Celebrate cranberries all year

Cran­ber­ries: High in fiber and Vit­am­in C and low in cal­or­ies and fat.

— As crowd-pleas­ers, they are berry, berry good.

If you’re plan­ning a fest­ive meal, don’t for­get to cel­eb­rate with cran­ber­ries. Cran­ber­ries of­ten are as­so­ci­ated with the hol­i­days, but their nu­tri­tious tasti­ness is worth hav­ing any­time. Like many fruits, cran­ber­ries are high in fiber and vit­am­in C and low in cal­or­ies and fat. A fresh cup of these tangy ber­ries has 5 grams of fiber and 24 per­cent of the vit­am­in C the av­er­age per­son needs in a day, but just 51 cal­or­ies. Use fresh, frozen or un­sweetened dried ber­ries for the best nu­trit­ive value.

   Cran­ber­ries are packed with an­ti­ox­id­ants that may help main­tain heart health and re­duce cho­les­ter­ol. The tan­nins in cran­ber­ries might help pre­vent gum dis­ease and ur­in­ary tract in­fec­tions. In the lab, cran­ber­ries pre­vent bac­teria from ad­her­ing to the walls of the ur­in­ary tract and the gum line. Ac­cord­ing to the Novem­ber 2010 edi­tion of the Tufts Uni­versity Health and Nu­tri­tion Let­ter, “tri­als in­vest­ig­at­ing cran­berry in­take and ur­in­ary-tract in­fec­tions showed that there has been some be­ne­fit es­tab­lished in re­du­cing the num­ber of in­fec­tions in wo­men.” 

   Cran­berry juice is of­ten the form used when de­lib­er­ately seek­ing to pre­vent in­fec­tion. The flu­id in the juice does help main­tain hy­dra­tion, which is known to help pre­vent in­fec­tion. Cran­ber­ries are very tart and are of­ten con­sumed in com­bin­a­tion with sug­ar. For ex­ample, a glass of cran­berry juice cock­tail has about 30 grams of sug­ar and 137 cal­or­ies. 

   This won­der­ful re­cipe uses a cran­ber­ries com­bined with figs and apples to add punch to a de­li­cious roas­ted pork ten­der­loin. 

   (Ad­di­tion­al in­form­a­tion provided by Janet Eck­ert, Re­gion­al Nu­tri­tion and Health Edu­ca­tion spe­cial­ist, Har­ris­on County, Uni­versity of Mis­souri Ex­ten­sion.)

Pork Medal­lions with Cran­berry and Fig Chut­ney 

2 cups fresh, frozen or dried cran­ber­ries 

1 cup apple juice or apple cider 

1 me­di­um Gala, Fuji or Granny Smith apple, peeled, stem and core re­moved and chopped

1/2 cup snipped, dried figs 

3/4 cup packed brown sug­ar or gran­u­lated sug­ar 

2 tea­spoons chopped fresh rose­mary or 1 tea­spoon dried rose­mary, crushed 

2-1/2 tea­spoons salt 

2-1/2 tea­spoons ground black pep­per 

2 (12-ounce) pork ten­der­loins 

3 ta­ble­spoons honey mus­tard

2 ta­ble­spoons poultry season­ing

3 ta­ble­spoons ve­get­able or olive oil

6 green onions, tops and white ends, diced (op­tion­al)

Hot cooked brown or long grain rice (op­tion­al) 

1. For the chut­ney: In a small, heavy sauce­pan, stir to­geth­er the cran­ber­ries, apple juice, apples, figs, sug­ar, rose­mary and 1 tea­spoon of the salt and pep­per. Bring to a boil and re­duce the heat. Sim­mer, un­covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or un­til the chut­ney reaches the de­sired con­sist­ency, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. Set aside.

2. Cut each ten­der­loin cross­wise in­to six pieces (12 pieces total), about 1-inch thick. Press each piece with the palm of your hand to an even thick­ness. Mix the mus­tard to­geth­er with the re­main­ing salt and pep­per, and the poultry season­ing. Coat each piece with the mus­tard mix­ture evenly on both sides. 

3. Pour the oil in­to a large, non­stick skil­let and heat over me­di­um-high heat. Place the pork in batches in a hot skil­let. Do not over­crowd. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or un­til the pork is slightly pink in the cen­ter and the juices run clear, turn­ing once halfway through cook­ing time. Do not over­cook.

4. Place cooked pork on a plate and cov­er with foil to keep warm. Add more oil to the pan as needed. Con­tin­ue cook­ing, a few pieces at a time, un­til all the pieces are done.

5. Place 2 pork medal­lions on each din­ner plate. Serve with hot cooked rice. Spoon some of the warm chut­ney over pork. Sprinkle with green onions, if de­sired. Pass re­main­ing chut­ney. Makes 6 servings.  ••

   An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award-win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and the au­thor of sev­en cook­books. Her new cook­book is “The Kit­chen Diva’s Dia­bet­ic Cook­book.” Her web­site is www.di­vapro.com 

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