Cranberries and Thanksgiving dinner are almost synonymous.
Those beautiful red berries are a welcome and expected addition to any Thanksgiving table, plant-based or otherwise.
But the good news is that cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving!
These nutrition-packed, health-promoting gems can and should be enjoyed all year long.
And since it is nearly National Eat a Cranberry Day, this is the perfect time to talk about why and how you should do that.
What Is National Eat a Cranberry Day?
Celebrated annually on November 23rd, National Eat a Cranberry Day is a day dedicated to talking about (and eating!) this delicious fruit.
While the origin of the holiday is a mystery, cranberries themselves enjoy a very rich history in North America.
Alongside blueberries and Concord grapes, cranberries are one of the only three native fruits which hail from the North American continent.
Among the first to consume cranberries, the Native Americans also used them regularly for dye.
And of course, legend has it that the Pilgrims (along with their Native American friends) served cranberry sauce at the very first Thanksgiving in 1621.
Crazy Cranberries: The Health Benefits
Cranberries are an American favorite.
In fact, it is estimated that over 400 million pounds of cranberries are consumed in the U.S. each year, with 20 percent of that number eaten during Thanksgiving week.
Fair to say, that is a lot of cranberries.
And we are right to embrace this tart, red fruit that tastes delicious and is incredibly good for us!
Like all berries, cranberries are considered to be nutritional powerhouses, packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Cranberries also appear to be the best cancer-fighting berry of all!
In vitro studies show that small amounts of cranberry extract (taken from the whole, raw fruit) may suppress the growth of cancer cells in patients with colon, brain, liver, ovarian, breast, and oral cancer.
Eat Cranberries All Year!
Cranberries have a well-known place on the Thanksgiving dinner table. However, here are five ideas for integrating them into your diet year round:
- Create a cranberry relish to add to sandwiches.
- Use dried cranberries to add extra flavor to oatmeal and cereal.
- Add fresh or dried cranberries to plant-based baked goods such as muffins or cookies.
- Mix chopped fresh or dried cranberries into a hot grain dish such as couscous or quinoa.
- Include fresh cranberries in your fruit salad for an extra kick.
How to Celebrate National Eat a Cranberry Day
If you are looking for ways to celebrate National Eat a Cranberry Day this year, consider these ideas:
- #EatACranberryDay: Use this hashtag on social media along with a picture of yourself enjoying a delicious cranberry treat.
- Learn About Cranberries: Do some research on the mighty cranberry, then share your findings with friends and family.
- Try a Cranberry Recipe: The obvious way to celebrate National Eat a Cranberry Day is to eat them. How about making our yummy recipe for Ricotta Crostini With Cranberry Salsa? You will love it!
However you choose to celebrate National Eat a Cranberry Day, just remember that these beautiful nutrition-packed gems of nature have a place on your table all year long.
So make sure to enjoy cranberries as often as possible—your body will definitely thank you.