by Sage Brousseau.
There is no food more quintessentially Southern New England than the cranberry, documentation from Ocean Spray even suggests that the first commercial cranberry harvest took place in Dennis, Massachusetts in 1816. Not only are cranberries one of only three berries native to the U.S. (blueberries and Concord grapes are the other two), it is also considered a superfood full of antioxidants and rich in vitamin C and fiber.
Eating foods with antioxidants in them are believed to protect the body from “free radicals”, which are cells that have been damaged. These “free radicals” are missing an important molecule, which wreak havoc on your body by searching out a healthy molecule to pair with; which in turn robs that molecule of what keeps it healthy and damages that cell’s DNA. Antioxidants help keep “free radicals” in check. Composed of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, the antioxidants help repair the damage to cells that free radicals have gotten a hold of and helps keep your immune system strong. Cranberries are higher in antioxidants than almost all other fruits and vegetables out there (outranking cherries, red grapes, and broccoli)!
Since cranberries are in season and freshest September through December, it’s no wonder they are a staple of holiday cooking and eating. Try this tasty cranberry bread recipe from the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association:
1/2 C. Butter
1 Tbs. Grated Orange Peel
3 Large Eggs, Beaten
2 1/2 C. Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
2 C. Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, Chopped
1 C. Sugar
3/4 C. Buttermilk
1/4 Tsp. Salt
3/4 C. Pecans, Chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray bottom only of 9″ X 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. Beat butter, sugar, orange peel and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine flour, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed just until blended. Fold cranberries and nuts into batter. Turn into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool slightly in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
Sage Brousseau is a photographer, gardening dabbler, and lover of local art and local food. Born and raised in Massachusetts, she’s called the South Shore home for over 10 years. Sage shows her photography in the Boston area with recent exhibits at Panopticon Gallery, Atlantic Wharf Gallery, and the Dillon Gallery at the South Shore Arts Center in Cohasett. www.sagebrousseau.com