I love cranberries, especially cranberry sauce (even if you don’t, keep reading and I might be able to convince you to start liking cranberries).
I don’t eat this tasty berry nearly enough. Sometimes I only get cranberries on Thanksgiving day. Pouring cranberry sauce onto my turkey and on leftovers the days after and…that’s it. I may not eat any more cranberries until next year. If you’re anything like me, that means you’re missing out on all the benefits these little, brightly colored berries have to offer throughout the year!
Why cranberries are much more than sauce on Thanksgiving…
Cranberries have so many bioactive compounds! These different compounds can give a wide range of health advantages. Studies have proven that the consumption of cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections (UTI). This is because of the proanthocyanidins (PAC) that stop the bad bacteria from sticking to the cell walls in your urinary tract (causing a UTI).
Consumption can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease:
The polyphenols and flavonoids in cranberries prevent more LDL (bad) cholesterol from being produced while also improving HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This helps to reduce blood pressure and overall vascular functions.
These berries are potentially cancer-fighting soldiers:
A number of studies show cranberries are of the highest sources of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables. This means that they are awesome at destroying free radicals. Free radicals damage your DNA and cause inflammation. This damage or inflammation could lead to a higher risk of cancer or chronic diseases.
The benefits of cranberries can be reaped by drinking cranberry juice cocktails, eating dried cranberries or by adding them to your favorite recipes.
Here are two tasty recipes to help incorporate cranberries into your cooking!
Chicken Thighs with Cranberries and Butternut Squash
In a food processor, combine 1/2 cup cranberries, olive oil, worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.
Place chicken thighs in a large gallon bag, and add cranberry mixture. Seal and place in fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour, and up to 12 hours.
Place butternut squash and remaining cranberries on prepared baking sheet. Nestle chicken among the squash/cranberries, skin side down, and pour remaining marinade over chicken pieces. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, switch oven to broil setting to slightly char chicken skin.
In a food processor, combine cranberries, onion, garlic, cumin, sumac, salt, pepper, and parsley. Pulse until finely chopped.
In a medium bowl, combine lamb, cranberry mixture, eggs, breadcrumbs, and club soda. Using your hands, mix well until combined. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
Shape 1/4 cup of lamb mixture into oblong sausages. Place on prepared baking sheet and continue with remaining lamb mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until koftas are browned and have reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Alternatively, you can place koftas on a skewer and grill over medium heat.
Serve with Cranberry Mint Sauce.
Cranberry mint sauce
Combine sugar and water in a small pot. Bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer cranberries without stirring, until mixture has thickened, about 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in mint, orange zest, and sumac. Let cool completely and serve with lamb koftas.