Cranberries — More Than Holiday Fare

I get a kick out of that Ocean Spray television commercial that shows two guys in waders named Henry and Justin who are knee-high in cranberries and are boasting the berries benefits.

I’m sure most of us have had our share of cranberries over the years, albeit at the holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know that every Thanksgiving dinner that we’ve hosted in the past 10 years, my mom has brought over cranberries and Therese has made a cranberry salad.

But cranberries now are mainstream. You find them in everything from juice to salads to cookies. The cookies my mom makes with cranberries are a great snack. Mom calls them her low-cholesterol cookies because they also contain oatmeal.

Cranberries, like oatmeal, are good for you, too. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, a very good source of dietary fiber and a good source of manganese and vitamin K.
They’re also loaded with antioxidants, which eat up those no-good free radicals in our body that cause cell damage.

Cranberries long have been used to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections, and recent studies suggest that they also may promote gastrointestinal and oral health, prevent the formation of kidney stones, lower LDL and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, aid in stroke recovery and even help prevent some types of cancer.

To get on the cranberry bandwagon, give the following pie recipe a try.

Berry Bits Cranberry Pie
3 cups Berry Bits cranberries (frozen or thawed)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 unbaked 9-inch piecrust (see note)
Topping (see recipe)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In bowl, combine berries and cornstarch. Turn into pie shell. Cover edge of pie with foil or pie shield. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake additional 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare topping.
After the 25 minutes, remove pie from oven, remove foil or pie shield, sprinkle evenly with topping and bake 20 minutes longer. Let cool on rack to room temperature before serving.
Note: Frozen prepared piecrust can be used; no need to thaw before using. Bake 30 minutes instead of 25 before adding the topping.

1/3 cup (2/3 stick) butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
¾ cup flour
In bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
Yield: Serves 8.