Peak Season: September through December
Cranberries go hand in hand with the holiday season. Cranberry sauce is a must-have for most of us on Thanksgiving and they look lovely strung around the tree at Christmas time. But their value goes well beyond sauce or a simple decoration. Native to North American peat bogs, cranberries have a long history of health benefits. Flavonoid compounds found in cranberries may promote healthy arteries as well as benefiting the digestive system. Health advantages aside, these tiny berries pack explosive flavor that can jazz up any main dish or dessert. Cranberries freeze well and can be kept in your freezer in an airtight container, or the bag you bought them in, for months.
How to Enjoy A Few Quick Serving Ideas
- Take advantage of cranberries’ tartness by using them to replace vinegar or lemon when dressing your green salads. Toss the greens with a little olive oil and then add color and zest with a handful of raw cranberries.
- To balance their extreme tartness, combine fresh cranberries with other fruits such as oranges, apples, pineapple or pears. If desired, add a little fruit juice, honey or maple syrup to chopped fresh cranberries.
- For an easy-to-make salad that will immediately become a holiday favorite, place 2 cups fresh berries in your blender along with 1/2 cup of pineapple chunks, a quartered skinned orange, a sweet apple (such as one of the Delicious variety) and a handful or two of walnuts or pecans. Blend till well mixed but still chunky. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Dice 3-4 stalks of celery, add to the cranberry mixture and stir till just combined.
- Combine unsweetened cranberry in equal parts with your favorite fruit juice and sparkling mineral water for a lightly sweetened, refreshing spritzer. For even more color appeal, garnish with a slice of lime.
- Add color and variety to your favorite recipes for rice pudding, quick breads or muffins by using dried cranberries instead of raisins.
- Sprinkle a handful of dried cranberries over a bowl of hot oatmeal, barley, or any cold cereal.
- Mix dried cranberries with lightly roasted and salted nuts for a delicious snack.
Enjoy this delicious holiday relish as part of your healthiest way of eating any time of year. It makes a great complement to both chicken and turkey.
Prep and Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 1 16 oz package fresh cranberries
- 1 medium pear, diced
- 1 medium apple, diced
- 1/4 cup honey (or orange juice or maple syrup)
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
- Blend cranberries in a blender or food processor.
- In a bowl, combine blended cranberries and rest of ingredients.