Cooking With Cranberries
Be A Sauce Boss
By Shauna Lindzon
Cranberries are one of those fruits that makes your lips pucker when you think of eating one raw. These pinky-red berries are super tart and are typically not eaten in their raw state. They are best when cooked with something sweet. Read on to discover some delicious and creative ways to use them.
Nutritionally, they are often referred to as a ‘powerhouse’ of nutrients. They have polyphenols which are micronutrients that occur in plants. These nutrients are studied for their effects of slowing the growth of cancer cells and reducing inflammation. There have been many different studies citing that cranberries may help prevent bacteria from attaching to cells in the wall of the urinary tract thereby reducing urinary tract infections. There are also studies which show that they may have a positive effect on oral health by preventing bacteria from binding to the surface of the teeth.
With all these positive attributes of cranberries, there is one thing to keep in mind when eating them. Since they are so tart, they are difficult to eat without a sweetener. If they have been pre-sweetened, beware of the high sugar content.
You can buy them in many different forms. Fresh cranberries can be bought in the produce section of the grocery store or freezer section. Dried cranberries can be found in packages and are typically manufactured with sugar, or a fruit juice to sweeten them. Cranberry sauce can be found in cans, or jars and is cooked down with a sweetener (usually sugar) to be used as a side to savoury dishes such as chicken, or turkey.
If you decide to cook cranberries yourself, there are many ways to use them. Fresh cranberries pair well with oranges, apples, pears etc. Adding the juices of these fruits can elevate the taste of the cranberry. Traditional ways to use cranberries include cooking them into a sauce, adding dried cranberries to trail mix or cookies, mixing them with fruits to make a pie, cake, or fruit crisp. I also like to add the whole cranberry to a pitcher of water. They are not only beautiful, but they add a nice taste to the water.
Have you tried roasting cranberries with different fruits to add sweetness? This is a way to eat cranberries without adding too much sugar. Preheat your oven to 425⁰F. Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet. Use 2 cups fresh cranberries, 1 large red apple diced, ½ tablespoon olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix the ingredients well and roast for 15 minutes until the cranberries deflate and the apples soften. This mixture tastes fantastic over Greek yogurt and sprinkled with toasted walnuts and orange zest. It is so comforting, filling, and delicious!
Shauna Lindzon is a dietitian and nutritionist. She is a program developer and nutrition leader at Wellspring Cancer Support Network and enjoys doing virtual nutrition cooking classes and corporate wellness lectures. For more information about Shauna visit shaunalindzon.com and follow her on Instagram @shaunalin.