Cranberries are one of Nature's many gifts. The plants seem never to die, the gorgeous red fruit can be eaten in many forms, and they provide many health benefits. Traditional with Thanksgiving dinner as a jellied sauce, cranberries can be eaten fresh, frozen, dried, or even juiced. They appear in both savory and sweet dishes, yet are a flavorful snack on their own.
About Cranberries

Cranberries are one of three commercially grown fruits that are native to North America, the other two being blueberries and concord grapes. In the United States they are grown mostly in Wisconsin , Massachusetts , New Jersey , Oregon , and Washington . The Pilgrims named the fruit "craneberry" since the small spring blossoms looked like heads of cranes. Captain Henry Hall began cultivating cranberries in 1810 with many others soon to follow his lead. An association of cranberry growers formed in 1871. Currently 43,000 acres in the United States are used every year for cranberry production.

Cranberries grow on trailing vines in wetlands. The beds are layered with sand, peat, gravel, and clay. One method of harvesting involves flooding the bog and gathering the fruit. The plants are pollinated by honey bees and can last indefinitely. Some cranberry plants in Massachusetts are know to be over 150 years old.

These bright red fruits have long been known for their health benefits. Early American sailors ate cranberries to prevent scurvy. They are full of antioxidants and vitamin C. Cranberries, in fresh or capsulated form, are sought after today to help prevent urinary tract infections and gum disease. A daily 10 ounce glass of cranberry juice wards off infections in these areas.

Read more about the benefits of cranberries at

Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries, Pecans, and Orange Zest

3 cups chicken broth, divided
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
¼ cup butter
1 onion, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups herbed season stuffing mix
½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
zest of one orange
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
pepper to taste

1. Bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add wild rice; stir and return to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until rice is fully cooked, about 40 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium saucepan. Sautee onion and celery until tender. Add remaining 1 cup of chicken broth. When boiling, stir in stuffing mix.

3. In a large bowl, combine wild rice, stuffing mixture, pecans, cranberries, orange zest, and seasonings.

4. Use stuffing to stuff the turkey or transfer to a baking dish and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Find more recipes in "The Cranberry Cookbook".

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