There are two kinds of people in this world; the kind that think cranberries are just for Christmas and the kind that have some sense. I totally have this Valentine’s Day locked up for ya with a round up of heart healthy cranberry recipes and some tips on how to cook with them.
Are cranberries heart healthy?
Cranberries are enormously good for you ; not only are they heart healthy, but they cleanse and restore on many levels being full of phytonutrients (good parts of the berry that make you healthy) that have antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Being heart healthy is just one of their good points. Unfortunately, this berry is most often drunk after the juice has been removed from the pulp and seeds (where much of the health benefits reside) and then saturated with sugar, corn syrup and/or fake sugars like Sucralose (the sugar free versions). Consuming something in its whole form is usually better and cranberries are no exception – if we want the full heart healthy, body healthy benefits of cranberries, we need to eat them whole. Which is not hard to do with a few quality recipes – so stay tuned!
I tried dehydrating cranberries for the first time last year and it was a bit of a flop, or so I thought. I wanted to dry my own because I love using dried cranberries like raisins when I’m baking but I don’t like all the garbage white sugar (or worse) in which commercial cranberries come doused. I couldn’t find my dehydrating book and so I just tossed them into the dehydrator, saying, “Hey, how hard can it be?” If I’d found my book, I would have popped the skins of the cranberries by blanching them before dehydrating them and then I wouldn’t have totally forgotten about them after I put them in to dehydrate. Instead of chewy cranberries, I got cranberries that were bone dry and still round – like blimped up Red Hots with attitude. Modern Survival Blog will tell you how to get good results dehydrating cranberries the correct way so you wont make the same mistake. Then again, maybe you want to.
The neat thing about my too dry cranberries was that they were dry enough to powder in my Vitamix, which I did. This made them so easy to dump into pancakes, waffles, coffee cakes, cookies and biscuits. I have loved having dried cranberry powder on hand. Here is a happy child eating the Happy Valentine’s Day chocolate, cranberry pancakes we made.
Hearth Healthy Cranberry, Chocolate Pancakes
You don’t need a recipe – get your favorite healthy pancake mix (in our house its a gluten free one so Mommy can eat it, too), mix in some cranberry powder, add a few tablespoons of quality cocoa and mix it all up as per your pancake recipe, adding eggs and milk and stuff. You can add a bit of raw sugar, too, or you can just wait and sweeten your fried chocolate, cranberry pancakes with raw, powdered sugar or Grade B Maple syrup. How much cranberry powder to add depends on how much batter you’re whipping up. I would say use 3 tablespoons of cranberry powder for every cup of pancake mix to start – cranberries can be tart so experiment until you find an amount you like. I usually put in 1/4 (around 4 tablespoons) for every cup of mix.
Fry your heart healthy cranberry, chocolate pancakes in your favorite heart shaped cookie cutter (non plastic!) and you have a simple, special breakfast for your valentine.
Heart Healthy Cranberry Recipes for Valentine’s Day
Lest we think that Valentine’s Day is all about gorging ourselves on corn syrup and preservatives and lest we assume cranberries are just for breakfast, witness the marvel of the cranberry:
Mom Prepares shares her cranberry sauce recipe – nothing wrong with a classic – and so does Untrained Housewife and Homespun Seasonal Living . Mom Prepares also teaches you how to dry cranberries in your slow cooker (you can omit the tin foil, if you’d like).
So, you need dinner for your valentine? Well, Pantry Paratus has so worked that out for you – Buttered Fish in Homemade Cranberry Sauce.
The Untrained Housewife tells you how to create potpourri with your cranberries to refresh and cleanse the air in your home. I get so tired of that nasty stuffiness that takes over after Christmas is done.
I love cobblers. I swear I’d eat shoe cobbler if you made it tasty enough. No shoes, but here’s a cranberry cobbler from Simply Living Simply. Wait, another one from Simply Living Simply – cranberry baked brie. Where are those GF crackers I had stashed?!
You really, really want to add cranberries to your stuffing at any holiday, believe me. Simply Living Simply will back me up on that – here’s her recipe. Oh and here’s another one with cranberry stuffing vamping up a pork tenderloin by Homestead Chronicles – um, wow.
Of course, if you prefer cranberry lemon drop biscuits by Schneider Peeps or grain free cranberry orange muffins from Well Fed Family, we can oblige you there, too. Oh, oh, how about a gluten free cranberry quick loaf by Joybilee Farms using coconut flour?! Oh, and Cranberry Tipsy Banana Bread for those who like a nip with something sweet, also from Simply Living Simply.
And, of course, from Homestead Lady – How to make cranberry punch! Plus, here’s a fun picture of a cranberry craft made with water, cranberries and pine needles frozen in a bundt pan to make a heart healthy treat for the birds to peck at – you can also add bird seed.
Last, but not least, is the best pie ever by Blue Viola Farm with, you guessed it, heart healthy cranberry decked out in her finest.
How do you get your heart healthy cranberry intake up this time of year?
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