When it comes to Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, one staple that you must never forget is cranberry sauce. However, people who want to save time usually settle for supermarket-bought cranberry sauce – the gelatinous, canned version that has no resemblance to fresh cranberries whatsoever.
Why settle for lumpy, artificially flavored and (most likely) preservative-loaded canned cranberry jelly when you can make your own delicious cranberry sauce at home? Here’s how you can take it up a notch: ferment the cranberries to bring out their natural sweetness and flavor.
This Festive Fermented Cranberries recipe is pretty simple, but the fermentation process takes a few days, so I suggest making this ahead of time so it will be ready come Thanksgiving. You can use the fermented berries to make delicious cranberry sauce, or serve them as a slightly tart appetizer that will brighten up your holiday banquet.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Fermenting time: 4 to 7 days
1 12-ounce bag of whole organic cranberries
Juice from 1 organic orange
1 chunk of ginger, minced
½ cup celery juice
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
½ cup filtered water
1 Tbsp. honey (optional)
- Place whole cranberries in food processor and pulse 3 to 5 times until most berries pop.
- Place cranberries in a Mason jar.
- Combine celery brine with a culture starter and mix.
- Add celery brine, cinnamon stick, cloves and minced ginger in the jar with the cranberries.
- Place small strainer over jar and juice the orange by hand. Remove strainer, and then add honey.
- Fill the jar with filtered water, leaving about a 1- to 2-inch space from the top.
- Screw on the lid and then shake well, incorporating everything.
- Unscrew lid, and place a piece of parchment paper and a small glass on top to weigh down berries.
- Screw on Dr. Mercola lid [RS2]and store in a dark place for 5 to 7 days.
This recipe makes 24 ounces of fermented cranberries.
Fermenting Offers a Wide Range of Health Benefits
It’s great to know that consumer behavior is now changing when it comes to food. As an article in Epoch Times[i] noted, people are now becoming weary of processed fare and their suspicious health claims, and are now reembracing more traditional foods and relearning ancient culinary methods like fermentation.
This is certainly good news, because fermented foods are one of the two kinds of foods (the other is fiber-rich foods) that I always advise people to eat daily. Traditionally fermented foods are essential to maintaining your healthy gut flora, which can benefit your overall health.
Remember that various factors such as diet, lifestyle and chemical exposures can rapidly alter your microbiome. By reseeding your gut with healthy bacteria from fermented foods, you can effectively improve and optimize your gut flora, allowing you to reap benefits such as:
- Help your body produce vitamins, amino acids (protein precursors), and absorb minerals
- Counteract inflammation and control the growth of disease-causing bacteria
- Reduce your risk of allergies and control asthma
- Impact your weight
- Benefit your mood and mental health
Fermented foods are also potent chelators (detoxifiers) that can help break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from your body. Although a high-quality probiotic supplement can also provide all these benefits, I believe that eating fermented foods is a less expensive yet more efficient option.
Remember that different types of fermented foods contain disparate bacteria, so it’s best to eat various types to ensure microbial diversity. Other fermented products you can try include natto, sauerkraut and kefir and yogurt made from raw milk. You can also use a starter culture to speed up the process (such as the recipe above does), as well as give you a consistent, high-quality end product.
I recommend reading this article for more useful tips on making your own fermented foods. While most of the advice her are geared towards culturing vegetables, there are some that are still applicable to fermenting fruits and other foods.
Fresh (or Fermented) Cranberries Are a Nutritional Powerhouse
As early as the 19th century, cranberries have been used as a sauce and as a meat side dish in the U.S., and Native Americans even used them as both food and medicine.[ii] But today, people are exchanging fresh cranberries for highly processed canned counterparts – potentially missing out on a lot of nutrients this humble fruit offers.
Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients like anthocyanidin flavonoids (which give them their bright red color), oligomeric proanthocyanidins, peonidin, cyanidin and quercetin. These have stroke- and cardiovascular disease-preventing compounds that prevent bad cholesterolformation in the heart and blood vessels.[iii]
Cranberries also provide protection against cancer, particularly breast, lung, colon and prostate cancers.[iv] They are high in fiber, providing 20 percent of its daily recommended value, as well as vitamins C and E.
When purchasing fresh cranberries, make sure to check the bag thoroughly to ensure that there are no soft or mushy berries, and that liquid hasn’t collected inside the bag. Cranberries are best kept in the fridge, and will stay fresh for a month. To prolong their shelf life, aside from fermenting, they can be stored in the freezer, where they can be used for a year or so.[v]
As with most fruits, cranberries contain fructose, which can be harmful to your health in excessive amounts. Consume them in moderation if you’re struggling with diabetes, obesity and other insulin-related health conditions.
These Health-Promoting Ingredients Will ‘Spice Up’ Your Cranberry Sauce
You can use a variety of spices to complement and enhance the natural sweetness and mild tartness of the fermented cranberries, making them feast-worthy. Take a look at just how these flavor-giving ingredients can benefit you:
- Cinnamon – Since the ancient times, this warming spice has been valued for its medicinal, culinary and natural preservative powers. Its cinnamaldehyde content is said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.[vi] Cinnamon also boosts brain function[vii] and promotes weight loss.[viii]
- Cloves – A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods has found that out of 24 herbs and spices tested, cloves ranked first in terms of effectiveness against quelling inflammation.[ix]
- Ginger – Aside from helping alleviate motion sickness, nausea and digestive upset, ginger has shown promise against cancer and diabetes,[x], [xi] and may help protect against respiratory viruses as well.[xii]
Source: mercola rss