Native to North America, cranberries (or “crane berries” after the birds which frequent the bogs) have been enjoyed by Native Americans for generations. They were originally called i-bimi (bitter berry) because they are quite tart. Pounded into a paste, they were mixed with pemmican. As a supplement, the berries are used to support urinary tract health and are available in capsule form. Cranberries are an important commercial crop in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Wisconsin and the season is late fall into early winter.
Your introduction to this nutritious berry was probably that sweet jellied side dish served at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Some swear it must be served as jelly, while others demand that it be a loose berry compote. Either way, it has become an expected part of the holiday meal. But holiday cranberry sauce is just the beginning. Dried berries may be added to cookies and trail mix. You can store a bag or two (or many) in the freezer to jazz up muffins and baked goods all through the year.
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A recipe for oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chunk cookies, many other yummies, and a downloadble recipe book are available from Ocean Spray.
Fresh cranberries are available at your local grocery store. Pick up a few bags and store them in the freezer.
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