this month's featured ingredient
Crimson cranberries are tiny emblems of autumn, particularly in the American northeast. They are a staple at the Thanksgiving table. (At my house, they are served both as the traditional sauce and also as the dessert, in the same cranberry pie that appears in Fork Me, Spoon Me).
They are among North America’s native fruits and were originally named “craneberries” by the Pilgrims, who thought the plants’ blossoms resembled the bill of the Sandhill crane. By the Nineteenth Century, their popularity took off in Europe, with farmers beginning to plant the American fruit throughout Britain and Scandinavia.
Thanks to Ocean Spray, cranberries are now enjoyed year-round in juice blends, the Cape Codder cocktail and, my personal favorite, dried and served like tart raisins. However, they’re better known as an aid in fighting urinary tract infectious than as a tool in amorous pursuits.
But these glistening, red globes are packed with nutrients beneficial to sexual health. For starters, cranberries are rich in Vitamin C, which has been clinically proved to keep sex glands running. It is also a source of Vitamin A, important for reproduction, not to mention the immune system. It aids the circulatory system and is a good source of fiber (great for keeping you long, lean and ready for action).
A relative of the blueberry, cranberries are an excellent source of antioxidants. (In a recent study, cranberry juice rated among the five highest juices for antioxidant activity, right up there with grape juice and red wine). To reap the most antioxidant rewards, choose the most ripe berries you can find. A product of the ripening process is something called NNC’s, (nonfluorexcing chlorophyll catabolytes). These NNC’s are powerful antioxidants that protect the plant, (not to mention the human body, once the NNC's are ingested).
Look for the brightest, sexiest red berries and start pumping up your libido with these little rubies of fall.
I love cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries – I make it to serve throughout the year with roast chicken or pork loin. It’s one of the world’s easiest side dishes to prepare, just follow the instructions on the back of the Ocean Spray bag! (The only three ingredients are cranberries, sugar and water.)
Recently, I tried a cranberry mustard from Hop Kiln winery and it is an amazing condiment on roast turkey sandwiches. I can’t wait for those leftovers!