cranberries

Sayonara salads, howdy hearty soups. Well, not necessarily, but autumn brings with it the richness and depth of the season’s harvest (and a hankering after full-bodied red wines with it!), all meant to warm the body and soul while keeping us healthy. The vivid colors of fall’s produce are loaded with phytonutrients to protect your system, so be sure to take advantage of their fleshy, dense goodness.

Today, we’re touting the cranberry. This year, don’t let cranberries be relegated to a canned side dish at Thanksgiving dinner, we beg of you.

Cranberries are just one of autumn’s offerings that should go on your farmers market list, especially because we think they’re a little under-appreciated. Side note you may or may not find interesting: The craneberry gets its name from the small, pink blossoms that appear on the plant in the spring resembling the head and bill of a Sandhill crane.

This healthy, low-calorie fruit which gets most of its recognition owing to cranberry juice’s wonders for preventing urinary tract infections, has many another health benefit. Containing anthocyanins – which are responsible for its beautiful color – heart-healthy antioxidants make cranberries an awesome natural healing agent that also have been proven to reduce the risk of gum disease, ulcers, heart disease and cancer.

Only about 10% of the commercial crop is sold fresh – and now is the time. Fresh cranberries can be too tart all on their own, but getting creative with recipes showcasing the tangy sweetness of this scarlet ball has rainy-day time written all over it. Here are two Organic Authority fall recipes to get you started.

Organic Cranberry Pomegranate Persimmon Relish 
Organic Cranberry, Pomegranate, Persimmon Relish

Makes 3-4 cups

Ingredients:

6 cups fresh organic cranberries
1 1/2 cups organic brown sugar
9 tablespoons of pomegranate concentrate
9 tablespoons of fresh organic lime juice
2 firm-ripe organic Fuyu persimmons (about 1 lb total), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 – 2 cups of fresh organic pomegranate seeds
Zest from one organic orange

Method:

In a small saucepan, combine fresh cranberries, brown sugar, and lime juice. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Continue to cook until the mixture is thick and the berries are glazed and smashed. Allow to cool. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed. Fold in pomegranate seeds and then persimmons. Sprinkle relish with orange zest.

Organic Cranberry Tea Spice Cake

Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups organic unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/2 cup ground blanched almonds
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh organic cranberries, coarsely chopped. Frozen cranberries will also work.
1 3/4 cups sifted unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup dried organic cranberries
Powdered sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Using an electric mixer beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add yolks and egg 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in almonds and vanilla.
  3. Mix cranberries and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine flour and spice in medium bowl.
  4. Stir fresh (or frozen) cranberries and dried cranberries into butter mixture. Add flour mixture and stir until well combined. Spoon batter into ungreased 7 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Smooth top with offset spatula. Bake until top of cake is golden and center of cake is firm, about 55 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.
  5. To serve, sift powdered sugar over top of cake. Remove rim from pan and transfer cake to platter.

image: Pretty in Print