Did you know that cranberries are native to the United States and were used to treat diseases such as scurvy and blood disorders by early English settlers ? Aside from the tart yet sweet flavor of cranberries that many of us associate with Thanksgiving and holiday meals, these little red fruits can actually work to improve your health!
Cranberries are rich in antioxidants like vitamins C and E, which our bodies use to combat damaging free radicals and also boost immune function. Vitamin C also acts to improve absorption of the mineral iron. Cranberries have high amounts of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PAC’s) that are the reason this fruit can be used to help prevent urinary tract infections. The PAC’s in cranberries help to inhibit the adherence of bacteria to the urinary tract. This benefit may also extend to dental health, as the same antioxidant has been shown to prevent bacteria from binding to teeth! Positive effects of cranberries include gastrointestinal function support, as they are a rich source of fiber. Benefits may extend to the prevention of tumor growth and heart disease, which are areas of continued research. Who would have thought that such a small berry found in bogs and making up just 25 calories in half a cup could pack such a large punch? It is no wonder cranberries are considered a super food.
Also, when choosing cranberry products, be weary of added sugars. Juices are often mixed and contain added sweeteners. A good strategy to start is to look for labels that list cranberries as the first ingredient.
Pro Tip: Although cranberries are harvested during fall, they can be refrigerated for 2 months or stored frozen to be enjoyed later. When selecting fresh berries at the grocery store, make sure to choose only those that are firm and unwrinkled!
** Adapted from Food Network
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup almonds chopped
- 4 cups cranberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup celery diced
- 2/3 cup apple
- 2/3 cup parsley chopped
First, to make cranberry relish, pulse cranberries and sugar in a food processor until chopped. Then toss with diced celery, apple, and chopped parsley.
Bring basmati rice, water, olive oil, curry powder and kosher salt to a simmer on the stovetop (low heat). Cover and cook rice until tender (approx. 17 minutes) then fluff with a fork.
Allow rice to cool then stir in cranberry relish and golden raisins and chopped almonds.