Small but Mighty. Berry Big Benefits for Babies.
The star of many holiday season meals, the cranberry is loved by babies and parents year ’round as a tasteful, healthy delight. Loaded with nutritious vitamins and minerals, cranberries feature vitamin C, plus polyphenols, which collectively help to strengthen and maintain the immune and cardiovascular systems, promote brain development, and help to prevent cancer and heart disease. Cranberries tend to be more acidic than many berries, but most pediatricians encourage introducing this fruit to your little one beginning at eight months. Start with small portions to make sure cranberries settle well with your baby’s stomach—he or she will love the taste!
Not Just for the Holidays
Cranberries are the perfect choice for mixing and pairing with a variety of foods including applesauce, yogurt, bananas, peaches and more. They also make a tasty side dish for chicken, pork and other lean meats.
Be sure to never serve cranberries raw – bake them or stew them in a saucepan and then simmer them in water. You may also bring water to a boil, add cranberries, then lower the heat until the cranberries “pop” after 15 minutes. Finally, cranberries are great by themselves when served as a puree. Best of all, cranberries may be frozen and will keep for up to 10 months, so your baby can enjoy this nutritious favorite all year long! Be sure to check out the great cranberry recipes listed below.
Interesting Cranberry Facts
The cranberry is one of only a few fruits native to North America. Dutch and German settlers originally called the fruit a “crane berry” due to its resemblance on the vine to the head and bill of a crane. Native Americans mixed deer meat with cranberries to make “pemmican”, a long-lasting cake that helped them survive harsh winters. Early American sailors depended on the cranberry’s abundance of vitamin C to help prevent scurvy. Americans consume nearly 400 million pounds of cranberries each year, with about 20% of this number prepared during Thanksgiving week alone!
Recipe Yields: 8-10 Servings
- 1 package fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
- Place the nuts on a baking pan and place in 325 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.
- As they start to toast they will turn a deeper color. (Be careful and don’t burn them as they will taste bitter and you’ll have to start all over again!)
- In a stock pot place the sugar, orange juice, almond extract and cranberries and bring everything to a boil.
- Boil gently until you start to hear the cranberries pop then boil for 5 minutes more.
- Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature before you store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
- Just before serving add the toasted walnuts and fresh mint.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
Storage Time: 3 days in the refrigerator
This nutrient packed smoothie is the perfect combination of fruits for a filling snack or sweet treat.
Recipe Yields: 2 Servings
- 8 oz chilled cranberry juice
- 6 whole strawberries fresh or frozen
- 1/8 cup blueberries fresh or frozen
- 1 whole banana
- 1/2 cup ice
Directions: Combine all ingredients into a blender. Best if served immediately.