MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

CRANBERRIES


by Sara Pingel 0 Comments

The little RED berry…

The cranberry grows in the wild in northern Europe, northern Asia, and North America. The north American cranberry is a member of the family Ericaceae, which is composed of 1350 species including rhododendrons and blueberries. Cranberries are low growing, vining, perennial plants grown in large sandy bogs, pollinated primarily by domestic honeybees. 

The cultivated species grown in the northern US and southern Canada bears a larger berry than the European cranberry or southern cranberry, which are the wild species native to the eastern US.The cranberry has been referred to as the crane berry as the berry's shrub's pale pink blossom often resembles the head of the cranes that haunt the cranberry bogs.

Native Americans used cranberries as food, medicinally, and in ceremonies. They also used the bright berry as a source of red dye, to help bleeding via its astringent effects, and as a poultice for wounds. Combined with cornmeal, cranberry was used to counteract blood poisoning.

Fresh cranberries are low in carbohydrates with just 8.5 net carbs in a cup of whole raw berries. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, manganese and copper. Cranberries are also a rich source of anthocyanidins, antioxidants pigments that give blue, purple and red pigments to fruits and vegetables.

Along with an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals, cranberries also boast high levels of phytonutrients. Some of the most powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants in cranberries include:

  • Anthocyanins — This class of antioxidants found in cranberries has the ability to destroy free radicals in the body. In medical studies, it has shown benefits for promoting weight loss, lowering cholesterol and fighting breast cancer. 
  • Quercetin — Possibly the most powerful phytonutrient in this fruit, quercetin is proven effective in reducing allergies, improving joint pain and reducing inflammation of the arterial walls. 
  • Benzoic Acid — It has powerful antiseptic properties. It is the main compound in cranberries that reduces the risk of infection and can kill bad bacteria to naturally treat urinary tract infections, bladder infections and even acne.
  • Epicatechins — These are a class of phytonutrients also found in green tea and red wine. They have been shown to have therapeutic effects against heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Native Americans have used cranberry preparations to treat urinary tract infections and other illnesses for centuries. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which inhibit the fimbrial adhesion of bacteria, including Escherichia coli, to the urinary tract epithelium. If the bacteria cannot adhere, they will be washed away with the flow of urine. It is these unique compounds that are pivotal in the prevention of UTIs rather than the acidification of the urine, as previously thought. 

Another beneficial effect of cranberries is the prevention of kidney stones. Quinic acid, a component of cranberries, is not metabolized by the body and is thereby excreted unchanged in the urine. This increases the acidity of the urine, which then prevents calcium and phosphate ions from forming insoluble stones.

Cranberries provide five times the antioxidant content of broccoli due to their high concentration of anthocyanidins, these antioxidants have been shown to inhibit the development of atherosclerosis, cancer and other degenerative diseases. The deeper the red coloring, the higher the concentrations of the healthy pigments. The fresh berry, compared to the dried, has the highest amount of the antioxidants because processing, storage, and heating reduce antioxidant levels.

Choose cranberries that have a fresh, plump appearance and a deep red luster, and that are quite firm to the touch. discard any that are soft, discolored, pitted or shriveled. Unwashed, fresh cranberries can be stored in the fridge for several months. If frozen, they will keep for several years. 

To freeze fresh berries, spread them out on a cookies sheet in the freezer for a couple hours, then transfer the fully frozen berries to a freezer bag, seal and date. When the berries are thawed they will become quite soft and should be used immediately. 

I rather prefer to ferment them, you will get the value of raw with reduced tartness, the antioxidants will be preserved, reduce the carbohydrates and increase the digestive support they provide. Fermented cranberries can be used straight from the jar as a replacement for cranberry sauce, great for holiday meals.

This is a trio of fresh cranberry sauce we made at the Rutherford house.

  • Hard Cider
  • Almond Brittle
  • Coconut Cranberry

 Resources:

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RECIPES: 

Fermented Cranberries

Sara Pingel did an OUTSTANDING video in her truck making FERMENTED CRANBERRIES for the holidays.. 

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We made these last year for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day… AMAZING…!!  I also used the same recipe and coated them with BACON… Goodness GRACIOUS.. these are tasty little things to have around once a year.. LOL  

Another tip: the Cranberries are a PITA to chop… be in a good mood when you start.. LOL  Also, make these tastier and roast your nuts, let them cool and then chop. 

Cranberry Nut Cream Cheese Balls

  • 16 oz cream cheese (throw in a little goat cheese for extra goodness)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups nuts (walnut, pecan…) divided
  • 1 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh chive

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cinnamon and honey (or maple syrup) until fluffy. Add 1/2 cup pecan chips, and mix well combine. Set aside.

2. Line a plate or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Toss together remaining nuts, dried cranberries, and chopped chives.

3. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out one ball of cheese filling and toss into the nut mixture. Continue until all cheese balls have been rolled in the coating.

4. Refrigerate the cranberry nut cream cheese balls until ready to serve. 

Thanks you for the recipe: Eatwell101, It's a great addition to our holiday traditions.. <3 




Sara Pingel
Sara Pingel

Author




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