Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tasty Ways to Use Dried Cranberries

As I've mentioned before, we love cranberries at my house. I find dried cranberries particularly versatile. My husband deals with high cholesterol so we eat oatmeal for breakfast a lot (fortunately my husband loves it) and dried cranberries are a very tasty addition. In fact, I rarely make oatmeal without them. I add them to cookie recipes, pancakes, couscous, salad....anywhere I want a little something extra. Here are a couple of my family's favorite recipes:

Lemon Cranberry Pancakes

2 1/2 c. Whole wheat pastry flour
2t. Kosher salt
3t. Baking powder
1t. Baking soda
1 1/2 t. Cinnamon
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1-2 c. Dried cranberries
1/4 c. Agave nectar
2 c. Buttermilk
1/2 c. Canola oil
2t. Vanilla
3 eggs

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and the lemon zest with a whisk. In another bowl, combine the liquid ingredients, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix until there are no lumps. Pour batter onto hot griddle or non-stick pan coated with butter or cooking spray. Immediately drop a few dried cranberries onto each pancake. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is lightly browned. Yield: 24 pancakes

Peanut Butter Cranberry Rollups

1 Flour tortilla per Rollups (we use whole wheat)
Creamy Peanut Butter
Dried Cranberries

Spread tortilla with desired amount of peanut butter. Sprinkle desired amount of cranberries over peanut butter. Roll up and enjoy! This is my 4-year old granddaughter's favorite lunch.

More recipes to come!

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Dish on Cranberries

Cranberries can be consumed fresh as berries, as juice and in dried form with equal impact. Dried cranberries are amazing in that they retain all the characteristics of fresh berries; low in cholesterol and sodium, good aids to boosting immunity, good sources of fiber and Vitamin C, and serve as good antibacterial agents, and are accessible in different seasons and different conditions. Dried cranberries are a handy snack that you can carry with you wherever you go. Dried cranberries are a good source of proanthocyanidins, which are also called tannins. These prevent bacteria such as Escherichia coli from settling along the urinary tract and that is why cranberries are a popular cure for urinary infections.

One of the major flavonoids in cranberries is quercetin. It is found to be a good anti-inflammatory and is particularly effective if used in the early stages of an inflammation. It is also known to have iron-binding capabilities.

Another flavnoid that is found in dried cranberries is myricetin which is recognized as an antioxidant. Myricetin is said to have the ability to fight prostate cancer in particular and is effective on the whole in fighting carcinogens.

On the whole, dried cranberries have a lot to offer. For such a small berry, they pack a huge nutritional boost. I use them in all kinds of dishes, and as often as possible. We love them in our house. Give them a try and see if you don't fall in love with them as well.

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