It’s National Eat A Cranberry Day today! Not to be confused of course with National Cranberry Day (Nov. 21st) or National Cranberry Relish Day (Nov. 22nd). Not confusing at all ;)You can celebrate Eat A Cranberry Day by eating a handful of cranberries (pucker up!) or by making these Cranberry Hemp Bites.
I am a big fan of dried cranberries for everything: cookies, homemade protein bars, oatmeal, homemade trail mix, and for just plain snacking. I decided to use dried cranberries as part of the base for these hemp protein bites to add some flavor and zing to the bites. It did the trick! These might look a little funny (hemp protein tends to do that) but these taste awesome. I did use sweetened cranberries in this recipe since I have a hard time finding good tasting unsweetened ones around here. But there are some good brands of low-sugar dried cranberries that aren’t loaded with artificial sweeteners, too. It just might take some searching to find them.
All of the cranberry celebration days naturally fall close to Thanksgiving, but you can enjoy the health benefits of cranberries year round. Fresh cranberries are usually hard to find other times of the year, but you can freeze bags of fresh cranberries to save for later, or you can indulge in dried cranberries any time. Just be sure to check the label for added sugar if you are watching your sugar intake. Here are just a few of the awesome health benefits of cranberries:
- Naturally low in sugar
- Low in calories
- Polyphenols: antioxidants that may promote cardiac health and reduce cancer growth
- Quercitin: antioxidant that helps with seasonal allergies, inflammation,
- Fiber: promotes bowel health
- Vitamin C: reduced inflammation and promotes immune health
- Vitmain E: antioxidant vitamin that reduces inflammation
- Prevents bladder infections by keeping bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall
- May prevent tooth decay by preventing bacteria from sticking to teeth
- Many other vitamins and trace minerals with health benefits, like Vitamin K, manganese, and phytonutrients
As with many other foods, there are some cases when eating more cranberries isn’t a great idea. People on certain blood thinning medications and people who have a history of kidney stones may need to avoid eating too many cranberries (always check with a doc!)
Cranberry Hemp Bites
Gluten free, vegan; Free of: eggs, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup hemp hearts
- 6 Tablespoons hemp protein powder
- Dash salt
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (+ more if dough is dry)
- 2 Tablespoons SunButter
- In a food processor or small blender, process the dried cranberries until chopped fine. Don’t process it into a paste for this recipe
- In a medium bowl, stir together the hemp hearts, hemp protein powder, and salt. Add the chopped cranberries and stir to mix.
- Mix in the maple syrup and the SunButter and stir until a sticky dough forms. If it seems dry, mix in some maple syrup a little at a time until a sticky dough forms.
- Roll dough into 8-10 balls and store in the fridge.