Next to Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. This day, which is set aside to celebrate and be thankful for our many blessings, was a big day in our household. Mother and Daddy invited all of our extended family members, plus anyone they knew who didn’t have a place to go for the day. The people seated at our Thanksgiving table/tables numbered between twenty- to-forty. Our house was small. I don’t know how we managed to fit everyone in, but we did.

The kitchen counters and main table were laden with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, macaroni and cheese, dumplings, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, homemade yeast rolls, Jell-O salads, more desserts than any bakery, and cranberry sauce. The interesting thing is that nobody ate the cranberry sauce. It’s the only thing on the table that wasn’t made from scratch. It was the canned type. It was my job to open the can, quarter the jellied substance, and display it on a crystal dish. Because it is part of our family tradition, we still do this, knowing full well that it will end up in the trash can. Yet, it isn’t Thanksgiving without it.

I’ve decided that it’s time for a change. I am reinventing the cranberry presentation. I have discovered the health benefits derived from consuming cranberries. We all know that drinking 8 oz. per day of cranberry juice maintains a healthy urinary tract, preventing infections. But, did you know that cranberries beat out strawberries, spinach, broccoli, organs, beets, and grapes for having the highest ORAC value? ORAC is the oxygen radical absorbance ability of a substance to subdue oxygen free radicals? These are anti-aging! And that’s not all.

Mouthwashes are being formulated to contain cranberries. Researchers have discovered that cranberries keep plaque from forming on teeth. They also help prevent strep. Did you know that cranberries are a natural defense against atherosclerosis, and that they prevent ulcers?

Cranberries are one of the world’s healthiest foods. Who knew! Cranberries are available from September through December. Look for the darkest color of berry, and berries that are firm. Double wrap them in plastic and freeze. They will keep for years. You can use them as needed, and there’s no need to thaw them first.

So what will you do with them?  How about putting them on your cereal, or blending them with other fruit to make a smoothie or juice? The Worlds Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com, lists many uses for cranberries.  I really like this web site, because you can find great recipes here, and it gives you a breakdown of each recipe’s nutritional information and value. I found this recipe there. It sounds delicious:

Fresh Cranberry Salad

2 cups fresh berries

½ cup of pineapple chunks,

 1 quartered skinned orange

1 red or golden delicious apple

One or two hands full of walnuts or pecans.

Place in a blender. Blend until well mixed but still chunky. Transfer to a large bowl. Dice 3-4 stalks of celery, add to the cranberry mixture and stir just until combined.

This Thanksgiving I am going to be giving thanks for my many blessings. I’m thankful for my family, my church, good health, all the new friends I have met this year, the opportunities that have come my way, and for discovering a recipe to fix cranberries that we will actually eat.

6 thoughts on “Cranberries for Good Health

  1. What great information, Pam, THANK YOU! I’ve been taking a cranberry capsule for years because I knew about the benefits to one’s urinary tract but I had no idea about the rest. And you suggest some great ways to use cranberries. I’ve avoided buying them because the only way I knew how to prepare them was to add tons and tons of sugar… not exactly a healthy ideal.
    So, one more thank you for your great advice!

  2. The recipe sounds fabulous! Perfect next to the Thanksgiving turkey. I actually gave up all meats (except fish) about 6 months ago and have increased my intake of fresh vegetables and fruits. I feel better because of it. I’ve known about the health advantages of cranberries years now and this sounds like such a wonderful way to enjoy them. Printing the recipe now, thanks.

  3. We just discussed this in my cardiotherapy class TODAY. Cranberries are very low in sodium which is what I have to watch out for so I’ll be loading up the cranberries and cutting back on the stuffing this Thanksgiving.

  4. I started buying and freezing fresh cranberries last year when I saw some on sell. Our favorite use is throwing them into smoothies, and not full of seeds like the blackberries I froze. Now I look for cranberries this time of year to stock my freezer.

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