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Don’t forget the Cranberry

cranberryOnce we hit late September and October we’re inundated by pumpkin and apple spice everything, but what about the cranberry. The cranberry’s peak harvest time is September-October, so now is the perfect time to be thinking about all of the benefits cranberries have to offer. Don’t get me wrong, I adore pumpkin and apple foods as well–check out this round up of pumpkin and apple recipes–I’m just saying let’s be sure to include the mighty little cranberry when we start our Fall baking, cooking, and eating.

First just a few facts about this tart-little bites:

  • Cranberries may help reduce the risk of stomach ulcers by reducing the amount of a specific type of acid in those at risk.
  • Dried cranberries are a good source of fiber. You’ll get 2.3 grams (10% of the Daily Value) in just under a half a cup (40 grams).
  • Cranberries resist bacteria stickiness. Bacteria, like the kind that causes urinary tract infections, adhere or “stick” to the urinary tract leading to infection. Cranberries help prevent that sticking and therefore can help reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection.
  • Cranberries also help prevent plaque from “sticking” to your teeth, helping to prevent cavities.

Cranberry juice is often recommended as a way to get more cranberry into your diet. Pure cranberry juice, however can be quite tart. If you’re not crazy about the tartness, you’ll be happy to learn that a recent study in the journal Nutrition Research found that participants who drank cranberry juice cocktail (a sweetened cranberry juice) still obtained the cranberry benefits. In addition, even though they were drinking a sweetened drink there was no link between the cocktail and weight gain. Note that the cranberry juice cocktail contained no more and in some cases less sugar than other commonly consumed 100% fruit juices.

So go ahead and enjoy a glass or two of cranberry juice cocktail. Obviously its delicious chilled, but as the weather cools, we often look for warm drinks. Cranberry juice cocktail is delicious heated up, as you would do to apple cider, to help take the chill off on a cool afternoon.

Of course, in addition to drinking, you can also eat your cranberries. Since Fall is a great time for baking, thought I’d include a couple of yummy recipes for baking pairing apples and pumpkin with cranberries.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Yields 12
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup white sugar
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup canola oil
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  6. 1/4 cup water
  7. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  11. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  13. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  14. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
  2. Mix sugars, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and cranberries.
  3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Notes
  1. Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.
Foodie Mom, RD http://www.appleadaynutrition.net/blog/
 
Cranberry Apple Cider Bread
A delicious bread with all the flavors of Fall. Makes 2 loaves
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DOUGH
  1. 4 1/2 teaspoons Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Yeast
  2. 1 cup warm water (100 - 110F)
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 cup apple cider
  6. 1 tablespoon salt
  7. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  8. 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  9. 6 - 6 1/4 cups King Arthur Bread Flour, divided
FILLING
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 2/3 cups peeled, cored, chopped Jonathan apple
  7. 3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
  8. 3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
GLAZE
  1. 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  2. 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 cup apple cider
GARNISH
  1. 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped, divided
  2. 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, divided
Instructions
  1. In mixer bowl, with paddle attachment, combine yeast, warm water, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in remaining sugar, eggs, cider, salt, lemon juice, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and 3 cups flour. Beat on low speed 2 minutes.
  2. Beat in 3 cups flour. Knead with dough hook until moderately soft dough forms, about
  3. 5 to 8 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary. Use remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to grease a large mixing bowl. Place dough in bowl, turn to grease top. Cover; refrigerate dough overnight.
  4. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes.
  5. To make filling: In a small bowl, stirring with spoon, mix together butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon peel, cinnamon, and vanilla. Set aside.
  6. Punch down dough; divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Divide butter filling evenly and spread within 1 inch of edges of each rectangle. Sprinkle evenly with apples, cranberries, and pecans. Starting from long side, tightly roll up and pinch edges to seal.
  7. Using a floured knife, cut ropes lengthwise in half. With cut sides up, twist two ropes around each other to form a single piece. Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Pinch ends together. Cover loaves, let rise 30 to 40 minutes, until puffy but NOT double.
  8. Bake in preheated 350F oven 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and done. To prevent overbrowning, tent loaves with foil last 5 minutes.
  9. To make glaze: Mix all ingredients with spoon, beating until smooth.
  10. Drizzle glaze over cooled loaves. Garnish by sprinkling each loaf with 2 tablespoons cranberries and 2 tablespoons pecans.
Notes
  1. Recipe from the Cranberry Marketing Committee
Foodie Mom, RD http://www.appleadaynutrition.net/blog/
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