season. I love fresh cranberrry sauce, and I always substitute OJ and apple juice in place of the water when I make mine, as well as adding a tablespoon or 2 of orange marmalade as well. The sweet/tart tangy flavor is out of this world! You'll get a little extra vitamin c in the bargain. Try it, you'll like it! Happy feasting!

Anjali Shah says …

I am all about using real cranberries in cranberry sauce!! I don't think the canned version really counts :) I actually love using dried cranberries in a whole wheat couscous pilaf - I make it with lentils, almonds, parsley, a splash of lemon juice and dried cranberries. It tastes great!

Jennifer is Always Sick says …

I made my very first homemade cranberry sauce a few years ago for Thanksgiving. Just heating it up and adding some raw organic sugar is spectacular. I bought some more fresh cranberries this year, and I plan to make extra to store up for other recipes so I don't have to buy the canned junk with all that corn syrup. Blech!

Kim says …

My favorite cranberry dessert is Fatboy's Outrageous Cookie Dough's Crazy Cranberry Nut flavor. It comes in a pink box in the FROZEN DESSERT section of the Whole Foods stores in NY, NJ, CT, PA, ME, RI, MA and Washington DC Break 'n Bake squares - so easy & delicious. They are OUTRAGEOUS!!

http://www.BarleyDistributor.com says …

I make a delicious juice recipe with my juicer using cranberries. I use equal parts granny smith apples and fresh cranberries; the apples help take the tartness out of just cranberry juice alone. It's so good!!