Buy Cranberries Now and Use Later

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A must at all Thanksgiving dinners, cranberries are beginning to find their way into our pantries and freezers year round. This cheery little red fruit can add more than just zip to meals.  It is high in fiber and vitamin C and contains just 25 calories per 1/2 cup of fresh berries. Cranberries are also low in sodium and are a source of Vitamins A & B, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.  Packed full of antioxidants and other natural compounds cranberries promote health and wellness.
For many years healthy professionals have been recommending cranberries for prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs). It was long thought that this was due to the acidity of the cranberries themselves and its impact on the acidity of the urine that caused the benefit.  Researchers now know differently.  According to the Cranberry Institute, cranberries have a bacterial blocking activity due to their flavonoid content that actually prevents the adhesion of infection-causing bacteria.  This bacteria-blocking activity makes cranberries effective for helping to prevent UTIs and other bacterial related conditions, potentially including gum disease and stomach ulcers.  Note that cranberry products are known as a PREVENTATIVE measure and not a cure for UTIs.
Unlike other fruits, cranberries are usually considered too tart to eat alone and are combined with other ingredients to make them palatable. Most cranberry juices have sweeteners added and dried cranberries are sweetened prior to drying.
Fresh whole cranberries are available in markets from September through December. These fresh berries will keep in the refrigerator for one month.
Freezing your own berries will make them last all year long.  Sort out any bruised berries and store in an airtight freezer container. These berries do not need to be thawed, but should be washed just before use. They will maintain their quality for 9-12 months.
Sweetened dried cranberries will keep for up to 12 months in a cool dry place.
Use whole berries to chop and put in salads, muffins, pancakes and cranberry sauce or relish. Put dried berries in salads or eat as snacks.
To lower calories in cranberry relish and sauce, use Splenda in place of sugar.
By Cheryl Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University Extension

Cranberry Apple Sauce Recipe
8 apples, cored and quartered, with skin
6 ounces (1/2 bag) cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Splenda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup water
Place all items in crockpot and cook on low power all day until apples are soft. Mash apples and cranberries and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve this dish as a fruit side dish like apple sauce or serve for a nice light dessert. For more recipes and tips, visit:
uscranberries.com and
cranberryinstitute.org.

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