Fresh Cranberries Are a Healthy Holiday Treat


Fresh Cranberry Sauce

One of the best things about the holidays is that fresh seasonal foods are available. One of those foods is fresh cranberries. If your previous experience has been with canned cranberry sauce, you will be amazed at the tart taste of real cranberries. September to October is the beginning of the harvest season for these little red berries, and the season peaks in December.

High in vitamin C, antioxidants and flavonoids, cranberries can help protect you from cancer and decrease tour risk of heart disease and stroke. They’re low in fat, calories and sodium, and high in fiber. Cook them whole — take them off the heat as soon as the berries start to burst, as they may turn bitter if cooked too long. You can also chop them in the food processor for relishes or quick bread.

Cranberry sauce is the first and best-known choice, but cranberries can also be used in pies, cobblers, muffins and quick breads. Cranberry relish livens up meats and poultry, while a cranberry glaze is the perfect complement to a holiday pound cake. You can also freeze the berries for later use. You can make candied cranberries by making a simple syrup: 2 cups sugar and one cup water. Bring to a boil, let cool and then refrigerate the berries in the syrup over night, drain, roll in granulated sugar and let them dry for about two hours. Use them to decorate a frosted cake or as a garnish for the holiday turkey. Make cranberry relish and add some orange peel for contrast; drizzle over slices of roast ham. A simple muffin recipe becomes a new holiday favorite if you substitute chopped cranberries for blueberries. Remember, real food is the best choice for healthy weight loss, and cranberries can help you reach your goal.

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