Cranberries are in season October through December and are always a favorite during the holidays. Cranberries are are richly hued, rich in flavor and rich in nutrients. In fact, cranberries have some of the highest antioxidant levels among edible berries.

In addition, cranberries are:

  • Rich in phytonutrients, especially proanthocyanin, which protects against inflammation, bacterial infections, and may even lower the risk of cancer.
  • Cranberries are also good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and the minerals potassium and manganese.
  • Cranberries can reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal infections and may even help prevent tooth decay.

When choosing cranberries, look for berries that are bright red, plump and free from blemishes or soft spots.  To ensure you get the maximum health benefits, choose fresh or dried cranberries or cranberry juice made with 100% fruit juice.  Cranberry drinks with added sugars contain the least amount of antioxidants, and provide a lot of empty calories.

Fresh cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator in their original plastic bag for about 2 weeks. According to Ocean Spray, you can also freeze your cranberries in that bag for up to a year, with no need to thaw them prior to using them in your favorite recipe, just be sure rinse them first.

To show you how fresh cranberries are easy and nutritious, I’ve provided a simple yet elegant cranberry recipe for you to try:

Easy & Elegant Cranberry Sauce Recipe

12-oz. pkg. whole cranberries
1½ cups sugar
2 tsp. grated orange peel
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup water

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 1½-quart baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a bowl, combine all ingredients well. Pour into the prepared baking dish, cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover; stir and bake an additional 30 minutes or until the cranberries pop and the mixture is slightly thickened.

You can serve this delicious cranberry sauce warm or cold, by itself or as a topping.