The Hemp Connection + recipes

Cranberries — Winter's antioxidant

I thought I'd shine a little light on one of the season's antioxidant powerhouses — cranberries. We tend to associate antioxidants with summer foods such as berries, but check out some of the things cranberries can do for you!

--They may keep ulcer-causing bacteria from attaching to the stomach lining.

--They help to prevent cancer

--They help to protect against cardiovascular disease

Cranberries contain the same antioxidant, anthocyanin, as blueberries. What is interesting about cranberries, though, is that they are grown on the water, which helps to increase their anthocyanin content. Antioxidants aren't just created for humans, they're found in plants where they are doing their protective work. You can say that in cranberries, these anthocyanins are working kind of like sunscreen does for us! And they do double duty when you eat them yourself.

Cranberries are most likely to provide the highest benefit when eaten whole (not as a sauce or in a Cape Codder)…so since most of us don't really know what to do with cranberries outside of those two things, I looked up a few cranberry recipes. The salsa recipe comes from, and the rest come from the Cape Cod Cranberry Grower's Association, where you might want to visit for even more ideas.

Here's to red food keeping us healthy!

Cranberry Salsa

1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, cut into 3 inch lengths
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 limes, juiced
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt

Combine cranberries, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno pepper, lime juice, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a medium blade. Chop to medium consistency. Refrigerate if not using immediately. Serve at room temperature.

Cranberry Almond Goat Cheese Log

Servings: 2 logs
11oz goat cheese
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 cup natural sliced almonds — divided

wax paper

Place goat cheese in food processor work bowl.

Pulse several times until cheese is crumbled.

Add orange zest and chopped dried cranberry to crumbled goat cheese. Pulse for 5 seconds, or until cheese mixture will start to form a ball.

Remove cheese mixture from work bowl and separate into two balls. Form each cheese balls into a log shape approximately 2x4 inches each.

Place half of the almonds onto a piece of wax paper. Roll one goat cheese log over almonds, covering the entire surface of the log, gently pressing to assure the almonds stick.

Repeat with the remaining second log and almonds. Wrap the logs individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. Serve on Baguette Croutes (see recipe below).

Cranberry Almond Goat Cheese Logs will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Bake until just golden, 10-12 minutes.
Transfer to a serving tray and let cool.
Spread Cranberry Almond Goat Cheese Log on Baguette Croutes and serve.

Warm Baby Spinach and Cranberry Salad

6 servings

1 package baby spinach, washed and cleaned thoroughly
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup Italian Salad Dressing
2 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
Place cleaned baby spinach in serving bowl.

Place sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil.

Add pine nuts and sauté quickly until lightly browned.

Add minced garlic and sweetened dried cranberries and stir quickly to coat with oil.

Let simmer for about 30 seconds.

Add Zesty Italian Dressing, stir, remove from heat and pour over baby spinach.

Serve immediately with entrée as a side dish.

Cranberry Couscous

4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped white onion
1 ½ cups cranberry juice cocktail, heated to a simmer
1 cup couscous
¼ cup chopped pistachios
2 scallions green parts only
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
salt and pepper (to taste)

In a medium saucepan add olive oil.

Add the white onion, sweetened dried cranberries and pistachios, and saute gently over low heat until onion is translucent and slightly fragrant.

Add the couscous and the warm cranberry juice cocktail.

Stir with a fork to combine, cover.

Let sit for 10 minutes.

Add the scallions. Fluff with fork.

Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.

Turn into serving dish.

Serve hot.

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Cranberries — Winter's antioxidant + recipes