The Holiday Cranberry



Just the mere mention of the phrase, "The Holidays" conjures up a host of images for each of us, and one may be the variety of foods and special dishes we tend to enjoy during this time period between Thanksgiving and New Year's.  One image that pops in my head when it comes to the holiday food line-up is cranberries.  Do you see them, too?  Those little red gems adding a spot of brightness on the buffet nestled in between all the other culinary delights?.  Do you see them adorn many holiday decorations and tablescapes as well?

Those holiday berries add that element of tang to a dish.  In fact, I can't think of a holiday meal without hearing my mother-in-law quip, "You have to have the ying and the yang," as she is dipping her spoon into the cranberry sauce, referring to the great complement that cranberry adds to the many rich dishes served this time of year.  Whether cranberry is the ying or cranberry is the yang, it does so much more than provide that palatery balance.





The Benefits of The Sour

Enjoy the cranberry for its distinct touch of sour to your dishes but enjoy it for what is can do for your health, too:

Cranberries are a UTI punching bag.  Clinical studies show these berries are a great preventative and can keep those urinary traction infections far away.

Your oral health will be improved. Studies show a decreased production of cavity and plaque producing bacteria with a cranberry-rich diet.

Cranberries keep the peeps in good shape.  The anthocyanins in cranberries may have a beneficial affect on our eye health.  Some research is even showing  improvement of symptoms from cataracts and macular degeneration with the berry.

Bacteria in peptic ulcers shy away when the cranberry is around.  The cranberry may prevent the bacteria Helicobacter pylori from attaching to stomach walls that can cause an ulcer.

The flavonoids in cranberries makes some cancer cells feel unwelcome.  Cranberry research shows the berry is a rich source of the flavonoid quercetin, which can inhibit the development of both breast and colon cancers.

If on blood thinning medication, check with your doctor before consuming high amounts of cranberries, as some studies have reported cranberry juice-related reactions.


Cranberry Chutney in a Snap

More studies indicate that to fully obtain the many health kudos from the various foods we eat, whole foods trump supplements or extracts.  This is primarily because the synergy among the many nutrients in a food item is responsible for the health benefits.  With that in mind, here is a dish with many healthy foods in their whole form.

And another reason this dish is one to consider is that it is such an easy dish to prepare! It is make-ahead and easy to transport for a potluck.  And the leftovers are great to add to so many dishes long after the Turkey is gone.  You can even freeze it, too, for later.

Use organic produce, if possible.

Gather
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup firm apple diced
  • 1 teaspoon Ceylon Cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  • pinch of cloves
  • pinch of cayenne
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 oranges: 1 peeled and chopped and the other half to juice
  • 1.5 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • juice of a lime
  • 1/4 chopped pecans
Now do this
  • Heat a skillet and add water and onion and saute 1-2 minutes or until the onion is just starting to soften.
  • Add apple and spices and saute 1 minute more.
  • Add rest of ingredients, including the orange half juiced. Do not add pecans at this time.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. You may need to add a few drops of water so that it does not stick.  Do not add much.
  • Cook and stir occasionally for 8 minutes or until cranberries begin to burst. Take off the heat.
  • Add pecans.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings. Depending on tartness of cranberries, more honey may be needed.
  • Refrigerate overnight for flavors to meld and mellow.  Taste and adjust seasonings the next day again.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/3009728175/">Muffet</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/86953562@N00/220487108/">withrow</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

2 comments:

  1. Mmmmmmm ... this chutney sounds so good! Perfect for Thanksgiving (tomorrow!). I love your comment about the synergistic effect of nutrients in whole foods. So many people don't realize that popping a supplement just doesn't confer the same benefits as enjoying the whole food. Great post! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  2. You, too, Shelley. Enjoy the bounty and remember, extra servings of cranberry tomorrow!

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