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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving and Cranberries – a Great Pairing!

cranberries
Some things just “go together," don’t they?  I think that’s true of cranberries and the traditional Thanksgiving feasts that are served in millions of homes across the country each November.  Cranberries are so yummy – and so good for you, too.  I thought it would be fun to call cranberries “out” in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  After all, it is a fruit that is native to North America.  Native Americans heralded “sassamanesh” or “ibimi” (meaning bitter berry) for millennia, not only as a tart and yummy tasting berry (and thus, a viable food source) but also for its healing properties.

The cranberry actually got its name from the Pilgrims who called them “crane” berries because of the flower of the berry that is thought to resemble the bill and head of the Sandhill crane. Most historians agree that cranberries were part of the first Thanksgiving feast way back in 1621, possibly sweetened with maple syrup or honey. Over the years, the name “crane” berry was shortened to just cranberry – and it stuck.  Today, hardly any family’s dinner table is complete without cranberry sauce or some other yummy cranberry concoction alongside the low calorie mashed potatoes, low calorie sweet potatoes, low calorie stuffing, and gravy! 

I’ll be the first to admit that it takes a certain palette to enjoy the cranberry fully, and if you’re not into tartness, you likely won’t be a big fan of the cranberry.  But cranberries are so loaded with health benefits, even if you must consume them in supplement form – they are worth a second nod.  This is doubly true if you suffer from UTIs (urinary tract infections).  I actually have friends who swear by cranberries to keep their urinary tracts healthy and running smoothly.  Cranberries are also great for the cardiovascular system and the immune system because they are chock full of important antioxidants. 

Around my house, I always make our cranberry sauce from scratch.  Here’s my recipe:

Yummy Low-Cal Cranberry Sauce
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thaw first, rinse and drain)
1/2 cup water or apple juice
2/3 cups Agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey as desired

Combine cranberries and water in medium saucepan and heat to boiling. Reduce to low heat and simmer for around 15 or 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before stirring in the syrup or honey.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  When preparing this dish, keep in mind that because you are using syrup or honey to sweeten the sauce, it will not “gel” to the degree that it would if using sugar.  But it’s still yummy!

2 comments:

CaSaundraLeigh said...

This post couldn't have been posted at a better time! I was just looking for a low cal cranberry sauce to make :-)

amy.bantillo said...

this really wonderful, perfect it good for our health.. thank you

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