This little fruit has many health benefits, and when eaten regularly cranberries can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to the Cranberry Marketing Committee, cranberries are naturally fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium and a great source of dietary fiber. Plus they contain many antioxidants that promote general well-being.
Healthy Heart - By eating cranberries, you're taking an important step in having a healthy heart. Because cranberries are fat free and cholesterol free, studies have shown that as part of a heart healthy diet, cranberries can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Also, due to low sodium, cranberries may help maintain healthy blood pressure levels - helping to reduce the risk of stroke.
Healthy Urinary Tract - You Mom probably told you to drink a glass of cranberry juice a day to ward off nasty urinary infections. Because cranberries contain a helpful compound that has strong antibacterial properties, it helps prevent bacteria from forming in the bladder.
Cooking and Eating Cranberries:
- As one of the few fruits native to North America, cranberries can be found year round at your local grocery store. Fresh cranberries, however, can be found in September through December.
- When buying fresh cranberries, be sure to look for firm, plump berries with a lustrous color. Fresh cranberries will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Be sure to wash the berries only when ready to use.
- You can freeze your cranberries up to a year in a heavy-duty freezer bag or container. When ready to use in recipes, do not thaw first.
- When preparing cranberries, sort out the cruised and soft ones and discard them. Rinse the remaining berries in cool water.
- Cook the cranberries by boiling them gently in water until the berries "pop" (when the outer skin expands until it bursts).
Sensational Cranberry Recipes
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- Scrub and pierce sweet potatoes. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender.
- In a small saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Add the cranberries, syrup, water, cranberry juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until berries pop, stirring occasionally. Stir in walnuts and mustard; heat through.
- Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; sprinkle with pepper and remaining salt. Top each with 2 tablespoons cranberry mixture; sprinkle with chives. Yield: 8 servings.
By Sarah James at tasteofhome.com