Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and nothing tastes better than turkey with all the trimmings! Creamy mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and homemade stuffing are some of our favorite holiday go-to dishes, but let’s not forget about other delicious (and nutritious!) sides that make our feasts complete.
Cranberries are a favorite part of Thanksgiving celebrations, consumed as cranberry sauce, cranberry drinks, and dried cranberries added to stuffing, casseroles or dessert. Cranberries are a rich source of antioxidants and other vitamins including A, C, and K. They are often referred to as a “super food”, and half a cup of cranberries has only 25 calories.
Cranberries are high in fiber, so consuming fiber-rich foods can significantly lower your risk for developing a range of health conditions, including coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increased fiber intake has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss.
Fresh cranberries are harvested in September and October, so fall is the best time to get them in season. They can be refrigerated for up to 2 months (perfect timing for Thanksgiving!), and they can be frozen for later use. Cranberries should be firm to the touch and unwrinkled. It’s ok to buy them dried or in a can, just be sure to look for food labels without added sugars.
Add some zing to your Thanksgiving cranberry relish with this easy recipe:
- 1 12-ounce bag cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1-2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Combine cranberries, lime zest, lime juice, jalapeno to taste, onion, sugar, oil and salt in a food processor.
- Pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Let stand until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving dish, cover, and refrigerate until cold. Serve and enjoy!