Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lazy Man's Cranberry Sauce

Guilty pleasure #114: Swiping spoonfuls of cranberry sauce from the refrigerator. To engage in guilty pleasure #114, there has to be a ready supply of cranberry sauce from which to spoon.

Ingredients:

1 cup cranberries, about
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon honey, about
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
17 grains table salt. Kidding. Sort of.

1   Bring orange juice and cranberries to a slow simmer. When the berries begin to pop, simmer about 10 minutes longer. Cover. Let cool about 20 minutes. Stir in honey, cinnamon, and salt. Process in a small food processor or blender until creamy. Refrigerate.

Notes:
The amounts of cranberries and orange juice are estimates. I lean towards a little less orange juice and a little more cranberry. Below is how my cranberries look as they just begin to simmer.



Frozen cranberries straight from the freezer work great.

The salt may be omitted although salt added at subthreshold amounts (below the detection level of our taste buds) physiologically enhances the taste of sweet. That means you can get away with adding less sweetener ... the brain will say "Sweet!", but the blood sugar will say "Hardly." A pinch should do it.

This recipe doesn't make much. I'm guessing it would double or triple nicely though.

To the left is how my cranberries look after they've cooled but before they've been blended. The pigment in the cranberries has bled out and masked any orange juice color.

I didn't strain out the seeds or skins (that's the lazy part), so the final product contains particulate matter. If I felt compelled to strain it, I wouldn't make it very often, and there wouldn't be much satisfying of guilty pleasure #114 going on. No honest French chef would give me a passing grade on this.

The sauce gels nicely when refrigerated. It won't match the jellying power of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce in a can though. That's one mighty mold.

To the right I'm trying to show that Lazy Man's Cranberry Sauce has spoon-sticking ability.

Cranberries are sour. One tablespoon of honey and any sweetness the orange juice provides do not go very far in convincing my taste buds that cranberries are a fruit. It's a bare minimum, but it does the trick. You may want to ratchet up the sweetness. (The cinnamon is another bit of taste bud foolery.)

________

Cranberries Prevent Adhesion of E. coli to Urinary Tract Cells

To the right is a photo of the cranberries I used in the recipe above, slightly frosty from the freezer.

Terri Camesano and her colleagues at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts (not more than a leap from the bogs where cranberries are grown) found that substances in cranberries, namely tannins called proanthocyanidins: 1
  • Chemically alter the surface of the cells lining the urinary tract, and the surface of the E. coli cells:
    "... making them repel like magnets with similar polarity. Measured with an atomic force microscope and converted to human scale, that repulsive force (3kT) would be enough to lift a person six feet off the ground."
  • Render E. coli's attachment strands unusable:
    "... the fimbriae - tiny tendrils that normally extend from the surface of the bacteria - collapse, making it difficult for bacteria to bind to receptors on the uroepithelium."
  • Prevent E. coli from aggregating into infection-boosting communities (apparently bacteria can talk to each other - that's how they meet up):
    "... cranberry juice impairs the ability of E. coli to produce biofilms, or communities of bacteria, thus inhibiting infection."
Camesano also says that, "Cranberry compounds have been linked to antiadhesion activity that benefits [other] situations," such as attachment of Helicobacter pylori to the gut wall, and attachment of Streptococcus mutans to gum surfaces."

Prevention of urinary tract infections, gastritis, ulcers, and gum disease - maybe my guilty pleasure #114 isn't so bad after all.
________
1 You can read about Terry Camesano's research here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, to "Exploring a Potent Antibacterial Agent in Cranberries." She says that blueberries also contain these unique tannins.

1 comment:

Marj said...

Thank you for this cranberry sauce, I LOVE it and understand your saying you only make a small amount. It's way too easy to eat, so good and good for health too. What's not to love?