Cranberries are a deliciously tart fruit, packed with health benefits. Because I live in Wisconsin, where over 50% of the United States cranberries are harvested, they are near and dear to me. I’m simply crazy for cranberries, so I’m going to share some food facts about cranberries and then I’ll give you some delicious recipes using cranberries.
It’s Thanksgiving week and many of you are probably excited for the turkey, ham, and/or other protein of your choice.
Not this girl. Nope. I’ve got much bigger plans than plating up a featherless bird. Don’t misunderstand, I’m definitely a carnivore… a meatatarian….a lover of all things meat. Of course I get excited for the beauty of a golden roasted, moist, tender turkey, but after learning the simple secret to making fresh cranberry sauce a couple of years ago, my life has been forever changed. These days, I’m all about the Thanksgiving side dishes, particularly the carbs, like creamy mashed potatoes and my personal favorite, cranberry sausage stuffing!
Before I share my best cranberry recipes with you, I thought I’d share some interesting food facts about cranberries.
I am absolutely smitten with these little red beauties. I love hearing them pop open while they are cooking. I love watching their gorgeous red juice reduce and thicken into a beautiful pot of love. Their tartness works in perfect contrast with the sugar I use when I make cranberry streusel muffins, it adds depth of flavor to loaves of cranberry nut bread, and it adds a perfectly healthy touch when I add them to the top of a bowl of oatmeal.
FOOD FACTS – Cranberries
- Cranberries are one of only three major fruits native to North America (Concord grapes and blueberries are the others)
- One half of the cranberries consumed in the United States are harvested in Wisconsin, followed closely by Massachusetts.
- Cranberry juice is the official state beverage of Massachusetts.
- Honey bees are often used to pollinate cranberry crops, and are in fact more valuable in the performance of this task than they are in the production of honey.
- If you string all the cranberries produced in North America, they will stretch from Boston to Los Angeles more than 565 times.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
- According to a great article I found on RawDiet.com, one cup of cranberries contains 46 calories, has 85 mg of potassium, 8 mg calcium, and 4.6 grams of dietary fiber. As a result, many people include Cranberries in colorful salads, cold soups, and green smoothies for flavor and health.
- Cranberries also contain manganese, choline, phosphorus, niacin, beta-carotene and phytochemicals. The properties of cranberries help break up and prevent kidney stones. They also help prevent bacteria from sticking to the cell walls in the urinary tract and stomach.
- The anthocyanin content of cranberries (red color) can provide us with health benefits involving their unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Actually, the nutrients found in the whole berry is responsible for the majority of any health benefits. This rather than supplements do a better job of protecting our major systems—such as cardiovascular and the liver.
- In the last few years, scientists have identified an increasing number of cranberry properties that help explain the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory capabilities of the fruit. It can help prevent lung, prostate, and breast cancer.
Maybe now you have a better understanding of why my heart lies in the cranberry bogs. Give these cranberry recipes a try and see if perhaps you too, will become a cranberry convert.
Crazy for Cranberries – Recipes with Cranberries
It would be rude to mention cranberries and not share some of my favorite cranberry recipes. Especially the ones that are perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner.
How about a fruity, sugar-free cranberry-blood orange spritzer? This non-alcoholic, sugar free spritzer has a beautiful color, thanks to the blood orange and cranberry-infused base.
If you want to serve up some cranberry sauce for dessert, you really can! These cranberry caramel puff pastry squares are so easy to make!
This burgers recipes pays homage to my home state, using lots of delicious Wisconsin ingredients.
Cranberry Banana Bread – Add a touch of tartness to the sweet bananas and you have a delicious quick bread recipe!
What’s YOUR favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
If you’re looking for more of my yummi holiday recipes, CLICK HERE</strong