Ah, Christmas and its many souvenirs of joy, warmth, laughter, caring and sharing… Souvenirs that are sweet and tangy, just like cranberries, this month’s featured ingredient!
When the winter comes, I may start to miss my garden but there’s nothing quite like an evening walk in the crisp air filled with big snow flakes falling to the ground. Plus, there are many other things to keep me busy!
A year of challenges
If COVID-19 has greatly affected us artisans and makers by provoking the suspension of most in-person Christmas markets that make the gift shopping experience so special, nothing makes me more grateful than to see an online order come in. I take great pride in putting together personalized packages and always imagine the reaction of recipients when they open my box – hopefully a feeling of excitement, followed by the inhalation of the delicate scent, and then by a sigh of relief and a smile.
Even if I’m very careful not to use a lot of harmful packaging, the act of wrapping my products is always done with love and care. I find it important to pay attention to the details to ensure the best customer experience possible. Who knows, you may find a little surprise in your box!
Cooking with dedication
If I approach skincare products with health, nature and the environment in mind, I do the exact same when it comes to food, and I am as dedicated in the kitchen as I am in my “lab”.
I source local, organic food as much as possible, even if they’re not from my garden. I stay away from processed foods because I know my body doesn’t react well to them. I love the feeling of eating raw, fresh ingredients, but I also love to cook wholesome meals – I just try to limit the processing of ingredients so to still be able to taste what makes them unique.
During the holidays, one such ingredient is the cranberry.
Cranberries weren’t always part of my holiday rituals but nowadays, I wouldn’t miss them for anything in the world. Sweet and tangy, they just need to be on the table.
Cranberries are native to North America and once grew wild in the east side of the continent, consumed by many Indigenous nations. Today, Canada produces close to 33% of the world’s cranberries. In Quebec, a third of cranberries are produced organically, making it less harmful for the environment.
It’s also interesting to learn about the origin of the name “cranberry”, a story told on the website of Upper Canada Cranberries, a local Eastern Ontario producer:
“There are different opinions as to how the name 'cranberry' came into being. Better dictionaries say it is probably derived from the German word 'kranebere.' Folklore suggests this fruit was once called craneberry. Some say the cranberry blossom, perched on its curved stem, with its petals bent back fully at maturity, resembles the neck and head of the crane, a long-legged, long-necked bird. Others believe that the cranberry, or craneberry, was so named because it is a favourite food of that bird.”
A “superfood” and antioxidant
Cranberries are recognized for their antioxidant properties, namely its vitamin C and quercetin, which have an overall positive effect in our immune system. Do you know that both compounds are found in a higher ratio in cranberry than in blueberries? In addition, cranberries are high in anthocyanin, a flavonoid that gives the fruit a dark red colour and displays anti-inflammatory benefits.
Although the consumption of cranberry juice alone has been questioned with regards to its ability to treat urinary tract infections, cranberries have indeed been recognized by the medical world for their benefits in preventing and relieving urinary dysfunctions.
Did you say stocking stuffer?!
The antioxidants found in cranberries are also beneficial for your skin.
I’ve added this fruit to one of my soaps, using its fresh pulp as a gentle exfoliant. Containing bentonite clay and Shea butter, the Cranberry Soap cleanses the skin while keeping it hydrated. And it’s a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift thanks to its fresh and seasonal scent of Canadian Fir balsam with hints of orange and clove.
From the bottom of my heart, may this holiday season bring you peace, health and joy!