Cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving. There are quite a few reasons, and seasons, that I love cranberries.
First, studies show that they’re great for the heart. It turns out that the bioactive compounds found in cranberries may help maintain a healthy heart by improving blood cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, and decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress.
Second, cranberries are a natural way to help prevent recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) — perhaps the most uncomfortable health ailment a woman (or man) can face. Results from a large clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2016, showed that cranberry juice reduced symptomatic UTIs by almost 40 percent in women with a recent history of UTIs.
If you have a history of UTIs, consume more cranberry products, including juice, sauce, and dried and fresh berries themselves.
And I love that cranberry products, including cranberry juice cocktail, dried cranberries and sauces, offer the same health benefits of fresh cranberries.
Given cranberries’ unique health properties and cooking versatility, here are some ways for you to enjoy cranberries no matter what time of year — starting right now, with grilling season.
Summer Salad. Toss some dried cranberries into a salad. I love a simple salad of greens, diced Granny Smith apples, sliced red onion, walnuts, and a whole lot of dried cranberries.
Summer Spritzer. Summer is a time for cocktails, but they don’t have to be alcoholic. I love mixing 3/4 cups of cranberry juice cocktail with a cup of seltzer water for a big, delicious summer spritzer.
On the Grill. You read that right — I love using cranberries on the grill. It takes just one recipe, a cranberry barbecue sauce. This may be time-consuming, but it keeps for weeks in the refrigerator, so you can reuse it. I have also provided a simpler recipe for the busy bees out there; a cranberry glaze. You can slather either on almost any meat choice and impress your guests. They’re especially yummy on chicken and pork tenderloin. It’s sweet and delicious.
Cranberry Barbecue Sauce
- 6 cups of frozen cranberries
- 2 cups of water
-1 cup of vegetable broth
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 teaspoon of Paprika
-1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoon of garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon of minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon of orange zest
Directions. Boil all ingredients but the last two in a stock pot for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to 1/3. Use an immersion blender to blend or place in small batches in a standard blender. Strain the puree through a mesh strainer. Stir in the ginger and orange zest and voila. Store in refrigerator for up to three weeks and use whenever you’d like.
Cranberry Glaze. Here’s my recipe for busy bees. Grill chicken breasts or meat of choice simply sprinkled with salt and pepper. While meat is grilling, whip up this glaze.
- 1 can of jellied cranberry sauce
- 2 teaspoons of cumin
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of dried cilantro
Directions. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until you have created a smooth glaze. If you would like some heat, you can add a diced jalapeno pepper to this recipe!
Try these recipes this summer and I guarantee you will see how versatile cranberries are and how they can add so much deliciousness to your summer barbeques.
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