Cranberries, a great food year-round

Cranberry sauce was always that one food on the table at Thanksgiving at my house that I never really ate. I went straight to the turkey and potatoes. But, I am definitely in the minority. According to the cranberry experts at Ocean Spray, 74% of Americans serve store-bought cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving, and a whopping 5 million gallons of the jellied cranberry sauce is consumed every holiday season. That's a lot of cranberries.

According to an article on

Minnesota Public Radio's website

, Wisconsin is the single biggest producer of cranberries in the U.S., producing 60 percent of the nation's crop. It's also the state's number one fruit crop in terms of acreage and value.

Cranberries should be consumed all year round, not just with that turkey and dressing this Thursday. They are increasingly highly regarded for their numerous therapeutic benefits, according to an article by Chris Kilham. Probably the best known remedy for urinary tract infections, "cranberries contain a group of antioxidant compounds called proanthocyanidins. These natural agents prevent bacteria, including E. coli, from adhering to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract." And, as Kilham explains, "from a cardiovascular standpoint, cranberries offer a rich concentration of antioxidant flavonoids, which help to inhibit the oxidation of fats in the blood, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries."

Ocean Spray also says it answers 120-thousand questions each year on its consumer helpline.If you need a recipe or some last-minute entertaining tips involving cranberries, call the Ocean Spray holiday helpline. The company says that it answers 120,000 questions each year. The number is 1-800-662-3263.