These tart ruby red berries are native to North America. Jolly good for us in Asia, dried cranberries have made their way to our shores in recent years. Find out why we’re fans of the cran!
Fun fact #1: Did you know that cranberries are the official fruit of Wisconsin state, the largest producer of this crop in the US?
Fun fact #2: Cranberries do not grow underwater as is commonly thought. This is a common misconception as the fruit is seen floating on the water, which is the result of wet harvesting - where the marshes get flooded, making it easier to harvest.
Check out why cranberries are superfoods and we’ve got bonus recipes for you at the end!
1. An antioxidant powerhouse
Don’t undermine this red gems – they are packed with antioxidants, particularly phytonutrients (natural compounds found in plants) that protect the body from harmful free radicals. The disease-fighting antioxidants contained in cranberries ranks them among the top in the fruit and vegetable category, beating strawberries, spinach, broccoli, cherries, red grapes, apples. This massive antioxidant has earned cranberries the spot for cancer-fighting properties by inhibiting the growth and spread of certain types of tumors.
2. Prevents urinary tract infection
Cranberries are renowned for its effectiveness in treating urinary tract infections (UTI). Nearly 6 out of every 10 women suffer from UTI at some points in their lives. The high level of proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries help reduce the adhesion of certain bacteria to the urinary tract walls and fights off infection. A recent study highlighted that cranberry capsules with a high concentration of cranberries were more effective than cranberry juices. That said, before you reach out for a cranberry juice off the shelve, be sure to read the ingredient list first and select pure cranberry juices and not sugar-laden ones.
Consuming cranberries daily has been proven to promote good heart health as the antioxidants in this superfood have shown to aid in preventing the formation of plague in the heart and blood vessels. Thus, reducing the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Never thought these tiny berries had positively potent powers, did you?
4. Low in calories, high in nutrients
Cranberries are low in calories with only 45 calories per cup! Plus, they are rich in fiber and immune-boosting vitamins C and E. Enjoy them as a nutritious snack just like that. For a medley of flavours, toss them together with unsalted nuts, seeds or their berry best friends and voila, you’ve got yourself a healthy convenient granola mix that you can enjoy on-the-go!
Note: If you are on a blood-thinning drug like warfarin or have a history of kidney stones, kindly consult your doctor first to prevent any adverse nutrient-drug interactions.
There are various ways you can add cranberries to your diet including making a healthy trail mix snack, sprinkling dried cranberries over your salad, sneaking them into your favourite muffins or cookies, adding dried cranberries to your oatmeal or granola, giving coconut cranberry seed bars a go or whipping a delicious cranberry sauce to pair with your meat dishes. Try these four recipes and you’ll see why cranberries are crave-worthy!
Photo: Kali Orexi
Arugula, Feta, Pecan and Cranberries Salad
Gone are the days when salads options are just garden and Caesar salads. Check out this absolutely yummy salad. Simply mix ½ cup of balsamic vinegar, ¾ cup of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of sea salt and a pinch of ground pepper in a bottle and shake well. Toss 6 cups of fresh arugula (or baby spinach), ½ cup of chopped pecans (or any nuts of your choice), ¼ cup of crumbled feta and ¼ cup of dried cranberries together and drizzle the dressing over! Watch this salad being finished in minutes!
Photo: Cook Eat Paleo
Cranberry Orange Muffins
These muffins make a great breakfast or afternoon snack, perfect for you or your kids in between classes or sports. Preheat the oven to 325°F and line the muffin tin. Combine 200g of almond flour, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of sea salt, zest of an orange and ½ cup of dried cranberries into a large bowl. Meanwhile, combine 3 eggs, ¼ cup of honey or agave nectar and 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice in a medium bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a scoop, fill muffin cups till ¾ full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. When you insert a toothpick in the center, it should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
All you’ll need to make this much-loved sauce is 1 cup of dried cranberries, a teaspoon of lemon juice, ¾ cup of water and ¾ cup of cranberry juice. Put these into a pressure cooker, close and lock the lid and cook at high pressure of three minutes. Once the time is up, open the cooker and release the pressure slowly, in small bursts. Then, give the mixture a few quick pulses in a blender so that it’s partially pureed. Next, simmer the mixture and stir frequently until desired thickness is reached. Leave the sauce to stand uncovered for 10 minutes. Serve it warm or seal it tightly and refrigerate, keeps for a week. Enjoy this delectable sauce with chicken, lamb or turkey!
Photo: Cabot Cheese
Apple Cranberry Smoothie
Combine these ingredients in a blender until well-pureed - ½ cup of greek yoghurt, ½ cup of diced apples, ¼ cup of dried cranberries, 2 tablespoons of almond milk, a pinch of ground cinnamon and a few ice cubes. Enjoy this delicious and nutritious boost to kickstart your day!