Updated: December 15, 2012 6:02AM
The cranberry is a little, red tart fruit with a big punch. Wisconsin produces more of this power-packed berry than any other state. In fact, the cranberry is Wisconsin’s official state fruit. It is also the state’s No. 1 fruit crop, both in acres planted and in the industry’s valuable contribution to the state’s economy.
The cranberry, once called “crane berry” by settlers because of its blossom’s resemblance to the sandhill crane, is best known for its place on the Thanksgiving table. But, the fruit has become a year-round favorite, and is making its way into everything from summer salads and jams, to trail mix and cookies. Learn more about the versatility of the cranberry in the kitchen, and even better — how the cranberry is good for you!
Cranberries pack a powerful — and healthy — punch! Recent studies show that the tart, red berry is a unique, good-for-you fruit that offers a wide variety of health benefits. Not only are cranberries a healthy, low-calorie snack, but they can also play a significant role in preventing urinary tract infections, reducing the risk of gum disease and much more.
Other cranberry health facts:
• Cranberries and cranberry products contain significant amounts of antioxidants that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
• Cranberries may be beneficial in the prevention of ulcers, which are linked to stomach cancer and acid reflux disease.
• Cranberries contain hippuric acid, which has antibacterial effects on the body, as well as natural antibiotic ingredients.
Cranberry Wild Rice Salad
Makes 10-12 servings
1 cup wild rice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Cook wild rice in 4 cups water until almost done, about 45 minutes. Drain well; cool. Add remaining salad ingredients.
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 cup white vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
Sugar and salt to taste
Combine dressing ingredients, add to salad, and mix together.
First-place winner in the 2011 Wisconsin State Fair
4 to 41/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 envelopes rapid rise yeast
2 teaspoons salt
11/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (3.5 oz.) package sweetened, dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, dry milk, undissolved yeast and salt. Heat water and butter until very warm (120 to 130 degrees F). Gradually add to dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in cranberries, pecans and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
Roll dough into 12-by-8 inch rectangle. Beginning from short end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Place, seam side down, in greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Cover, let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.
Sparkling Cranberry Sauce
Makes 21/2 cups
1 pound (4 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Crush some of the cranberries with a potato masher.