Cranberries are in season this fall and make a great snack as well as side dish or dessert. Fresh cranberries only have 46 calories per cup and are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. Cranberries are also great because they contain canganese and copper as well as anthocyanidins which come from their color.
Cranberries are best known for treating urinary tract infections (UTI), and many drink cranberry juice as a preventative measure. The science behind this fact, studied and published in a variety of journals indicate cranberries are antibacterial and bacteria is washed away with urine thus preventing acidification which leads to UTI. Cranberries provide a considerable amount of protection from E. coli from which 80-90% of UTI’s are caused.
Cranberries have also been found to reduce kidney stones, developed from calcium salts. Cranberries decrease the amount of ionized calcium thus preventing the insoluble stones.
One point of note is that fresh cranberry juice should always be used. Many cranberry drinks and cocktails can include added sugars or artificial sweeteners which lowers the cranberry level of antioxidants.
According to the Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, cranberries should be chosen with fresh, plump and firm appearance. Unwashed cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for several months, although when they show signs of moisture they should be removed from the refrigerator. If you freeze your cranberries, they will keep for several years.
Here is a great recipe from Elana’s Pantry for Cranberry Coconut Power Bars (Paleo Friendly)
- 1 cup hemp seeds
- ½ cup golden flaxmeal
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup coconut butter
- 1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla stevia
- ⅛ teaspoon celtic sea salt
- In a food processor, pulse together hemp, flax, and cranberries
- Pulse in coconut butter, shredded coconut, salt and stevia
- Press mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish
- Refrigerate for 2 hours until firm
Makes 25 bars