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Cranberry Apple Sauce

Fresh, whole cranberries are delicious seasonal treatment. They often make their appearance in the fall around the holidays, especially around Thanksgiving. That seems totally appropriate as they are one of a handful of berries that are native to North America (blueberries are another).

Their naturally tart flavor allows them to pair incredibly well with another fall treat, apples. Like apples, cranberries are very high in pectin which allows them to naturally form a thick jelly when cooked down. Also like apples, cranberries have a wide range of healthful benefits.

Cranberries are a good source of various vitamins and antioxidants. Native Americans used cranberries as a treatment for bladder and kidney diseases. A research study in 2014 found that taking a capsule of cranberry extract twice per day reduced the incidence of UTIs. The high level of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries is believed to play a role by preventing certain bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls.

Cranberries are also useful for persons at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Cranberries are beneficial in reducing blood pressure and are associated with weight loss. Cranberries also improve levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol, improve regulation of blood sugar, and act to reduce measurable markers of inflammation.

In this particular recipe, tart cranberries are paired with a sweet apple like a honey crisp as opposed to a tarter variety like the Granny Smith. This allows the minimization of additional sweeteners. Just a little bit of maple syrup adds a depth to the fall flavors and just the right amount of balance.

Apple Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:
• Juice of one lemon
• 2 apples
• 8 ounces fresh cranberries
• 1 tablespoon apple pie spice
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup
• ½ cup (4 ounces) water

Directions:
Place the lemon juice and water in a small bowl. Peel, core, and roughly chop the apples. As they are chop add them to the acidulated water (water with the lemon juice). This will keep them from turning brown. Add the acidulated water with the apples to a small pot. Add the cranberries, spice, and maple syrup. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow the cranberries to soften and start to burst, this will release the pectins. Once the cranberries have burst, remove from the heat and purée with an immersion blender, or transfer to a food processor to purée.