As published in the Student Nutrition Association of Kaplan Newsletter, November/December Issue, Volume 3, Issue 7.
Cranberries are a popular fruit featured in many holiday dishes from Thanksgiving through the New Year. This year, November 23rd serves as the unofficial kick-off to the cranberry season with National "Eat a Cranberry" Day. These tart berries not only add unique flavor and bright color to dishes but really up the nutritional ante as well. Cranberries are most widely known health-wise for their role in preventing urinary tract infections, but they have also been found to have a similar effect on stomach ulcers. In addition, the cranberry's high phytonutrient content is said to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties adding to their list of health benefits (The George Mateljan Foundation, 2014).
Ina one-cup serving of raw cranberries there are just 46 calories, 0 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of protein. Over half of the fruit's carbohydrate content is in the form of dietary fiber making them a good source of the nutrient. Cranberries are also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese (SELF Nutrition Data, 2014).
If the idea of popping a raw cranberry in your mouth is not appealing, the fruit is great in a variety of dishes from condiments to drinks and desserts. Quite possibly the most popular way they are prepared this time of year is in the form of cranberry sauce served alongside the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. My favorite way though is in this cranberry bread. I started making this recipe when I was young as my contribution to the Thanksgiving table and it quickly became a staple. I really can't remember where I found it, but I am so glad I did. Nowadays it seems that making it just for Thanksgiving isn't enough and I have already made (and eaten) several loaves this year...it's that good!
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 1/2 cups freshly chopped cranberries
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add the egg, orange peel and orange juice; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries. Spoon the batter into a greased loaf pan (or three miniature loaf pans). Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Once completely cooled, glaze with an orange juice and confectioner's sugar mixture. Top with sliced almonds if desired.
Nutrition Information References:
George Mateljan Foundation, The. (2014). Cranberries. Retrieved from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=145
SELF Nutrition Data. (2014). Cranberries, raw. Retrieved from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1875/2
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