Cranberries, and their incredibly crisp, crimson color, have long been an attractive way to dress up our holiday table but, contrary to what we might think, their eye-appeal is not what likely attracted them to the holiday table.
It’s Not What You Think…
In fact, it wasn’t a table-scaper that set them there, but rather the Native American Indians, who had been using wild cranberries for everything from cooking to dyes to medicine—long before any pilgrims came along!
Growing wildly and abundantly from the Pacific northwest to the Atlantic – as well as up into Canada – cranberries were not only prolific but also prized by the native Americans for many reasons and, thanks to hundreds of studies, modern research has confirmed that yes, cranberries are indeed incredible and possess many reasons to prize them – not just as a holiday fruit!
Offering us a simple, God-given way to improve our urinary tract health, reduce arterial stiffness and improve vascular health, cranberries can do that and so much more!
Possessing a compound known as flavanols, cranberries can actually reduce the ability of the bacteria E. coli to stick to our innards, which blocks their ability to bind to our inside surfaces and initiate an infection.
They’re Filled With More Than Flavor
And, if that isn’t amazing enough, researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, found that they can selectively kill off colon tumor cells in laboratory dishes using cranberry compounds and they did so using an amount approximately equal to us humans consuming a mere one cup of cranberries per day!
Filled with all these incredible health improving abilities, and also possessing healthy amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E and fiber, cranberries are an insanely incredible berry you would have to be nuts not to eat!
There is one down side to cranberries, though and that is that only about 10 percent of them are sold fresh and only available at harvest, which is roughly September thru December each year. Therefore, in order to get your hands on the freshest cranberries, you will need to buy them now, but its also when their prices are at their lowest of the year so, that’s a plus!
Picking Just The Right One
When selecting, look for fresh berries that are firm and unwrinkled and once home, pop that bag directly into refrigerator – without opening – and it will keep for up to two months.
To store longer, pop cranberries into the freezer – unwashed and in an airtight container – and they will keep for up to an entire year!
Here now are some creative ways to add some incredible cranberries to every day – along with my favorite way to sauce these berries – ENJOY! You’ll find a delicious Cranberry Herbed Butter recipe below and be sure to check out these cranberry sensations as well: Laura’s Sublime Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Brie Bites.
Cranberry Herbed Butter
1 tablespoon fresh cranberries (or more, to taste)
1 cup softened butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dry basil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- Beat butter, cranberries, parsley, basil and garlic powder in a small mixing bowl with an electric mixer until well blended.
- Scoop butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Use wrap to shape butter into a log 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour or until firm.
- Slice butter into 1/4-inch rounds and arrange on serving plate. Serve with vegetables or potatoes.
- This butter can also be made without the basil and garlic powder and served with baskets of holiday breads, dinner rolls, popovers or croissants. It’s very good with our Rosemary Hazelnut Cranberry Bread.