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Introduction to Cranberries:

Ripe cranberry in wooden bowl on wooden table.

Cranberries are a type of evergreen shrubs or vines that produce tart red berries. They belong to the genus Vaccinium, subgenus Oxycoccus, and are related to blueberries and bilberries. There are four to five species of cranberries, depending on the classification system. The most common ones are Vaccinium oxycoccos, native to Europe and Asia, and Vaccinium macrocarpon, native to North America. Cranberries are cultivated in cool temperate regions, especially in the north-eastern United States, Canada, and Chile. They are used for making juice, sauce, jam, and dried snacks, as well as for their health benefits. Cranberries are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and may help prevent urinary tract infections, dental plaque, and some types of cancer.

Origin of cranberries  

Cranberries are native to the wetlands of central and eastern North America, where they have been harvested by indigenous peoples for centuries. The first commercial cultivation of cranberries began in 1816 in Massachusetts, by a Revolutionary War veteran named Henry Hall. He discovered that covering the cranberry vines with sand improved their growth and yield. Cranberries are now grown in several regions of the United States, Canada, and Chile, and are used for various products such as juice, sauce, jam, and dried snacks.

Health benefits of cranberries

Cranberries are a nutritious fruit that may have various health benefits. Some of the possible benefits are:

Preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs):- Cranberries contain a type of antioxidant called A-type proanthocyanidins, which can prevent E. coli bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall and causing infection.

Supporting oral hygiene:-The same A-type proanthocyanidins may also inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, reducing the risk of cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer.

Reducing inflammation :- Cranberries are rich in other antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and flavanols, which can lower inflammation in the body and protect against chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Maintaining digestive health:-Cranberries can help balance the gut microbiome by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and suppressing the harmful ones. This may improve digestion, immunity, and metabolism.

Recipe using cranberries

Cranberry Maple ChickenIngredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of cranberry juice
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 190°c and lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place them in the prepared baking dish.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the maple syrup, cranberry juice, mustard, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.
  4. Pour the sauce over the chicken and scatter the cranberries on top.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly.
  6. Enjoy with your favourite side dish, such as rice, potatoes, or salad.

Coconut cranberry yummiesIngredients:

  • 1 can (400 gms) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 package (400 gms) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup white baking chips
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries


  1. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; mix well. Stir in cranberries.
  2. Drop by tablespoonfuls 3 in. apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets; gently shape into mounds.
  3. Bake at 190°c until edges are lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.
  4. Cool for 3 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Cranberry-Orange Pound CakeIngredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2-3/4 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 190°c. Grease and flour a 10-in. fluted tube pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in orange zest and vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Fold in cranberries.
  4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 65-70 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cranberry orange mimosasIngredients:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3 cups orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 bottles (750 ml each) champagne, chilled
  • Fresh mint leaves, optional


  1. Place cranberries and 1 cup orange juice in a blender; cover and process until pureed, stopping to scrape down side of jar with a rubber spatula as needed.
  2. Add lemon juice and remaining orange juice; cover and process until blended.
  3. Pour 1/3 cup cranberry mixture into each champagne flute or wine glass.
  4. Top with 3/4 cup champagne; serve with mint if desired.

Cranberry oatmeal barsIngredients:

  • 1 can (400 gms) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 package (400 gms) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup white baking chips
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 190°c and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the condensed milk, coconut, white chips, almonds, and almond extract until well combined.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture for the topping and spread the rest evenly over the prepared pan.
  4. Sprinkle the cranberries over the coconut layer and press lightly to adhere.
  5. Drop the reserved coconut mixture by spoonful over the cranberries and spread gently to cover.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden and bubbly.
  7. Let the bars cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette:Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup candied pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large salad bowl, combine the fresh baby spinach, dried cranberries, chopped candied pecans, and crumbled feta cheese.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Alternatively, you can shake the ingredients together in a sealed jar.
  3. Drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette over the salad. Start with a smaller amount and toss the salad to coat evenly. Add more dressing if needed, depending on your preference.
  4. Gently toss the salad to combine all the ingredients and evenly distribute the dressing.
  5. Plate the salad and serve immediately. This salad is great on its own as a light meal or as a refreshing side dish to complement a main course.

Conclusion: –

In conclusion, cranberries stand out not only for their vibrant taste but also for the array of health benefits they offer. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and potential urinary tract health support, these versatile berries contribute to overall well-being. Whether enjoyed in juices, sauces, or incorporated into various dishes, cranberries provide a delicious and nutritious addition to a balanced diet. As with any food, moderation and individual considerations are important, and consulting with a healthcare professional can offer personalized guidance.

Dr. Kaviraj Khialani- Celebrity Master Chef, is a Mumbai based food- health & lifestyle consultant. With around 25 years of quality experience with hotels, airlines, consultancy – training & development he is a recipient of several national awards & global recognitions. Chef Kaviraj is specialised in over 33 international cuisines and loves fusion cooking, creating new recipes and sharing his experience with foodies around the globe. He has also been featured on star plus & colors television on several food shows. He may be contacted via email: / WhatsApp- 9820939336.


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