Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cranberries!

     It's that time of year when everyone goes to the store to load up on Thanksgiving goodies for the table.  On the top of the list for many families is cranberry sauce.  Naturally, the least time-consuming way to go is to get that vacuum-packed/jellied/shaped-like-a-can stuff.  After all, there are so many other parts of the feast to worry about.  The problem, here, is that the cranberry sauce/jelly from a can is loaded with sugar and preservatives; not to mention the BPA-infested lining of the can (who knew?)!

     The better way to go here is to make your own.  This may sound scary and taxing to those of you who have never even thought about making your own cranberry sauce, but believe me, it tastes so much better.  The better taste comes from 2 main categories:  1) fresh, natural, and whole ingredients and 2)you made it yourself!
Making things from scratch lends a sense of accomplishment to the task and makes you feel good.  I have come to find that things taste better to me when I cook them because I know what I am eating and I have put a little love into the food I am about to share with friends and family.

     Cranberries, not only make a great topping for turkey dinners, they are also loaded with nutritional value.  One reason doctors and dietitians recommend cranberries (usually in 100% juice form, because that's most convenient) is because they are great at fighting bad bacteria that cause bladder infections and urinary tract infections (UTI).  On top of all that good news, cranberries are loaded with vitamin C (good for calcium absorption) and antioxidants that can help make your skin look and feel healthy.

Here is a basic recipe for making cranberry sauce:

  • place 1 bag of fresh cranberries in a small pot and fill about 1/2 to 3/4 full with cold water.  Place over medium heat.
  • Add 1/4 cup of sugar, or to taste (optional)
  • Now, let it simmer.  There will be some popping noises (my favorite part!).  This means that the cranberries are opening and releasing their juices, turning the water into a gooey sauce.
  • Keep simmering until all the cranberries have popped, and until it is to your desired consistency.  NOTE:  the more sugar that is added, the more gooey the sauce will become
  • Finally, add some of your favorite spices like cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves/etc.
Some other ways to enjoy cranberries:
  • dried and sprinkled in granola 
  • as 100% juice
  • boiled and mixed into oatmeal/pancakes
If you have any other ideas, please feel free to share in a comment!

Luana ola!