Native American people introduced the early pioneers to these tart & tangy bright red berries. Someone thought the blossoms looked like a crane’s head so they called them “crane berries”. Since then, the name has been shortened to “cranberry”. Native to North America, cranberries are grown in only six states. Luckily NJ is one of them.
If you’ve not yet seen cranberries floating in bogs, you can visit south Jersey to see this beautiful fruit in all their crimson splendor. The annual Cranbury Festival is happening this weekend, October 16 & 17 in Chatsworth, NJ. http://www.cranfest.org/festival.html
Not only are cranberries delicious, they are also an effective treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs). Proanthocyanidins, contained in cranberries, have an anti-adhesive quality and prevent bacteria from adhering to mucus membranes. By drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills and drinking lots of water, UTI sufferers can flush out bacteria from their urinary tract. (It worked well for me!)
Cranberry extract taken orally can reduce bacteria in salvia & help prevent plaque from adhering to teeth & gums.
The anti-adhesion & anti-bacterial qualities of cranberries can work against H. pylori. H. pylori are the bacteria responsible for stomach membrane infections & stomach ulcers thereby increasing the risk of contracting stomach cancer. H. pylori have less chance of sticking to stomach walls when cranberries are consumed.
This “wonder fruit” is also high in antioxidants touted to help slow down the aging process. Cranberries contain flavonoides, a naturally occurring compound that include many plant pigments. Flavonoids have beneficial effects by neutralizing free radicals which damage body tissue. In addition, healthier cholesterol levels have been attributed to eating cranberries.
Regardless how they are consumed--fresh, frozen, in juice, as a sauce or relish, dried like raisins or in powder form, cranberries are a healthful & tasty fruit.
Here is an easy recipe that includes dried cranberries & contains all of the 4 New Groups: Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains & Legumes. Can you score 100% on the quiz? I sure hope so----I teach this to 5 year olds! Scroll down to check your answers.
Barley Rainbow Salad
2 cups cooked pearl barley (or any whole grain like brown or wild rice)
½ - ¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup frozen green peas, blanched for 3 minutes (or shelled endamame)
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced carrots, blanched for 3 minutes
¼ cup finely chopped red cabbage
3 teaspoons olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Add all ingredients in large bowl and mix well. This can be served at room temperature or warm and as a salad or a side dish. Enjoy!
QUIZ! Write the letter of the food group next to the food
A. Fruit B. Vegetable C. Legume D. Whole Grain
Answers: Pearl barley (D); Cranberries (A); Peas (C); Carrot (B); Celery (B); Red Cabbage (B)