When most people hear the word cranberry, it immediately brings to mind a gelatinous, burgundy log, complete with ring markings consistent with the can from which it was dropped from and slopped onto a plate. You either love this Thanksgiving tradition or hate it. Whether you belong to the hate or love the cranberry camp, you probably don’t think much about this fruit until the day before the big feast. Luckily, there is probably a can left over from last year waiting in the pantry.
What exactly is a cranberry? Aside from being a cute, round, oddly hard berry, it is also known as a super fruit. Yes, like the blueberry and now wildly popular pomegranate, the cranberry is high in antioxidants. Traditionally the cranberry was used medically to treat UTIs and was thought to be effective due to its high acid content, but more recent research has discovered that it's not the acidity levels but the actual components of the cranberry that are medically beneficial. This is due mainly to the type of proanthocyanidins (PACs) found in the fruit. Cranberries are also used nutritionally for stomach issues/ulcers due to the fruit's antibacterial properties. They are even used in the animal medical field for the prevention of UTIs and immune support. And, of course, don’t forget that they taste great as juice in a cosmopolitan (or your little one's sippy cup).
Personally, I prefer to use whole cranberries as a component of an apple bake or ground up and added with massive amounts of sugar to make our family cranberry-salad recipe. I have no fear of pulling out a can of whole-berry cranberry sauce, adding some mayo, and whipping up a dipping sauce for some turkey-sage-phyllo roll-ups. As long as I'm using the berry in its whole form, I'm doing my part to try to incorporate whole foods in our diet. Some say the sugar and mayo nix the efforts but nobody's perfect!
So, the next time you pass by the bags of frozen cranberries in the freezer section at your local store, don't walk past and head straight for the frozen peas. Cranberries, like peas, deserve a chance.
This post submitted by Amy from The Mommies Network's Content Team