Cranberry recipe of the month

 

Fresh cranberries, along with spring and summer berries are some of the most nutrient dense seasonal foods on the planet. So like strawberries and blueberries they only hit our grocery stores one time of the year. You have to make the most of them. As with all berries, cranberries are rich in vitamins C and E, manganese and dietary fiber, but also have a long list of more than two dozen phytonutrients that make cranberries amazing. Eating cranberries raw are the way to get the maximum benefit of those antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial compounds.

 

Southern Cranberry Relish

Makes 8 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 navel orange with peel on

1 (12 oz) package of fresh cranberries

1/2 to 1 cup granulated sugar to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. Wash and dry the orange and trim off the outer edges of the root ends.  Leaving the skin on, cut into 8 slices.
  2. Add the orange, cranberries and sugar to a food processor and process until there are no large pieces of orange peel.
  3. Let the relish rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 4 hours before serving or overnight.  It gets better the longer it sits.
  4. Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks or frozen for 2 to 3 months.
  5. Use as an accompaniment for dressing, with turkey or pork or other meats, on sandwiches, in yogurt, on pancakes and waffles, etc.

 Adapted from allrecipes.com

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IN SEASON

 

Cranberries — November

 

Cranberries are a tart fruit that is native to the United States. Early indigenous people used these bright red berries for medicine and food. They taught the early settlers to make pemmican, a dried mix of cranberries and venison or bear meat. Cranberries have long been associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Crushed cranberries lightly sweetened with maple sugar was a way our ancestors may have prepared cranberries — not so different to some of our cranberry relishes. Cranberries grow wild in the northern U.S. Massachusetts and Wisconsin are the largest producers.  Research has shown that antioxidant phytonutrients in the brilliant red colors of cranberries help lower the risk for chronic disease.

 

Peak Time — October through December                                                                                         

 

Average Price — $1.89 per 12-ounce bag

 

Tips for Selection and Storage: Choose bright red berries that are firm and shiny. Firmness is a primary indicator of quality. The phytonutrient content of cranberries increases with the intensity of red color.  Cull out those with a dull appearance or any that show any signs of softness, rot or bruising.  Fresh cranberries may be stored for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.  Although better fresh, cranberries can be frozen in the bag and used as needed for 2 to 3 months. 

 

Nutritional Highlights: Cranberries are low in calories, 26 calories per 3 1/2 oz. serving.  Cranberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fiber and good sources of vitamin E and manganese.  They are especially rich in numerous phytochemicals that produce a variety of health benefits to reduce the risk of aging diseases, including protection from both bacterial and viral infections.  

 

Tips for Preparation: Cranberries can be used in a number of ways. Recipes that do not require cooking will retain the most nutrient value. The most popular use of fresh raw cranberries is as a relish or salad for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sweetened cranberries can be used as a dessert topping for ice cream, cake, custard or as a glaze for ham or chicken. Preserves, juice and breads are also popular uses for cranberries. Cranberries also combine well with other fruits such as apples and citrus fruits. One pound of fruit yields 4 cups and makes about 1 quart of jellied sauce.