Okay, okay. So we stuffed ourselves silly with our Thanksgiving Feasts full of delicous, seasonal favorites. Something I look forward to every year is the cranberry sauce. It’s tangy, yet tart taste is irrestible next to all of those other fixings. This side dish got me thinking though: Cranberries should be utilized more and not just during the holiday season. I decided to do a little research and dig into the heart of why we should incorperate these little buggers into our diets.
Here are 6 Good Reasons Why We Should Celebrate Cranberries
1. Cranberries are full of antioxidants
Antioxidants help us stay healthy during cold season. They also protects cells from damage by unstable molecules called free radicals. The National Institutes of Health is funding research on the cranberry’s effects on heart disease, yeast infections and other conditions, and other researchers are investigating its potential against cancer, stroke and viral infections.
2. Drinking Cranberry Juice Can Block Urinary infections
Cranberry juice is known to cling to bacteria that attempts to grab on to cell walls. While women often drink unsweetened cranberry juice to treat an infection, there’s no hard evidence that it works.
3. Cranberry Mouthwash Is Being Developed to Prevent Tooth Decay
A compound discovered in cranberries, proanthocyanidine, prevents plaque formation on teeth and so mouthwashes containing it are being developed to prevent periodontal disease.
4. H. Pylori Bacteria Can Be Warded Off With Cranberries.
In some people, regular cranberry juice consumption for months can kill the H. pylori bacteria, which can cause stomach cancer and ulcers.
5. Drink Cranberry Juice to Lower Bad Cholesterol
Preliminary research is showing that if one drinks cranberry juice every day, it is possible to increase levels of HDL, or good cholesterol and reduce levels of LDL, known as bad cholesterol.
6. Cranberries Could Potentially Slow Down Tumor Growth
Cranberries may prevent tumors from growing rapidly or starting in the first place.Extracts of chemicals in cranberries prevent breast cancer cells from multiplying in a test tube, but whether that would work in women is unknown.
Did You Know…
Cranberries were originally used by east coast Native Americans as a textile dye, food source AND medicine. With its rich anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties, the natives used it to create the world’s first energy bar — pemmican. Pemmican was a mashed up mixture of dried venison, cranberries and fat tallow that could provide the natives with a protein-rich food source over an extended period of time. It wasn’t until 1622 that the American Colonists began to use the fruit for theselves in sauces, chutneys and meat glazes. It wasn’t until honey was used as a sweetener that the cranberry became a colonial staple.
Today, Cranberries are a major commercial crop in the United States and Canada, however, a very small amount are produced in southern Argentina, Chile, the Netherlands and Eastern Europe. In the United States,Wisconsin produces half of the country’s cranberries with Massachusetts coming in second place. 20% of the world’s cranberries are produced in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland region.
Whew! That’s a lot of info.
Now Let’s talk recipes!
This week, I was lucky enough to get my hand’s on Debbie Adler’s latest book, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes. Debbie owns the famous bakery, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes in Los Angeles. Her book is a perfect Christmas gift for the foodie in your life. To purchase your own copy, order your copy here. While Debbie’s book is loaded with delicious recipes, her cranberry-related options caught my eye this week. Check out her recipe below for her decadent Cran Ban Thank You Bran Muffins.
Debbie Adler’s Cran Ban Thank You Bran Muffins
(From her latest cookbook “Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes”)
12 standard-size paper baking cups
1 cup rice bran
1 3/4 cups unsweetened plain rice milk
1/4 cup mashed banana
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp sodium-free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4cup coconut nectar
1/4 tsp stevia powder
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1. Prehead oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking cups
2. Place the rice bran in a medium-size bowl. Add the rice ilk and stir until well blended and absorbed. Fold in the mashed bananas.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnaon, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum and salt. Make a well in the middle.
4. Add the grapeseed oil, coconut nectar, stevia and water to the dry ingredients, and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the batter is smooth. Next, add the rice bran ixture and stir to combin. Add 1/2 cup of the dried cranberries and stir to distribute evenly.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, dividing it evenly. Each cup should be about two-thirds full. Top each with the remaining 1/4 cup of dried cranberries.
6. Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown and bounce back slightly to the touch. Rotate the muffin tin fro front to back halfway through the baking.
7. Transfer the muffin tin from the oven to a wire rack and let sitfor 10 minutes before removing the muffins to cool completely. Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months.