Whether you’re looking to add something sweet to salads, baked goods or seasonal dishes, cranberries pack a lot of flavor, as well as important nutrients and antioxidants, and can be added to a variety of dishes, from muffins and cookies to salads and even quesadillas.
Due to their sweet taste, healthful benefits and versatility, cranberries continue to be increasingly popular. The tiny berry, one of only three fruits native to North America, is grown in several states around the country, but Wisconsin-based growers alone produce more than half of the world’s entire supply of cranberries.
Cranberry Health Benefits
-These tasty berries score among the highest of all fruits in antioxidants, which may help support memory function, coordination, prevent certain types of cancer and ulcers, as well as a healthy immune system.
-Naturally-occurring hippuric acid provides antibacterial effects and other natural antibiotic ingredients.
-Though cranberries pack a lot of flavor, they’re cholesterol free, fat free, low in sodium, and help maintain heart health.
For cranberry recipes, health facts and more, visit the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association online at www.wiscran.org or on Facebook and Twitter.
Cranberry Oat Bran Muffins
Makes: 1 dozen muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oat bran
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon orange peel, grated
Preheat oven to 400∞F. Mix flour, oat bran, salt, sugar and baking powder. Set aside. Beat together eggs, vegetable oil and milk; add to dry ingredients. Add cranberries, walnuts and orange peel. Stir all together, batter may be lumpy. Pour into muffin tins and bake 20 minutes at 400∞F.
Wilted Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Pecans and Feta Cheese
1 small red onion, sliced vertically
8 to 9 cups spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup sweetened-dried cranberries
1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper, freshly ground
Quarter and thinly slice red onion. Place slices in cold water; soak for 30 minutes. Drain; pat dry. Place soaked onion slices, spinach, pecans, feta, cranberries, mint and vinegar in large mixing bowl. Toss together with large pinch of salt. In saucepan, heat olive oil to just below smoking. Pour hot oil over salad in bowl, tossing well. Taste and correct seasoning with salt, pepper and vinegar.
Turkey, Cranberry & Brie Quesadillas
Makes: 8 quesadillas
1/2 cup sour cream, low fat
1 ounce (1/2 cup) chives, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground
2 cups Brie, rind removed
8 8-inch flour tortillas, low fat
1 pound turkey, cooked and shredded
1 cup sweetened-dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup chives, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350∞F.
PurÈe topping ingredients in food processor until smooth. Refrigerate.
Spread 1/4 cup Brie over half of tortilla. Layer 1/4 cup turkey, 1/8 cup cranberries, 1 tablespoon walnuts and 1 tablespoon chives. Fold tortilla in half. Bake quesadillas on baking sheet 8 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with chive topping.
Storage Tips for Fresh Cranberries
Stocking up on fresh berries is easier than ever. Use these tips from Wisconsin’s cranberry growers when storing this delicious berry.
-Remember fresh cranberries are only available seasonally from October through December. However the berries freeze well.
-Don’t be afraid to place fresh cranberries into the freezer for up to a year. For maximum freshness, use a second airtight storage bag.
-If you’re planning to freeze your cranberries, do not wash beforehand. Rather, wash upon thawing.
Source: Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association
Courtesy Family Features