The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 24, 2013

Five reasons (and a recipe) to eat those leftover cranberries

Q: I have some leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving and would love some ideas on how to use them up. Do you have any recommendations?

A: Cranberries are often thought of as a “Thanksgiving” food, but these small, nutrient powerhouses are a great addition to any meal. Add chopped cranberries to pancakes, muffins and lettuce salads for a bright, nutrient-dense kick. Try sprucing up your home décor by adding cranberries to a vase filled with your favorite flowers or floating candle. Freeze cranberries into ice cubes or add to your glass of water for an ever-so-slight tangy addition.

Five reasons to eat cranberries:

1. Cranberries have unique health benefits from naturally occurring compounds called proanthocyanidins (PACs), which may help prevent urinary tract infections, stomach ulcers and gum disease.

2. Cranberries contain some of the highest amounts of flavonoids, which may help promote circulation and maintain heart health.

3. New studies have found cranberries may help boost a healthy immune system.

4. One cup of fresh, chopped cranberries has fivegrams of fiber and is a good source of vitamin C.

5. Enjoy cranberries in a variety of forms – fresh, dried and juice. A one-cup serving of fruit equals 1 cup fresh, ½-cup dried or ½-cup 100 percent cranberry juice.

April Graff, MS, RD, LD, is a reg­istered dietitian at both Mankato Hy-Vee stores and can be reached at AGraff@hy-vee.com or call 625-1107 or 625-9070. Send her ques­tions about food and nutrition, recipes, meal planning and healthy shopping.

Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip All you need 1 (12 oz) bag Ocean Spray fresh cranberries 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed and seeded ½ cup sugar ¼ cup cranberry sauce 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 1 teaspoon orange zest ¼ cup chopped green onion 1/8 - ¼ teaspoon ground cumin Pinch salt 2 (8 oz each) packages light cream cheese, softened Whole-grain crackers, for serving All you do In a food processor, chop cranberries and jalapeno pepper to a fine dice. Add sugar, Walden Farm cranberry sauce, orange juice, orange zest, onion, cumin and salt. Pulse to combine. Pour mixture in bowl, cover and place in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. Spread softened cream cheese into a large rimmed dish or 9-inch pie plate. Top cream cheese with cranberry-jalapeno mixture. Cover and place in refrigerator 2 hours. Serve with crackers.

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