Over the festive season it’s a good idea to try and include some of your own homemade food from fresh, organic ingredients. One of the easiest Christmas dinner accompaniments to make, and one of the most nutritious, is cranberry sauce. So, instead of buying a jar off the shelf, why not have a go at making your own!
Cranberries contain a variety of important nutrients and are excellent sources of:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K, vitamin E
- Important phytonutrients, including: phenolic acids, proanthocyanins, flavonoids and anthocyanins.
The antioxidant level in cranberries is one of the highest of most fruit and vegetables and is thought to be higher than levels found in apples, raspberries, strawberries, broccoli, cherries and red grapes.
Cranberries are thought to offer an array of health benefits, including heart health, healthy skin and gastrointestinal health. Cranberries are also believed to contain anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and are well known for helping to relieve kidney and bladder issues. They are also thought to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good (HDL).
Cranberries boost fertility by helping to cleanse the urinary tract, including the kidneys. Strong, healthy kidneys are important in order to be able to conceive naturally. Cranberries help by preventing bacteria from sticking to the bladder and kidneys.
Other than at Christmas in a sauce, cranberries can be enjoyed throughout the whole year; try drinking cranberry juice regularly, adding dried cranberries to your cereal in the morning, or to salads and some meat dishes.
Easy fresh cranberry sauce
250 ml water
12 oz fresh cranberries
Squeeze of orange juice
Feel free to add a little of your own favourite fresh ingredients … a small cup of blueberries, a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice, or the juice and zest of an orange.
- Wash the cranberries.
- In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cranberries burst. Now you can add any of your own extras to the mix.
- Remove from heat. Cool at room temperature and then place in the fridge. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
Please note: Due to the oxalates in cranberries, people taking or about to start taking Warfarin or those with kidney stone issues or potential calcium oxalate kidney stone formation may wish to check with their GP or healthcare provider before consuming cranberries or drinking cranberry juice.
Further interesting reading:
Blumberg et al (2013) Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health. Adv Nutr vol. 4: 618-632.
Côté J, Caillet S, Doyon G et al (2010). Bioactive compounds in cranberries and their biological properties. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr.; 50(7):666-79.