It’s that time of year again—the time of year that you start seeing bags of fresh cranberries popping up in the grocery store produce aisles. Most of us probably walk by these bags filled with bright red goodness without even pausing until we are doing the shopping for our Thanksgiving meal at the end of November. But, cranberries are in season right now! No need wait for the traditional holiday meal to enjoy the benefits of this tangy fruit.
In the United States, the major cranberry crops grow in Oregon, New Jersey, Washington, and Wisconsin. Cranberries are harvested in the fall from September to November when the berries develop their deep red color.
Cranberries are packed with vitamin C—helping your body to fight off sickness, fiber—boosting digestive health and curbing overeating, carbohydrates—supporting healthy muscles, brain, and kidney function, and phytochemicals—antioxidants supporting your immune system.
One of the most well known benefits of cranberries is the improvement of urinary tract health. This little fruit is famous for knocking out the bacteria that causes these infections. Cranberries and their anti-inflammatory benefits also help to promote cardiovascular health, prevent periodontal disease, and decrease blood pressure. This amazing little berry also boasts anti-cancer benefits—lowering our risk of developing cancer when added to our diet.
It is always best to try and choose fresh cranberries to obtain the greatest nutritional benefit. Frozen cranberries and dried cranberries are also a healthy option and retain much of the nutritional value. Cranberry sauces, jellies, or cranberry juice cocktail fall short of providing the best cranberries have to offer because they are loaded with sugar.
Cranberries don’t have to be saved for the Thanksgiving feast. They can be added raw to a fresh salad, livening up greens with tang and color. Cranberries can be mixed into a fruit salad made up of your favorite sweeter fruits to help balance out the tartness the cranberry brings. Dried cranberries can be added to breads and muffins, or sprinkled into a your favorite breakfast cereal.
Surprise your family with a cranberry dish this fall. Beat Thanksgiving to the punch and serve something tart and tangy up this week. They won’t know what hit them.
Quinoa Almond Cranberry Recipe:
Link to recipe: http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/vegetarian-recipes/quinoa-almonds-cranberries.php
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Soak the quinoa 15 minutes in cold water. Stir the quinoa with your hand, pour off most of the water and drain through a fine mesh strainer. Shake dry in the strainer, then set the strainer over a bowl or pitcher. Heat a wide bottomed pan on medium heat and add the oil. Stir and toast the sliced almonds until golden, then remove from pan. Add the quinoa. Stir and toast until dry and turning color. Add boiling water, veggie cube, salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick, and dried cranberries. Bring back to boil, cover, turn the heat to simmer, cook for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on. Fluff gently with a fork and serve.
Yield: 4 - 6 Servings
Nutrition Data, 62g Serving: 253 cal, 34g carb, 10g fat, 300mg sodium, 5g fiber, 9g protein, low Cholesterol. Estimated glycemic load 18