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Capture the benefits of cranberries

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Among the fruit group, cranberries are one of the top contenders for richest in health-promoting antioxidants.

Cranberries and cranberry juice have long been known to help prevent uterine tract infections by blocking the bacteria that latches onto the urinary tract lining. Over the past 5 years, researchers also have discovered that cranberries contain powerful anti-cancer properties, aid in digestion and help prevent stomach ulcers.

What is important to know is that cranberries, in their whole raw form, deliver the most nutrition. Cranberry extracts, which are sold in either liquid or dried supplement form, are far less superior in terms of health benefit.

Juices often remove the skin and flesh of the cranberry which contain the bulk of the phytonutrients. Therefore, finding ways to incorporate raw cranberries into your diet is worth looking into. This Thanksgiving, I did just that.

I love trying out new recipes and decided my relatives could help be the judge of my latest finding. My cranberry salsa was a huge hit and not only delivered amazing taste, but looked gorgeous with cranberry’s vibrant red color.

One family member mentioned, “Even if you don’t like cranberries, you will like the salsa!” Give it a try this holiday season. It can be served at gatherings, or presented in a jar or container as a special homemade holiday gift. 

Cranberry Salsa

Makes 4 cups salsa. 

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks

½ large red pepper, cut in large chunks

½ medium red onion, cut in large chunks

3/4 cup Splenda sugar blend

1/3 cup apple juice

3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno pepper

1 tsp grated lime zest

Put cranberries, apple, red pepper and onion in a food processor; pulse until chopped. Transfer to a large glass bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients until blended. Cover and refrigerate, or spoon into jars and refrigerate.

Serve with tortilla chips or crackers. 

Nutrition information per ¼ cup serving:

65 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 mg sodium, 1.3 g fiber, 11.7 g sugar, 0.1 g protein.

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