Monday, December 6

Food Spotlight: Cranberries

One of my favorite holiday side dishes is cranberry sauce. Unfortunately I am in the minority when it comes to an affinity for this delicacy. At our Christmas table the single can of sauce passes from one family member to the next like a hot potato until the serving dish rests at my side.

Why the distain from my family? Don’t they enjoy the tartness, the ruby red color? Or maybe the canned variety with its gelatinous texture is unappealing?

This Christmas I’ve decided to make my own cranberry sauce in an attempt to get my family to embrace the berry. After all, it’s an antioxidant superstar.

Not only are cranberries a powerful free radical fighter, on par with the blueberry, but research has proven the old wives tale of drinking cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections (UTI).

Cranberries contain elements that stop bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. Thus regular consumption of cranberries is a good preventative step for women who suffer recurrent UTIs. Research however, has not proven that cranberries are a good treatment for a UTI. If you get one, you need medical attention to treat it.

Adding cranberries to your diet is easiest with cranberry juice, but buy the light version. Ocean Spray’s light cranberry juice has 40 calories in a cup versus 130 for the regular stuff.

If you can’t stomach the tartness of the juice straight, try this mix: half cranberry juice, half seltzer water and a twist of lime. It’s light and refreshing, plus it looks really fun and pretty in a glass. I often drink this at parties when I’m not feeling like a cocktail. Your office Christmas party could the perfect time to give this a try. Have the bartender put it in a martini glass and it’ll look like you’re having a cosmopolitan. Instead of getting tanked and telling your boss you think he/she is an idiot, you can stand back and watch your colleagues make fools of themselves. Ah, the joys of the holidays. 

Here are some other recipes to help you incorporate cranberries into your life, including a version of cranberry sauce I’m going to try at Christmas.

Happy cooking!

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Turkey Salad

Cranberry Waldorf Fruit Salad


  1. My English version of cranberry sauce, which may persuade some of the adults of the benefits of cranberry sauce (see the 2nd and 5th ingredients!) but can be eaten by the kids as well as the alcohol level per portion is very low and OJ, sugar and port add some sweetness to the finished dish.

    1lb fresh cranberries
    3 1/2 fl oz red wine
    3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
    3 oz sugar
    4 tablespoons of port

    Place the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for approx 4-5 mins until most of the cranberries have 'popped'. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and stir in the port. Pour into a serving dish, cover with film and keep in the refrigerator until
    needed. Can be made up to 5 days in advance.


  2. Thanks Barbara! I'll give it a try.