Cranberry: A Super Berry!
Having cranberries as part of your diet has been shown to promote heart health, reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (as well as other infections), decrease inflammation, and support digestive health.
Just like many other foods, the fresher and less-processed, the more powerful. Luckily, unlike summer berries, these fall berries last a few months in the refrigerator. Although canned cranberry sauce, served with distinct rings, might be a classic at your holiday tables, consider these fresh ideas.
Classic Fresh Sauce
Combine 4 cups fresh cranberries, 1½ cups sugar, 1½ cups water, zest of 1 lemon and a quarter-cup lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until berries pop and sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
In a food processor combine 2 cups fresh cranberries and a quarter-cup sugar. Combine this with ⅓ cup chopped cucumber, ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, ¼ cup chopped white onion, 1 minced jalapeno, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and salt as needed.
Combine 1½ cups cranberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and microwave for about 5 minutes. Once cool add to 3 cups of prepared pancake batter.
Add 2 cups water, ½ cup cranberries, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon to a saucepan. Heat over medium-heat until the berries pop (about 5 minutes). Add a cup old fashioned oats and continue cooking about 5 minutes. Top with additional dried cranberries as desired.
Puree together 1 sliced carrot, ½ a peeled cored apple, ¼ cup cranberries, ½ a peeled seeded orange, water and ice as needed/desired.
Cook 2 cups cranberries with ¼ cup water and ¼ cup honey over medium heat until the berries pop, about 5 minutes. Puree with 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard. (This is the perfect condiment for a leftover turkey sandwich)
Boil 1 cup water, ⅔ cup sugar, ½ cup white vinegar, 2 Tablespoons salt, ¼ teaspoon crushed coriander seeds, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Once boiling pour over 1 ½ cups cranberries. Cool, then chill at least 4 hours. These make a great addition to salads.
Cranberry Turkey Salad
Microwave ½ cup cranberries with 1 tablespoon water until the berries pop, about 5 minutes. Once cool mix with ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss with 3 cups chopped cooked turkey, ½ cup dried cranberries, ½ cup walnuts, ½ cup chopped celery, 3 tablespoons red onion and 3 tablespoons fresh parsley.
Lauren Cornay, RD, LN, is a registered dietitian at Avera Heart Hospital. Get more insight on nutrition and health.