Cranberry Recipes for Thanksgiving Feasts + Health Benefits

Check out What's Thanksgiving Without Cranberries?!

by The Fit Fork at

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Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without cranberries on the table and I’m happy to be sharing a collection of cranberry recipes I put together for – you’ll find healthy cranberry recipes for Thanksgiving and the remainder of the holiday season.

12 Healthy Cranberry Recipes for the Holidays -

If you’ve wondered why we mainly eat cranberries in the fall, it’s because they are in season October, November and December – the primary holiday meal making months! However, this sweet-tart berry has so many health benefits that I like to eat them year round.  Many of these health benefits are attributed to the phytochemicals known as proanthocyandidins found in cranberries – this compound in cranberries inhibit bacteria from adhering and multiplying in the body – that’s why drinking cranberry juice is a natural remedy for urinary tract infections. Cranberries may lower incidence of cancer; studies show polyphenolic extracts from cranberries diminish the growth of prostate, lung and esophageal tumor cells – cranberries have the highest level of this powerful antioxidant than 20 fruits and vegetables tested. As an athlete, cranberries are also a great source of natural carbohydrates to fuel workouts. Health Benefits of Cranberries -

So, how can you enjoy cranberries year round when the store shelves are cleared out at the New Year? You can freeze fresh cranberries to use later in sauce, relish and other recipes. If you’re in a hurry, simply place original packing inside a heavy duty freezer bag and freeze for up to one year. If you have more time, I’d suggest rinsing and drying the cranberries and then freezing in a single layer on a baking sheet before placing in an airtight container. This allows you to grab a handful at a time without the berries being clumped together.

Do you have a favorite cranberry recipe? Please share!

I Know ‘Jack’ About Sauce – My Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite Recipe

As the end of October nears, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for one of the most sensory-overloaded food experiences of my life (to date) – the 2004 Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. This annual event, held in Lynchburg, Tennessee, features barbecue teams from all over the globe who come together to smoke, season and sear their best recipes to the delight of more than 25,000 spectators. Let me tell you, this shindig isn’t about tossing some hotdogs and burgers on the grill; it’s an epicurean extravaganza that is serious, serious business. I figured that out early on the first morning when the big rigs rolled in and started setting up some epic-sized barbeque pits. Plus, you’ve got to be a state or national champion just to get an invite!

Now, the particular year I was lucky enough to sample my way through what is fondly called “The Jack,” I was a guest of the famous whiskey distillery. Apparently they took a liking to my Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite (keep reading to find recipe below) and said, “come on down!”  I have to disclose that I am not a huge whiskey drinker, but it is pretty darn good in a recipe – just wait until I share my whiskey onion soup recipe!

Part of the barbeque boondoggle included a seat at the prestigious Kansas City Barbeque Society judging certification course, definitely the most gut-busting class I’ve ever taken.  I learned all the important details of upholding my responsibilities as an official  BBQ judge including spotting the various barbecue cooking methods, the nuances between regional barbeque flavors, and a deeper appreciation for the three main criteria of BBQ judging – appearance, taste and tenderness.

As you can imagine, this job required a lot of meat sampling. I feared falling short of the official oath I had just taken, so I made sure to polish off every last morsel of meat. Let me tell you, I was as stuffed as a turkey on Thanksgiving, but I did finish, finally waddling away four hours later with my official KCBS judge’s badge and certificate suitable for framing

kansas city barbeque society judge badge

KCBS Credentials! Wonder what would happen if I walked into Rudy’s or Salt Lick with by badge? Oh, and that’s ole Jack Daniels in the b&w photo.

The next day, I was actually still so full that I had to pass on my judging assignment. Instead of wallowing in my failure as a carnivorous critic, I hoofed it around the festival and watched the various teams battle it off tong to tong, slop mop to slop mop. After nearly a full day of this moderate exercise and inhaling the delicious smells, my appetite thankfully returned. Dashing back to the judging arena, I made it just in time for the ‘dessert’ category – all things are definitely made better with Jack Daniel’s Whiskey!

Now, next time you’re firing up the ‘cue, whip up a batch of my Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite, the perfect sauce for beef, chicken, pork or whatever you’ve got grilling!

Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite Recipe

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2/3 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup dark molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Melt butter in large saucepan, add oil. Raise temperature to medium and sauté onions until caramelizing and golden brown. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 40 minutes until thickened.