{ HEALTH }

CRANBERRY CRAZE

Thanksgiving’s sauciest staple
is packed with powerful nutrients

BY CLAUDIA CARBONE
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Power of the Mighty Cranberry

Heart and Vascular Protection – Cranberries are loaded with flavonoids, which prevent arteriosclerosis—a primary cause of heart disease—by reducing LDL cholesterol levels and preventing specific enzymes from narrowing arteries.

Anti-Aging and Cancer Prevention – Cranberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents per calorie of all fruits. Antioxidants protect cells
from free radicals which cause cancer and heart disease as well as aging
of the skin.

Bladder Protection – Research shows that the tannins in cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) by inhibiting bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall.

Oral Hygiene – The same bacteria-blocking mechanism appears to keep certain bacteria from accumulating on the teeth, reducing formation of harmful plaque that can lead to gum disease. Rinsing with mouthwash that includes cranberry extract can reduce this risk.

Healthy Stomach – Studies suggest that cranberries keep some strains
of ulcer-causing bacteria from sticking to the stomach cells,
   a condition that is linked to stomach cancer and acid
reflux disease.

It’s that time of year when we see red—the dark red of cranberries. No turkey dinner is complete without cranberry sauce, in either jellied or whole-berry form.

We can thank Native Americans for this tradition, which started, some say, at the first Thanksgiving dinner with the pilgrims. Plucked from perennial vines, these tart and tangy treasures were a staple of the Native American diet as well as an ingredient in their medicinal mixes.

Along with concord grapes and blueberries, cranberries are one of America’s few native fruits. They were first cultivated by a Revolutionary War veteran who transplanted vines to his Cape Cod property in 1816. Originally called “craneberry” because the flower resembled the neck of a crane, cranberries grow primarily on North American soil, and 65 percent of U.S. cranberry production is in Wisconsin, followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Michigan.

In Wisconsin, fields are called marshes; on the coasts, they are bogs. Vines grow six to eight inches tall in low-lying beds of sandy soil. When berries are ripe, beds are flooded with water, causing the partially hollow berries to float to the surface, where they are skimmed off by machines. Cranberries are harvested from late September through October. Only five percent are sold fresh; the rest are used in more than 1,000 products around the world like sauces, juice, preserves and baked goods.

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Wild Berry Cobbler
(from oasisdate.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½  c. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3 c. pineapple chunks, halved
  • 1 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 c. baking mix
  • ½ c. milk
  • sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine fruits with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Place in a three-quart casserole dish. Combine baking mix and milk in a small bowl. Drop spoonfuls of dough on top of the fruit. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45 minutes or until dough is golden brown.