SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Cranberries are full of nutrients and antioxidants, and should not be used only on Thanksgiving, a U.S. expert says.
"Cranberries are low in calories -- 25 calories per one-half cup of fresh cranberries -- contain vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K and fiber, as well as high quantities of antioxidants," Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com, said in a statement.
"Cranberries are good for kidneys, gastrointestinal and oral health, if unsweetened. They also lower low-density lipoprotein, the 'bad' cholesterol, and raise high-density lipoprotein, the 'good' cholesterol."
The cranberry is related to the blueberry and grows wild as a shrub, but the cranberries in the store are more often cultivated on vines in sandy bogs, primarily in the northern United States and Canada, Lempert said.
Cranberries might also aid stroke recovery, prevent cancer and the tannins unique to cranberries and blueberries are anti-bacterial, Lempert said.
Frozen cranberries are available year-round, but are available fresh from late September through early December, Lempert said.
"Look for deep burgundy red color; berries should be firm to the touch and uniform in color," Lempert said. "Use fresh or cooked for desserts or savory dishes as you would any berry. They are tart and may require some sweetening. Do not thaw frozen berries; rinse with cold water, drain and use. For fresh, rinse, drain well and use. Always sort through for stems or bruised berries."