I love cranberries – pretty much any way you want to give them to me, so long as they’re not out of a can! Native to North America, many consider cranberries to be a superfood due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. Nutritionally, cranberries are high in Vitamins C & B, and contain fiber, magnesium, calcium, potassium and several other vitamins and minerals. And of course, they taste great! They can be added to your favorite zucchini or banana bread recipe, muffins, savory dressing (it isn’t just for the holidays, you know!), oatmeal, desserts…well, the options are endless!
A 2019 systematic review found that adding cranberries to one’s diet can help with managing several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including systolic blood pressure (the top number), which is the blood pressure during a contraction of the heart muscle. It also found that cranberry helped reduce body mass index and improve levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” kind of cholesterol). Also, the antioxidant proanthocyanidins found in cranberries may benefit oral health by preventing bacteria in the mouth from attaching to the tooth surface.
I have a cranberry recipe to share with you which incorporates rosehips from the garden (my cranberry bushes are too new to have fruit, but they’re coming!). This simple yet complex recipe was new to me this year, and comes from one of the most interesting chefs I have been following in the last couple of years – Sean Sherman, a James Beard award-winning Lakota chef, and author of The Sioux Chef’s indigenous kitchen. His recipe for traditional cranberry wojape caught my eye because it combines two of my favorite things: cranberries and rosehips. It takes <30 minutes to prepare, but the results are complex and rich. This is delicious drizzled over wild rice. Check it out – and look for his book!
- 4 cups water
- 8 ounces fresh cranberries
- 2 ounces rosehips, seeded and dried
- 3 fluid ounces maple syrup
1. Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth, being very careful of hot liquid.
3. Continue to simmer until sauce coats back of spoon or desired consistency.
4. Cool, serve, and enjoy!
Check out a podcast featuring Chef Sean Sherman.
Cranberries: Benefits, nutrition, and risks.
Pourmasoumi M, Hadi A, Najafgholizadeh A, Joukar F, Mansour-Ghanaei F. The effects of cranberry on cardiovascular metabolic risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Nutr. 2020 Mar;39(3):774-788. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2019.04.003. Epub 2019 Apr 11. PMID: 31023488.
Sherman, S. Cranberry wojape.
Sherman, S., & Dooley, B. (2017). The Sioux Chef’s indigenous kitchen. MN: Univ. of Minnesota Press.