Cranberries, a fruitful and colorful additive

Add fresh or dried cranberries to recipes and brighten your holiday table.

Cranberries are a fruit that add color and flavor to many tables. It is a plant that is native to North America. Although there are claims to its health benefits, the best claim is that it is a natural fruit with flavor that can tantalize a taste bud. Cranberries are grown on a bush in bogs. Cranberries are harvested in the fall of the year by flooding the bog. The cranberry farm then uses a machine similar to a combine that spins, beating the water and bushes to loosen the berries. The berries float to the top. They are then collected, sorted and sent to the appropriate location for various processes.

Cranberries are traditionally used as a side dish at the table with poultry. In recent years, drying them has become popular as it allows them to be kept in our cupboards so we can have them more often. Juice is another way to use cranberries. It is a fruit that needs little or no sugar. Like any other food item, juice portion control needs to be considered when consuming cranberries - it is recommended that ¼ cup of dried cranberries is a serving size.

Michigan State University Extension suggests making a fresh cranberry sauce for a festive look on the holiday table. There are many recipes for fresh cranberry sauce. When using any fruit, thoroughly wash the fruit under running water before preparing it for use. Clean, washed, rinsed and sanitized utensils and cutting boards should be used when making any fresh recipe.

The uses for cranberries seem to be endless. When dried they can be added to salads, cookies, dressings, cheeses and much more. Cranberries can also be canned whole as a sauce, used in chutney or even jam. The cranberry is a fruit with which you can use your imagination. Be brave this holiday season and try adding some new color to a recipe using this versatile fruit.

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