Cranberries are called a “vitamin bomb” and has been scientifically proved! This berry takes one of the leading positions as to the content of vitamins and antioxidants.
It improves mental and physical performance, has a tonic, refreshing, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and wound-healing effect on the body.
At present, the biggest manufacturers of this berry are USA, Canada, Poland, Scandinavian countries, also there are some plantations in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.
Cranberries can be consumed in various forms: fresh berries, powder, juice, frozen and dried, which are called craisins. If you decide to freeze the cranberries in the freezer and then defrost them, you should eat them the same day as defrosted berries lose their useful properties quite fast. Thus, one of the best way to preserve the cranberries is to dry them. Dried cranberries are well preserved as they contain benzoic acid which is a real natural preservative.
In order to make dried cranberries large juicy berries are taken, the juice is squeezed out, mixed with sugar syrup and then it is injected back into the cranberries. It is done to reduce the tartness and sour taste of cranberries. Only after that the berries are freeze-dried or air-dried. Thus, the product preserves a certain percentage of moisture which makes it quite juicy and the taste more saturated.
Health Benefits of Dried Cranberries
There are many benefits of dried cranberries and this has been known for a long time. Numerous research results show that this berry is a perfect protection from different diseases. Cranberries contain antioxidants, vitamin C, dietary fibre and potassium. Dried craisins consumption improves appetite and digestion. Among the main health benefits there are:
- Antioxidant qualities
Helps to strengthen the protective antioxidant properties of the body, protects blood, brain, skin cells, etc.
- Neutralises microbes
As cranberries contain proanthocyanidins they help to prevent the attachment of microbes to the walls of the cells of the digestive and genitourinary system. Thus, it prevents the possible damage.
- Prevents the inflammation of the urinary system
Proanthocyanidins don’t allow the E-coli bacteria to stay and multiply on the walls of the bladder. As a result, they are washed out with urine, reducing the risk of inflammation.
- Lowers bad cholesterol level
Dried cranberries help to lower the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost the level of good cholesterol (HDL) which protects the circulatory system. This way it helps to prevent atherosclerosis and other diseases of the circulatory system.
- Fights cancer cells
Due to the proanthocyanidins presence, dried cranberries help to slow down the development and dissemination of the cancer cells.
- Slows down caries development and gum diseases
Polyphenols found in craisins prevent gum contamination with microbes of the oral cavity.
- Could prevent the infection with influenza
It’s quite possible that in the nearest future we will be able to fight the flu with the help of dried cranberries. The premier research held by the scientists from the University of Jerusalem has shown that active ingredients of cranberries prevented the virus from sticking to the walls of the cells and, in this way, stopped the development of the disease.
Dried Cranberries Nutrition Facts
Dried cranberries are low in fat, rich in vitamins and minerals and high in fibre. In 100g of sweetened craisins you will find: 10 mg of Calcium (Ca), 0.080 mg of Copper (Cu), 5.7 g of dietary fiber, 0.53 mg of Iron (Fe), 0.265 mg of Manganese (Mn), 5 mg of Magnesium (Mg), 0.990 mg of Niacin, 0.217 mg of Pantothenic acid, 8 mg of Phosphorus (P), 0.038 mg of Vitamin B-6, 0.2 mg of Vitamin C (total ascorbic acid), 1.07 mg of Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), 0.11 mg of Zinc (Zn). And this is not a full list.
According to the image from NutritionData.com, 1/2 cup of sweetened dried cranberries has approximately 129 calories. In order to cut on calories in craisins, you can eat the unsweetened ones. They are produced with low moisture, which makes them dry and results in a lightweight product. For a great food dehydrator to dry cranberries, take a look at Nesco FD-80 Dehydrator.
You can use it as a quick snack when you have no time for a proper meal. As you see, the benefits of dried cranberries are numerous, so it will be much better than having a chocolate bar or chips for a snack. Besides, you can use them in salads, add them to the yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast. Bread and Muffin recipes often use dried cranberries (or craisins) for added texture and flavor. Try to add a few dried cranberries to the chicken or pork chops you have made – it will bring a new touch to the dish.