Ingredient of the Month: Cranberries

(Photo: cranberries by liz west/Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo: cranberries by liz west/Flickr Creative Commons)

Nothing proclaims the holiday season is upon us so brightly as the cranberry. Cheery red and deceptively tart, these swamp dwellers are little bundles of magnesium and vitamins C, E, and K (1). Remember that vitamin C and E are good for skin and vitamin E is a super antioxidant in its own right.

Not only that, but cranberries are the most antioxidant-rich among fruits Americans commonly eat, being especially high in phenols (2). Remember the ingredient of the month post about apples? Well, cranberries outrank them in the antioxidant department–the only conclusion I can draw is that cranberries are even more concentrated oxidation fighters. What else makes them cool? They can help to prevent infection topically and internally according to NPR.

Of course, to really get the benefits, you should eat them raw or as pure juice, since cooking can hurt the delicate antioxidants. Behind that is the cooked jelly we all know so well on our Thanksgiving tables–cranberry sauce! May I submit that cranberry sauce is even better if you make it with orange juice? Because it is.

Have you any favorite cranberry recipes? Tips for using them? Share in the comments!

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