Harvest of the Month: Cranberries

You may be surprised to learn that cranberries have a reputation far beyond the Thanksgiving table or Christmas tree. These bright berries have health benefits ranging from the ability to prevent recurrent UTIs to reducing systemic inflammation throughout the body. Cranberries have powerful antioxidant contents, including polyphenol, whose anti-inflammatory properties fight high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcer formation, and excessive platelet buildup.

How to Select
Ripe cranberries should be a strong scarlet or fire engine red color. If the berries look golden or maroon, they are overripe. A pale pink color means they’re underripe and will be very bitter. Prime cranberries also feel very firm when squeezed, so if they feel more like grapes, they’re overripe!

How to Store
Remove shriveled, soft, or discolored cranberries before storing them, as even one damaged or rotting berry will speed up the decaying process of them all! In the refrigerator, the berries will last for 20 days; however, they can keep for over a year if you first freeze them on a baking sheet and then store them in your freezer. That way, you can enjoy a refreshing cranberry salad or snack on the nutritious superfood during the hot summer months.

How to Prepare
Again, be sure to exclude any shriveled or damaged berries before using. Thawing frozen cranberries will produce soft, delicate berries that should be used immediately. Always rinse your berries before and after storage, as well as prior to cooking with them.

Try cranberries in the recipe for Cranberry Granola Bars from All Recipes.

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