Cranberries: The Winter Miracle Fruit

By Alia Akkam / November 16, 2011

Cranberries, a staple of the fall harvest, are loaded with nutrition.

“Cranberries are known for their tasty tartness, strong red color and the long relationship they have with turkey on Thanksgiving,” points out Lauren Manaker, clinical dietician at Roper St. Francis Hospital in Charleston, S.C. “But they are also a source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and manganese with the added bonus of being a fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free food.” Cranberries contain lutein and zeaxanthin, known to prevent macular degeneration and ward off urinary tract infections.

Decorating with Berries
Dress up your holiday table and add a seasonal touch of red to your decor with these simple but clever ideas.

Place fresh cranberries in the bottom of a clear vase, fill with water and add white spider mums or white roses for a classic design.

String them and hang on a tree or around a door, window, archway or painting. Use heavy thread and insert the needle into the stem end of the cranberry.

Load up glass hurricanes of varying heights half full with fresh cranberries, secure gold or silver pillar candles in the middle and intersperse on top of fresh evergreens for a dramatic holiday centerpiece.

Baking with Berries
To incorporate cranberries into your holiday dinner in a sophisticated and healthy way, try this moist Pumpkin Cranberry Cake recipe from Jansen Chan, executive pastry chef at New York’s Oceana.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cake

4 ounces butter, soft
1½ cups sugar
1 orange, zested
3 eggs
15-ounce can pumpkin puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pecans
1½ cups dried cranberries
¼ cup brandy

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Roughly chop the pecans and place on a flat tray, toast in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Let cool.
3. Place the cranberries and brandy in a bowl and wrap in plastic. Place in warm spot, or over a pot of hot water, until needed.
4. Prepare a 9”x5”x3” loaf pan by greasing and flouring the sides and bottom. Set aside.
5. In a mixer, beat butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
6. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, bak­ing powder, baking soda and all of the spices.
7. Slowly add eggs to creaming mixture, scraping continuously to ensure even mixing.
8. Add half of the pumpkin puree and mix further.
9. Add all the flour mixture to the bowl and mix again.
10. Add the remaining pumpkin puree and mix until almost homogenous.
11. By hand, stir in half of the toast­ed pecans and the drained cranberries with the brandy.
12. Carefully, spread mixture over a prepared pan.
13. Sprinkle remaining pecans over the batter.
14. Bake for one hour and 20 minutes, or until springy to the touch.
15. Let cool in pan for 25 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a rack to cool.
16. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.

Alia Akkam
Alia Akkam

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