Living in Massachusetts, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit local cranberry bogs to see harvesting of these beautiful, vibrant berries. Cranberries are only harvested once per year from mid-September through early November, so the cranberries on supermarket shelves now are as fresh as can be.
Not only are cranberries beautiful strung as garland, incorporated into centerpieces or when used to create festive placeholders, an impressive amount of nutrition can be found inside these bite-sized berries. Cranberries are actually known as the “original superfruit” and may provide numerous health benefits, particularly from the vitamin C, fiber and plant compounds called Proanthocyanidins (PACs) they contain.
Because of their unique nutrition profile, cranberries may help reduce incidence of certain infections, promote heart health, protect the urinary tract, decrease inflammation associated with chronic disease and aging, and support digestive health, according to the Cranberry Institute.
Enjoy Cranberries So Many Ways In So Many Forms
Frozen, Canned, Dried, Juice: Thankfully, you can enjoy cranberries past their short fresh season to reap these health benefits. A 10-ounce serving of 27% cranberry juice cocktail, 1-ounce portion of sweetened dried cranberries and ½-cup of canned cranberry sauce provide similar benefits as 1½-cups fresh or frozen cranberries.
Sauce: While canned cranberry sauce can be a tasty staple for holiday dinners, you may also want to try the flavor of fresh cranberries. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! One of my favorite cranberry recipes is this Cranberry Apple Chutney inspired from the Rhodes Family, who has been harvesting cranberries in Southeastern Massachusetts for over 70 years.
Cranberry Apple Chutney
This chutney is delicious served warm with Brie and whole grain crackers, chilled with your holiday turkey or swirled into a bowl of hot oatmeal. NOTE: If you don’t have spice-flavored tea bags (such as chai, cinnamon- or cider-flavored) at home, simply use 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and ½ teaspoon ground cloves instead.
- 4 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup water
- 3 spice-flavored tea bags
- In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients.
- Bring mixture to a boil while constantly stirring
- Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Once apples are tender and mixture thickens, remove tea bags, transfer to a bowl and serve.