Friday, November 13, 2009

Cranberries, Superfood?

Ironically – despite my love of the kidney that I discussed yesterday. I recently had a relatively serious kidney infection. Why you ask? Because I am an idiot. Greater consumption of alcohol and coffee than water, and general lack of taking care of my body.

In the process of attempting to cure my Kidney Infection I tried every at home remedy possible to fix myself including drinking baking soda in water, drinking tons and tons of water in general, vitamin c, Airshield (CVS brand Airborne), and of course, Cranberry Juice, and even cranberry supplements.

In general, I am rather anti supplement and believe that more benefits are extracted from eating the whole food, but after suffering the pain of a UTI, I was ready to try anything, so heck, I'll give Super Cranberry a try and see how I fare from now on.

In the end, I had to give in an go to the doctor and be on antibiotics—however, I will definitely not knock the healing power of some of the more natural remedies, especially as preventative measures.

Today I specifically want to focus on the Cranberry! After all it is fall and cranberries are in season, and furthermore, I am a New Englander, and cranberries are a native crop. Heck, Cranberry World is even in Massachusetts (its pretty awesome if you ever happen to be in Plymouth)

Cranberries are, of course, a fruit, and therefore contain antioxidants and phytochemicals which offer the body many benefits. However, due to their tart taste they are rarely consumed as is. Cranberry juice is one of the main ways people consume these magical berries.

Cranberries are very well known for their benefits in urinary tract health, and I’m sure, in particular any girl who has ever had a urinary tract infection, has been told to drink cranberry juice.

There is also research that shows that cranberries are useful in preventing asthma attacks, improving circulation, reducing cholesterol, and preventing ulcers!

So while cranberries are in season, eat and drink up!

For One idea on how to utilize cranberries, try out this stuffing recipe:

** I would like to cite the source of these recipes, but I have no idea... we made them last year at the BU Nutrition Club, if any one has any idea, let me know**

Cranberry-Mushroom Stuffing

Makes 8 servings (200 calories each)

1 tsp. barley malt sweetner

2 cups water

2 Tbsp. honey

1 ½ cups fresh cranberries or thawed frozen cranberries

½ loaf Cinnamon-Orange Poppy Seed bread (see below)

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 ½ Tbsp. chopped fresh sage, or 1 tsp. dried

1 celery stalk, cut into ¼ inch dice

2 pounds small mushrooms, quartered

1 egg, beaten

½ cup nonfat milk

½ cup coarsely chopped pecans

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the barley malt sweetener, water, and honey. Stir in the cranberries and let stand for 2 hours.

2. To make croutons, preheat the oven to 200F. Trim the crust off the bread and cut into ½ inch cubes. Spread out the cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool.

3. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the onions and sauté over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sage and celery and toss to combine. Remove from heat, add the mushrooms and toss again. Set aside to cool.

4. Mix together the egg and milk. Strain the cranberries and discard the liquid.

5. In a large bowl toss the croutons with the onion-mushroom mixture. Add the cranberries and pecans and toss again. Add the egg mixture and toss for 30 seconds and serve.

Cinnamon-Orange Poppy Seed Bread.

Makes one 8” loaf (124 calories per ½ inch slice)

1 ¼ cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour

½ cup raw sesame seeds

2 Tbsp. noninstant nonfat dry milk

2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

1 ½ Tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs lightly beaten

¼ cup honey

¼ cup fresh orange juice

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled.

2 Tbsp almond oil or other cold-pressed vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350F

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, sesame seeds, dry milk, poppy seeds, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir until well blended.

3. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir into the dry mixture. Mix just until blended. Spoon the batter into an 8 inch nonstick loaf pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool and serve. (or use in stuffing).

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