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What's in season: cranberries

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During the colder months, it can be hard to eat seasonally as there’s fewer options to choose from. Enter, cranberries. These healthy berries are great over Christmas because they work well in sweet and savoury dishes.

 

These plump and sour red berries grow throughout the northern hemisphere and are a rich source of viamin C. Year round, you’ll see them sold as juice, dried or in a sauce, but from October to December you can catch some fresh berries, too.

 

As Christmas approaches, we think of cranberries as one of the trimmings for turkey or in a stuffing, but they’ll add zing to many recipes. Try them in muffins, scones, muesli bars, cakes, bread and sorbets.

Cranberry juice is great in a celebration mocktail or cocktail. And, what could be simpler than sprinkling dried cranberries on your breakfast cereal or grabbing a handful as a snack? Versatility is the cranberry in a nutshell.

Try these two recipes and eat more cranberries this Christmas.

Cranberry & walnut rock cakes

These quick and easy to make cakes are packed with wholegrain fibre, so they’re filling and nutritious.

Makes 12 cakes – vegan – prep: 10 minutes – cook: 20 minutes – 0.5 portions fruit & veg per serving

300g wholemeal flour1 heaped tsp baking powder75g soft brown sugar½ tsp mixed spice1 banana (approx 100g)1 medium egg75ml rapeseed oil1 tsp vanilla extract50ml water75g dried cranberries50g walnut pieces

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice to a bowl and mix well.
  2. In another bowl, mash the banana with a fork, add the egg and beat well then mix in the oil, vanilla and water.
  3. Gradually fold the banana & egg mixture into the dry ingredients then fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
  4. Pile the mixture into 12 small irregular heaps on a lightly oiled baking sheet, using a fork to create lots of little spikes.
  5. Bake for 18–22 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Per serving:

223Kcals – 4.5g protein – 29.9g carbs (

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13.6g sugars) –

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10.2g fat (

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1g saturates) –

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0.2g salt

Chef’s tips

These are best eaten when still warm, but can be stored in an airtight container for 2–3 days. You can freshen them up with a few seconds in the microwave. They’re also great split and lightly buttered.

You could add other spices – try ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or cardamom in place of mixed spice.

Adding the banana means you use less sugar and fat while boosting the nutrients. It also helps the texture without affecting flavour as the banana taste is barely discernible.

Spicy & quick cranberry chutney

Crunchy, spicy and tangy, this Indian-stylerelish really wakes up your taste buds! Try it in a turkey wrap, with cold meats and cheeses or served as a side dish with curry.

Serves 6–8 – vegan – prep: 15 mins – cook: 5 mins – 2.5 portions of fruit & veg per serving

150g fresh cranberries, halved½ tsp salt3 tsp cider vinegar100g grated carrot50g grated red onion¼ – ½ tsp chili flakes2 heaped tsp sugar or sweetener such as Splenda, Canderel or Stevia 1 heaped tsp fennel seeds1 heaped tsp cumin seeds1 tbsp sunflower oil3–4 cloves garlic crushed1 heaped tsp fresh ginger root, finely chopped

  1. Put the cranberries in a bowl, add the salt and vinegar and mix well.
  2. Add the carrot, onion, chilli flakes and sugar to the cranberries and mix well.
  3. Put a small pan over a medium heat (without oil), add the fennel and cumin seeds and stir regularly for 1–2 minutes to lightly toast.
  4. Add the oil to the pan, mix then add the garlic and ginger, mix well and remove from the heat.
  5. Add the oil and spice and mix, to the cranberries, stir well, cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse.

Per serving:

30g Kcals – 0.6g protein – 4.1g carbs (

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3.6g sugars) –

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1.7g fat (

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0.2g saturates) –

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0.3g salt

Chef’s tips

This relish will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.

Cranberries are tart, so do need sweetening more than other fruits so you could use the sweetener Splenda, Canderel or Stevia instead of sugar to reduce the sugar content.

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