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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October: National Cranberry Month

October: National Cranberry Month
October is National Cranberry Month, and you can add fresh cranberries to breakfast breads, toss dried cranberries into a salad, or mix up a refreshing beverage with one of the many forms of cranberry juice.

Nutrition and health: Cranberries are fat-free, cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and a good source of Vitamin C and fiber. Cranberries are thought to provide health benefits because of their flavonoid and phytonutrient content.

Forms and availability: the peak harvest season for fresh cranberries is October through December.

Selection and Storage tips: Choose fresh cranberries that are full, plump, firm and dark red or yellowish-red. Avoid cranberries that are soft, shriveled, or have brown spots. Fresh cranberries should be stored in the refrigerator, preferably in a crisper for about three to four weeks. Cranberries freeze very well, either whole or sliced. When sealed in an airtight container, frozen cranberries will keep for up to nine months.

Getting culinary with cranberries:  cranberries are versatile and can be combined with many other flavors. Try mixing cranberry juice with other juices such as apple, orange or grape. Dried cranberries can be added to nuts, trail mix, granola, oatmeal, or even chicken salad. Fresh or dried cranberries work well in quick breads such as muffins, sweet breads, and yeast breads. These berries also work well in pies, cobblers, chutneys, salsas and relishes.

Check out the U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee website at www.uscranberries.com, which includes many healthy cranberry recipes.

Source: Lisa Franzen-Castle, RD, PhD, Nutrition Specialist University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

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