It’s no wonder why cranberries are a staple of holiday cooking and eating, since they are freshest and in season September through December.
There is no food more quintessentially New England than the cranberry, documentation from Ocean Spray even suggests that the first commercial cranberry harvest took place in Dennis, Massachusetts in 1816. Not only are cranberries one of only three berries native to the U.S. (blueberries and Concord grapes are the other two), it is also considered a superfood full of antioxidants and rich in vitamin C and fiber.
Eating foods with antioxidants in them are believed to protect the body from “free radicals”, which are cells that have been damaged. Composed of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, the antioxidants help repair the damage to cells that free radicals have gotten a hold of and helps keep your immune system strong. Cranberries are higher in antioxidants than almost all other fruits and vegetables out there (outranking cherries, red grapes, and broccoli)!
I prefer eating my antioxidants in the form of baked goods, don’t you? Try this tasty cranberry bread recipe from the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association:
- 1/2 C. Butter
- 1 Tbs. Grated Orange Peel
- 3 Large Eggs, Beaten
- 2 1/2 C. Flour
- 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
- 2 C. Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, Chopped
- 1 C. Sugar
- 1Tsp. Vanilla
- 3/4 C. Buttermilk
- 1/4 Tsp. Salt
- 3/4 C. Pecans, Chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray bottom only of 9″ X 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. Beat butter, sugar, orange peel and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine flour, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed just until blended. Fold cranberries and nuts into batter. Turn into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool slightly in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.