Pop! Exploding Cranberries! (WHB #57)
I'm on a roll. Last night I made cookies with vaporizing marshmallows; tonight I made rice with exploding cranberries. Ok, so they didn't explode. But they did pop open as they got hot, and if your face happens to be over the pot at the time, you may get splashed with hot cranberry juice in the eye. (I speak from personal experience.)
So this is my first foray into the Weekend Herb Blogging experience. Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen has organized this thing where every week, people pick any "herb, plant, vegetable or flower," cook something with it, write about it, and then one designated blogger writes a "round-up" of all the various recipes and shares them with everyone. Sounds cool so I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring. This week Kalyn herself is hosting.
For my first WHB recipe, I picked cranberries. I happen to have a big bag of them in my fridge (leftover from my apple-cranberry quickbread, which I just finished eating this evening). Also, they're in season, and I'm really into cooking with seasonal ingredients lately. So what is the cranberry (besides the name of a gay bar in Zurich)? Well, cranberry plants are creeping shrubs or vines that hug the ground and have small evergreen leaves. The plants have pink flowers, and their fruit is the berry that we eat. The cranberry is a close relative of the blueberry and huckleberry, both of which are also favorites of mine!
The name "cranberry" supposedly derives from the fact that cranes like to eat them, but it's also possible that it became called the "craneberry" because of the way the parts of the plant, just before its flowers bloom, resemble the head and neck of a crane. (I've gotta see this to believe it.) One of the neatest things about the cranberry is the way in which it's harvested, with the cranberry bogs being flooded with water. Living in Massachusetts, I've seen a few cranberry bogs, and they're pretty nifty looking.
Last but not least, cranberries have tons of health benefits! Cranberries contain a chemical that blocks pathogens that cause tooth decay. Drinking the juice often also decreases the risk of urinary tract infections, and plus, cranberries contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants. These are all great reasons to eat more of this tart but yummy fruit!
I decided to experiment a little bit with cranberries by incorporating them into a savory dish, rather than a dessert (which I think is rather overdone). I came up with the idea for making cranberry rice. This was an interesting concoction, probably not something I would make again, but it was a different and unexpected taste, which I always appreciate.
- 1 ½ cups long grain rice (I used brown rice)
- 2 ¼ cups water or chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 handful fresh cranberries
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until done, between 15-25 minutes depending on the kind of rice.