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The official website of Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, low carb pioneers and authors of Protein Power.

The Cranberry: It isn't just for turkey anymore.

In a blog a couple of days ago on the health benefits of cranberries I spoke of adding more of this antioxidant-filled, low-carb gem of a berry to the diet. I mentioned, as well, that for many people, the cranberry sadly makes only one or two appearances a year on the dinner table, perched atop the turkey and dressing on the holiday luncheon plate, usually in the form of jellied cranberry sauce (a concoctiion that I cannot abide, but, for reasons utterly unintelligible to me, my brother adores.)

What he can enjoy about that high-fructose-corn-syrup-sweetened glop that slides out of a can, still bearing its imprint, escapes me. Yiiiiicccccchhhh! But different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Much better, to my way of thinking, is a recipe for a bright, zingy cranberry relish that my sister shared with me. Best of all, it’s easiness personified, almost as easy, in fact, as opening the can and sliding out the glop.

Cranberry-Orange Relish
(Makes about 24 Heaping Tablespoons)

1 whole orange
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup granular Splenda

1. Remove zest from orange with a microplane or zester. Slice off the stem ends and peel away most of the pith (it’s bitter). Quarter the peeled orange. Remove any visible seeds.
2. Place orange, zest, cranberries and Splenda into a food processor fitted with a steel blade; pulse to chop to a fine mince. (It works in the blender, too, but it takes more patience, time, and persistence.)
3. Taste for sweetness, adding a bit more Splenda if needed, but not much; it should be tangy.
4. Refigerate a couple of hours, overnight if possible. (It will keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.)
5. Serve cold.

Serving size: 1 tablespoon
Protein per serving: 0 grams
ECC per serving: 2.8 grams

This relish works well as a bright, healthy condiment alongside the traditional turkey and dressing, but also pairs well with pork, chicken, duck, or game meats.

In fact, it’s pretty tasty in some unusual places, such as atop a slice of low carb buttered toast, or as a fruity addition to plain yogurt, or added to a protein smoothie. Dried cranberries make a delicious addition to an entree salad of spinach with a little fried pancetta, goat cheese, and toasted pecans or pignoli, wilted with a hot vinaigrette.

And, of course, the cranberry makes a great addition to a low-carb power muffin, about which I’ve blogged previously.

The cranberry. It isn’t just for turkey anymore.

3 Comments

  1. Esther Hoff on September 12, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    Hmmm… maybe I had better dig those bags of cranberries out of my feezer and put them to use!

    And speaking of recipes, this past weekend I made the Cinnamon Power Muffins from the cooking website and the green bean recipe with the sour cream and bacon from the 30-day solution book. So delicious! Both are keepers.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Glad you like the recipes. Get those cranberries out of the freezer and use them up. The stores will be full of them again in just a few months.

  2. mdauster on September 13, 2006 at 10:50 am

    Do you dry your cranberries yourself? I can only find sweetened “craisins” here in Connecticut. If so, how do you dry them?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: I don’t, but you certainly could. I’ve been able to find organic dried cranberries, unsweetened, at my local whole food grocery store. For a dried fruit, they’re pretty tart. Newman’s Own makes an organic dried cranberry, too, but I don’t know if it’s sweetened or not.

    I feel sure that you could do it yourself in an inexpensive air dehydrator, though. I purchased a plastic multishelf dehydrator at K-Mart (I think) several years ago for about $24.95 to use for making jerky, but it great for fruit, too, according to the instruction booklet. You could probably even sweeten the home dried ones a little bit with stevia, Splenda, xylitol or erythritol, too. And you might want to chope them in half first, to facilitate the drying out since their skins are so shiny and impervious.

  3. scott123 on September 18, 2006 at 7:24 am

    Splenda or stevia, by themselves, would be problematic for drying cranberries. Because of their lack of sugary bulk, they provide no preservation/moisture activity reduction. Without this preservation, the berries would have to be dried quite a bit more than traditional dried cranberries or they’d spoil. This would result in a tough, hard, end product rather than a moist, plump, chewy one.

    Xylitol and erythritol would be problematic as well. Although they would make an excellent sweet syrup for soaking the berries in, as the berry dried, the liquid would become more concentrated and the sugar alcohols would precipitate out/crystallize. Both xylitol and erythritol have a strong cooling effect and taste strange in their granular/crystallized form.

    Polydextrose would be ideal for preserving dried cranberries as it’s substantial molecular weight is very effective at curtailing water acivity. I haven’t tried it yet, but from the research I’ve done, this is my working recipe:

    Wash cranberries, slice in half
    Simmer gently for a few minutes in a thick splenda sweetened polyd syrup
    Drain well
    Dehydrate in a single layer until raisin-textured
    Lightly spray with aerosol oil

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Sounds promising; thanks for all the well-thought-out technical info. When you try it, let me know how it works and then, with your kind permission, we’ll put it up on a blog of its own, so others may enjoy who might miss it if it’s buried only in the comments.

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