What’s red, shiny, so bright you’d even say it glows?  Trick question (no, it’s not Rudolph’s nose).  It’s that other Christmas hallmark, the cranberry!  Good for your body — full of fiber, vitamin C and manganese — cranberries are also a visual delight. DIY crafters have become increasingly creative from the day when many of us remember stringing cranberries and popcorn for tree decoration. Here are some cranberry decoration ideas:


Why settle for plain, unadorned cut flowers when you can add a splash of holiday color by filling your clear glass vases with cranberries?  The berries help hold the arrangement — whether evergreen branches or white roses.  Or, use cranberries around the base of a candle — layering them over pure, white Epsom salt to intensify the redness.


Likewise, cranberries can be used to give wreathes or mistletoe a kick of color. Variations are as endless as the imagination — use all berries, or add sprigs of mistletoe or other greenery.  Start with a foam loop, and use toothpicks to hold cranberries fast.  Get creative with patterns but don’t go so cranberry crazy that you forget to leave some room to attach a hook so it can be hung properly.

Of course, these ideas presume that you’ll have any cranberries left over, after you’ve made delicious crisps, stews, breads and salads.  Fresh cranberries are also great for juicing — or experiment with freezing them and using them with your Yonanas® frozen fruit processor.

Cranberries contain  proanthocyanidins which may help prevent (not treat) urinary tract infections.  Lab analyses suggest these protective compounds may also help suppress herpes outbreaks.  Another cranberry compound – quercetin –may help reduce Alzheimer’s risk and alleviate prostatitis.  Finally, cranberries might also help  promote dental health by hindering bacteria from adhering to tooth enamel.

Published December 1, 2013