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Did you know that British Columbia is the 3rd largest cranberry growing region in the world? And that there are three different cranberry harvests? White, Fresh and Red. They are used for different commercial productions but the ones you see most prominently are the red ones. And those are being harvested right now – in mid September, so that they are ready for you to add to your Thanksgiving feast.
Here is what you need to know about cranberries:
How to Choose Your Cranberries:
Fresh cranberries are available in stores until December – but they are also present in the frozen form. When choosing fresh cranberries, check that they are plump and vary in colour from rich pink to crimson. Watch so that they are not shrivelled or have brown spots. And as far as dried cranberries go – the come lightly sweetened (e.i. brand name such as craisins) or unsweetened and they resemble large raisins.
How to Store Cranberreis:
Fresh, unwashed cranberries can be stored in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Frozen ones will keep up to 18 months and believe it or not – dried cranberries will be good for up to 2 years at room temperature and tightly sealed container.
How to Prepare Cranberries:
First, pick through your cranberries to remove stems and leaves and rinse them in a colander. Dried cranberries can be used as they come – they do not require additional preparation or cleaning before use. Fresh cranberries have to be cooked before eating – so find a recipe and make your delicious fresh cranberry dish.
How to Cook Cranberries:
They are tart, so the flavour will work in both – sweet and savory recipes. You can make chutney, stuffing, muffins, cakes or cobblers – they also pair well with citrus flavours like orange or lemon. And are a great flavour addition to white chocolate as well as rosemary, garlic and balsamic vinegar.
Benefits of Cranberries:
Whether you use fresh or dried cranberries, they are great addition to your dietary fibre. Additionally, they are an excellent source of vitamin C. Consuming cranberries has been proven to prevent urinary tract infections – they contain PAC (proanthocyanidins) which inhibit the adhesion of bacteria to the inside of the urinary tract. And -0 cranberries also serve as a good source of supplemental antioxidants, protecting our bodies from harmful molecules that we are exposed to in our everyday lives.
Hope you have enjoyed this information – please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!