February 21st, 2020

From Our Table: Christmas cranberries

By Joanne Smith on November 19, 2019.

SUBMITTED PHOTO
The recipe for Cranberry Salsa proved popular when it was shared a couple of years ago. Joanne Smith has shared it again in case you didn’t save it.

You are not going to believe this but Christmas Day is just a short 36 days away. Christmas parties are gearing up and you might even be starting to plan your Christmas dinner menu.

A great addition to your festivities this Christmas season, and keeping with the bright red and green color theme, is the ruby red colourful cranberrry.

It’s intense red color gives a hint to its rich and valuable nutrient content. Cranberries are in the same family as blueberries that also have an intense color telling us they are full of valuable vitamins and minerals. Cranberries are not quite as popular as blueberries but during the Christmas season their ruby red colour makes them a perfect addition to many menus and their nutritional attributes are a big bonus.

Cranberries are full of phytonutrients that actually give them their colourful appearance. These phytonutrients help the body fight off oxidation of cells which can lead to different types of cancer. They also protect the body from inflammation which can cause both acute and chronic disease such as heart disease and strokes.

Cranberries are also an excellent source of fibre which is really important for good bowel health and to help regulate blood sugars. They are also rich in vitamin C and manganese.

Research has also shown that cranberries help treat and prevent urinary tract infections.

It’s interesting to note that more than 80% of cranberry production is in North America so it’s very close to home. They are actually native to North America and have never become widely naturalized to other parts of the world. They like our soil best!

These ruby red treasures have an abundance of benefits and are a perfect plus any time but especially make a festive addition at the Christmas season.

A couple years ago I shared a delicious and beautiful cranberry recipe by Rachel Farnsworth that was given to me by my friend Natalie. She made it for a Meals for Moms meeting we had. First of all the presentation was stunning only to be outdone by the incredible flavour. Due to popular demand I’m putting the recipe in again. I’ve just had so many people in the last couple weeks ask me for it I decided to just share it with everyone.

It looks so “Christmassy” it’s the perfect dish to make for your own party or easy to transport as a guest at someone else’s seasonal celebration.

Stay relaxed and remember, ”Tis the season to be jolly!

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Cranberry Salsa originally by Rachel Farnsworth

12 ounces of fresh cranberries

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

2 minced jalapenos

1/4 cup cilantro leaves minced

2 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

1. Wash cranberries well and drain all water off. Pick through and throw away any that are soft or bruised. Put the cranberries in a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped but not mushy.

2. Put chopped cranberries into a bowl and add green onion, jalapenos, cilantro and ginger. Pour lemon juice and sugar over cranberry mixture and stir to mix together.

3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours to allow flavours to develop. It will be a bit tart to begin with but as its allowed to sit it will develop even more flavour.

4. To serve, put a half a block of cream cheese on a medium sized serving dish. Pour some of the salsa over top and serve the rest of the salsa in a small bowl beside.

I like it with rice crackers so you can fully taste the flavour of the salsa. Delicious!

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