Cranberry Waldorf SaladFresh cranberries in the supermarket indicate Thanksgiving is coming. Wild cranberries are distinctly an American fruit grown from as far north as Newfoundland, west to Minnesota and south to the mountains of North Carolina.

Early American settlers learned the health benefits of these native red berries from local North American Indian tribes. Each cranberry is packed with proanthocyanidins which allows the unique anti-adhesion activity that protects the body from harmful bacteria. They are well known for their role in helping prevent urinary tract infections but new studies are showing cranberries keep strains of ulcer-causing bacteria and tooth surface bacteria from adhering to cells.

Decas Cranberry Products located in Carver, Massachusetts “were the first company to put fresh cranberries into individual cellophane bags for A & P supermarket in the 1960s” according to John C. Decas, Chairman of the Board. During my tour of the Decas cranberry bogs with John Wankewicz, Director of Sales & Marketing, we discussed production of certified organic manufacturing practices and how Decas is helping growers meet this increased need.

As you sit down to whole cranberry sauce or this tasty Cranberry Waldorf Salad on Thanksgiving, be sure to eat the cranberry seeds. A cold press expeller process using no solvents or chemicals is used at Decas to insure a high content of omega 3 fatty acids from the seeds. Whole cranberries are also rich in tocotrienols (Vitamin E). To get these health benefits from cranberries, you need to eat the whole fresh or dried cranberry -not hulls or skins that are coated with sugar and sold as craisins.

Whether you prefer fresh fruit cooked into a cranberry sauce sweetened with stevia or dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice concentrate, remember that cranberries are the only fruit in the world with a health claim associated with it.

Cranberry Waldorf Salad

1/3 cup dried whole fruit-juice sweetened cranberries
1 apple, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped, toasted Macademia nuts
2 cups fresh baby spinach
Fresh cranberries for garnish, optional

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Combine cranberries, apple, celery and nuts in bowl. Line serving plates with spinach. Mix together vinegar, honey, oil and mustard in small bowl. Pour over apple mixture and gently toss to coat apples. Spoon onto spinach leaves. Top with fresh cranberries. Makes 4 servings.

Calories 102; Protein 2 g; Carbohydrates 14g; Fat 4 g; Sodium 23 g