Cranberry Sunrise Drink

December 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Cranberries, along with blueberries and Concord grapes, are the only 3 fruits native to the US and Canada.  In case you didn’t know, cranberries grow on a vine.  And another interesting fact, the first commercial bed of cranberries were planted in Dennis, MA in 1816!  Just down the road from me!

Most of the production of cranberries occurs in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Quebec.  This red, tangy fruit is mostly harvested between September and October.  Water is used during harvest to float the fruit so it is easier to pick.  The water also protects the plants in the winter from freezing.

Cranberries, along with all fruits and vegetables, are antioxidants and contain phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are organic compounds in plants that are believed to promote human health.   Grains, legumes, nuts and teas are also rich sources of phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are further categorized into carotenoids, flavonoids, lignans, and more.  The phytonutrient found in cranberries is called a polyphenol and specifically, proanthocyanidin (PAC).

Current research is being done with phytonutrients and their ability to support health.  At present, polyphenols may protect against some health problems and possibly the effects of aging.  Polyphenols have been shown to block the action of enzymes that cancers need for growth and they have also been shown to deactivate substances that promote the growth of cancers.  They also protect the lining of cells from the adhesion of LDL (bad) cholesterol, a cause of coronary heart disease.  PAC’s can also prevent the adhesion of certain bacteria, including those associated with urinary tract infections, onto the urinary tract wall.  The PAC’s in cranberries may also inhibit bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers.

The National Kidney Foundation suggests that drinking 10oz/day of cranberry juice cocktail may prevent urinary tract infections.  It is important to note that cranberry juice COCKTAIL contains sugar.  Just go for the 100% pure cranberry juice.  Or, an easier way to eat cranberries is dried.  They taste great in salads.

As part of eating 5 fruits and vegetables/day, one serving of cranberries is ½  cup of whole fruit, 1/3 cup of dried fruit, or ¾ cup of 100% juice.

Nutrition information for 1 cup of whole fruit (I don’t know how anyone could eat it this way, but OK!):

Calories                       30

Carbohydrates            7g

Fiber      2g

Cranberries contain 10% of a day’s worth of Vitamin C.

Nutrition information for 1/3 cup dried cranberries:

Calories                         120

Fat                                           .5g

Potassium                        15mg

Carbohydrates                 33mg

Fiber      2g

Dried cranberries contain 2% of the daily supply of iron.

100% Cranberry juice

Calories                        130

Sodium                          20mg

Carbohydrates              32g

Calcium                        100mg

Fresh, frozen cranberries will keep for 1 year.

Cranberry Sunrise



6 cups Spiced Cranberry Syrup (recipe follows)

6 cups fresh orange juice

12 oz. (1 ½ cups) Campari (optional) *

Ice Cubes

Seltzer or Soda Water  (or lemon-lime soda)

6 orange slices, halved

*I omit the Campari.  Personally, I think it’s Yukky!!  Bleh!

In a large pitcher, stir together cranberry syrup, orange juice and campari, if using.  Place several ice cubes in tall tumblers.  Pour in the cranberry-orange mixture to fill half the glass.  Add fizzy water to the top.  Garnish with a slice of orange and serve immediately.

225 calories/cup, 1g protein, 0g fat, 58g carbs, 2mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol

Spiced Cranberry Syrup

The cranberry syrup can be made in a large batch and kept refrigerated.  It makes a nice pancake or waffle syrup as well.

3 ½ cups sugar

2 lemons

3 lbs. cranberries, picked over

6-8 thin slices fresh ginger

3 cinnamon sticks

Combine sugar with 6 cups cold water in a large heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.  Squeeze the juice from lemons, reserving rinds.  Add the juice and rinds to the syrup, along with cranberries, ginger and cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, until most of the berries pop, 10 to 15 minutes, skimming any froth that rises to the surface.  Remove from the heat and let stand for about ½ hour.  Strain the syrup through a fine sieve, pressing down on the berries to release as much juice as possible.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  (The syrup can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

Makes about 8 cups.

26 calories/tablespoon, 0g protein, 0g fat, 7g carbs, 0mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol


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