Cranberries are actually a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs. The flowers which are dark pink/ red are what we refer to as berries. They originated in central and northern Europe and were brought to the states and Canada by early settlers and pioneers.
Cranberries are now a major crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces. Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam and sweetened dry cranberries. Cranberry sauce is a traditional accompaniment to turkey at Thanksgiving dinners.
Raw cranberries are marketed as a “super fruit” due to their nutrient content and antioxidant qualities – they are really good for you!
Cranberries are low in calories, low fat and high in fiber and contain high acidic counts. They contain good sources of Vitamin C, E and K and are a good source of Manganese, Copper and Iron. Research has shown that regular consumption on cranberries in any form can help prevent urinary tract infection, help prevent breast cancer cell growth, lower bad cholesterol levels, help with kidney and bladder problems, helps prevent gingivitis and it will help improve your metabolism and digestive system so you can begin to lose weight quicker.
HOW TO PICK:
Best time to buy fresh is October through December. Choose fresh, plump cranberries, deep red in color and quite firm to the touch.
HOW TO STORE:
Keep in the cello bag in your refrigerator up to 20 days. Before storing discard any that are soft or wilted. Moisture on a berry is normal.
HOW TO COOK/ ENJOY:
Remember cranberries are tart. They are excellent cut up in salads and tossed with greens. Combine them with other fruits. They pair well with oranges, peaches and apples. They add excellent flavor to just about any cake, pie, muffin or cookie recipe. Sprinkle them on hot oatmeal or any cold cereal or add them to your favorite trail mix. Don’t forget the cranberry juice – more health benefits than orange juice.
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