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Food of the Month: Cranberries

Fall is in full swing and you might be busy planning holiday celebrations incorporating cranberries in your favorite cranberry sauce, cranberry drinks or even dried in your favorite cereals, stuffing and casseroles. Lucky for us, these deliciously tart berries also have a great reputation for their health benefits. Learn more about the health benefits of cranberries.

Historians assume cranberries became associated with holiday feasts from the Native Americans, who used the fruit for various foods, medicines and dyes for clothing. Today these red berries, a good source of vitamin C, fiber and Vitamin E, are commonly known to be used in producing beverages as well as dietary supplements in the form of extracts, capsules and tablets.

You might have heard cranberries referred to as a super food due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. Cranberries have also been found to slow tumor progression and fight against prostate, liver, breast, ovarian and colon cancers.

How to choose the best cranberries

Fresh cranberries can be available from October until December. Choose the berries that are bright red, plump and free from any wrinkles. Cranberries should be firm to touch without any cracks.

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Nutrition Information

1 cup, whole (100 g)

  • Calories: 46
  • Total fat: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • sodium: 2 mg
  • Potassium: 85 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 12 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.6 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Protein: 0.4 g
  • Vitamin A: 1%
  • Vitamin C: 22%
  • Calcium: 0%
  • Iron: 1%
  • Vitamin D: 0%
  • Vitamin B-6: 5%
  • Vitamin B-12: 0%
  • Magnesium: 1%

Fresh Cranberry Salsa
Source: http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,10000001932480,00.html

  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries, picked over and stems removed
  • 2 finely diced large celery stalks
  • 1 finely diced small white onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced*
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Directions

  1.  Process the cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer the cranberries to a medium bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. Stir the mixture well to combine.
  2. Transfer the cranberry mixture to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

* For spicier salsa, include the seeds and ribs from the jalapeño. Or use a Serrano Chile, which has more heat.

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Walnut Cranberry Granola
Source: http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/give-the-gift-of-health-walnut-cranberry-granola/

  • 8 cups rolled oats (old fashioned)
  • 1 cup maple syrup, preferably Grade A dark Amber
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Mix oats, syrup, walnuts, canola oil and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Spread mixture out over the prepared baking sheet.  Transfer to the oven and bake 45 minutes.  Stir gently and return to the oven for 10 more minutes of baking.  Turn oven off and let sit in hot oven until crisp and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool on the baking sheet. Stir in cranberries. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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