How to Celebrate Cranberry Month
image by Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons,Cranberry Institute
October is National Cranberry Month. The cranberry is an amazing fruit native to North America. Cranberries are high in antioxidants that help protect against heart disease and cancer. The berries protect against urinary infections and may help protect against bacteria that cause ulcers and gum disease. The tart and tangy flavor makes the cranberry a year-round favorite. Here are easy ways for you to celebrate the cranberry.
Have fun with cranberry juice. Cranberry juice itself is an acquired taste. If it's too tart for you, try blending it with blueberry, raspberry or grape juice to tone down the tangy berry. Use cranberry-juice blends for homemade popsicle treats. Freeze cranberry juice in ice-cube trays, then use the frozen cubes in punches, iced lemonade and iced tea. Make gelatin salads and fruit compotes with cranberry juice partly replacing water or other liquid.
Decorate with cranberries in a vase. For a festive floral vase, put roses or other flowers in a clear glass vase, add water and drop in cranberries to hold the flowers upright. For the holidays, put fresh cranberries in a clear jar or vase and add an upright evergreen sprig or holly branch. Add water to cover berries.
Make a holiday centerpiece with cranberries. Choose a shallow tray or bowl. Use a plastic liner or nestle the berries on evergreen branches to protect against stains. Line the tray with evergreens and cranberries. Tuck holiday bows or ornaments among the cranberries. Add votive candles or small pinecones.
Tour a cranberry harvest. Cranberries are harvested from September through October. Tours at cranberry farms are often free and feature a trip through the warehouse and the cranberry marsh. Cranberry bogs attract wildlife, so you may see deer, moose, herons and raccoons.
Visit a cranberry festival. Enjoy cranberry food, crafts and treats. Recipe books, shirts and decorations fill vendor booths. Festivals like the Wisconsin Cranfest draw over 100,000 visitors a year. They offer bog tours, parades and contests. Proceeds often go for community preservation and charitable projects.
Open a can of cranberry sauce. Use a knife to gently loosen the sauce. If it does not slide out easily, use a can opener to make a hole in the bottom of the can. The sauce will slide right out. Slice it for a condiment to turkey or chicken dinners. Plop a thick slice on a dessert plate and add a dollop of whipped cream for quick individual desserts. Use leftover jellied sauce as a spread on toast or bagels.
Whether you drink, eat, tour or craft with the cranberry, enjoy your salute to this native American fruit.