Posts tagged cranberry

cranberry tea tonic

Sometimes, you get to a time in your life when you’re sick of all the not-so-good for you food you’ve been eating, and you just want to start over with a clean slate.  Maybe you’ve been working too long or traveling and you’ve found yourself indulging in too much fast food.  Maybe, like me, you start off well with a bunch of grapes as your first meal, and then degenerate to a dozen fish sticks and a half pint of Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter ice cream.  Some people swear by the lemon juice/maple syrup/cayenne pepper detox diet, even people who think it tastes disgusting!  I say, why torture yourself?

I swear by this drink, because it makes me feel good.  You can drink it warm or hot, but I find it particularly excellent ice cold.  I picked each ingredient specifically for its potential health benefits, but the recipe is highly adaptable, and it can be modified to anyone’s tastes.  I would emphasize here that although I’m listing the known potential health benefits, medical studies have been inconclusive for most of what is below – so don’t go drinking this thinking it will cure or prevent anything!

– Green tea has been touted to have numerous health benefits: wow, look at all of these!  Of course, conflicting studies have been done, and it’s tough to know with certainty what the actual health benefits of green tea are.  Still, there is some evidence that green tea increases the metabolic rate, reduces stress, lowers cholesterol, and may even help oxidize fat, helping people to lose weight.

– Honey has been used nutritionally and medicinally for thousands of years due to its naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  Honey has been used externally on wounds, as well as internally to soothe sore throats and coughing fits.  It is thought to potentially bolster the immune system, and there is some evidence that eating honey from bees in your local neighborhood may help ease allergies.  These benefits are said to vary based on the quality and type of the honey, and it is often said that raw honey is the best (particularly for allergy sufferers), since it includes bits of pollen.

– Cranberry juice is known to be high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants and flavonoids.  Cranberry juice might have benefits related to the cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as having anti-bacterial effects such as anti-adhesion properties.

Cranberry Tea Tonic (makes 4-6 servings)

Some detoxers swear by drinking a glass of warm water and lemon juice first thing in the morning to stimulate digestion.  Substituting some lemon juice for the cranberry would probably have a similar effect here.

Ingredients:

  • 6 c. boiling water
  • 1/2 c. raw honey
  • 3 green tea bags
  • cranberry juice (2-4 tbsp. per serving)
  • ice cubes and cold water

Directions:

  • In a large pitcher, pour boiling water over the honey.  Add tea bags and steep according to directions on the box.  After discarding the tea bags, stir to make sure the honey has dissolved, and then let cool to room temperature, or chill.
  • For each serving, fill a tall glass with ice cubes, and pour in a small splash of cranberry juice to taste.  Fill about halfway up with the green tea mixture, and then add cold water to fill the glass.
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Blood Orange Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce

This seemed like such a good idea.  Orange pairs so beautifully with cranberries, and with a surplus of fresh blood orange juice from breakfast, I thought the color and flavor would be a great match.  Brown sugar instead of white sugar would provide an extra depth of flavor, and it would all come together, perhaps with a sprinkling of candied ginger.

So what went wrong?  Uhh… I didn’t pay attention to it.  First of all, despite the blood orange juice not being terribly sour or bitter, it took entirely too much sugar to get the sauce to the sweetness desired.  The batch of cranberries I was using must have been particularly sour.  Once I’d finally gotten the sauce to the texture I was looking for, I left it on the stove over the Warm setting, and the next time I checked on it, it had definitely started to burn.  So I removed it from the heat.  By dinnertime, it had gelled quite significantly and the taste was… well, as I said, it had burnt somewhat.

Epic failure?  I’d say so, but not necessarily because of the recipe.  I still say the idea is great and sometime soon when I’m still craving cranberry, I’ll try it out again.

Blood Orange Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce (makes 2 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. cranberries (or 3 cups frozen)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 6 oz. blood orange juice
  • 6 oz. water
  • 2 oz. minced candied ginger (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice, and water into a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes or so until cranberries have popped.  Continue cooking to desired consistency.
  2. Taste for sweetness, and stir in ginger, if desired.

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