By Chelsea Fisher
If you’ve ever eaten a fresh cranberry or tasted pure cranberry juice (the kind without added sugar) you might have an idea of how strong cranberries are on cancer-causing free radicals. That sour bite is packed with antioxidants, fiber, and tons of vitamins and minerals that help us stay healthy.
Cranberries also have antibacterial properties, and fresh cranberry juice has been widely studied for its effects on urinary tract infections. Studies have found that pure cranberry juice can help prevent UTIs by blocking bacteria from attaching to our cells. No matter what your reasons are for eating cranberries or drinking the pure juice, keep it up because these little berries certainly have beneficial properties.
Fresh cranberries should be a deep crimson red and firm to the touch, hard in fact. Cranberries freeze extraordinarily well, so when they are in season, buy a few pounds and store them in your freezer, or buy commercially frozen cranberries as a good standby. I also keep dried cranberries on hand to add to oatmeal or compotes.
Fresh cranberries are unbelievably tart to eat on their own and need a lot of sweetening. To keep them lower on the glycemic index, try cooking them using either agave nectar or honey as a sweetener. Spoon for spoon both of these are twice as sweet as sugar. If that’s not a concern, cook your cranberries with brown sugar, or maple syrup to taste, but don’t use so much as to lose their wonderful tartness.
When you bring cranberry sauce to the Thanksgiving table, leave the canned stuff in the cupboard. Fresh cranberry sauce is so easy to make and it’s so delicious. Try making our Healthy Holiday Cranberry Sauce for a true crowd pleaser. Fresh cranberries are delicious cooked in combo with sweeter fruits such as golden delicious apples or Bartlett pears. These combos make great compotes to eat topped with yogurt for breakfast or as a snack. Dried cranberries are great to keep around the house for snacking and can be used in our Cranberry Walnut Scones and our Warm Colorful Quinoa Salad.