No more are cranberries just something you see as a gelatinous side dish on your Thanksgiving table…cranberry products, including fresh/frozen cranberries, cranberry juice cocktail, dried cranberries and cranberry sauce contain proanthocyanidins (PACs). These flavonoids are unique to cranberries and have a different structure than PACs found in other foods.
Cranberries are naturally low in sugar and high in acidity. In fact, fresh cranberries have similar sugar content to lemons; therefore they are usually sweetened to be palatable.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy cranberries is using dried cranberries in a variety of dishes. Dried cranberries can be added to warm and cold cereals, salads, yogurt, rice and grain side dishes, meat entrees, casseroles, cottage cheese, sandwiches, home baked cookies, muffins and breads, or enjoyed as a snack. With a perfect blend of tart and sweet flavors, dried cranberries are a good source of dietary fiber (2.3 grams per 1.4 ounce serving) – and have similar sugar content as other dried fruits, like raisins and dried cherries.
Research has shown the cranberry may improve blood cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, inflammation and oxidative stress. Between fresh, frozen, dried, juice and sauce, you can experience the health benefits of cranberries all year long! The seasons won’t stop YOU from enjoying delicious cranberries year-round.
7 Ways to Dish up your Delish Cranberries this holiday season:
- Sprinkle dried cranberries over green salads to add unique flavor and texture.
- Add dried cranberries to hot oatmeal.
- Incorporate dried cranberries into whole grain sides such as quinoa, bulgur, pasta and brown rice.
- Got left over cranberry sauce? Spread on veggie, chicken or turkey sandwiches and wraps.
- Make your own barbecue sauce with cranberry sauce as a tart and tangy main ingredient.
- Whisk cranberry juice with herbs, spices and olive oil for a tangy salad dressing.
- Mix cranberry juice with unflavored seltzer for a refreshing spritzer.
Cranberries with Mixed Greens, Goat Cheese & Toasted Walnuts
Makes: 6 Servings
FOR THE DRESSING
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (the juice from one lemon)
- 2 tablespoons 100% cranberry juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons soft mild-flavored goat cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
FOR THE SALAD
- 9 cups mixed greens
- 1/2 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
- FOR THE VINAIGRETTE -Combine in a blender the lemon juice, cranberry juice, honey, goat cheese, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, then, with the motor running, gradually add in the olive oil.
- The vinaigrette can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- FOR THE SALAD – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Toast chopped walnuts on a shallow baking dish for 8-10 minutes.
- A few minutes before you serve the salad, in a large serving bowl toss the greens with the vinaigrette. Garnish with the cranberries, toasted walnuts, & crumbled goat cheese.
Recipe by: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA