Each Thanksgiving I feel thankful for many things, one of which is no more canned cranberry sauce! I loved Mom’s roasted turkey and delicious southern cornbread dressing but not the red blob of jelly-like stuff. Ever since I’ve been on my own, fresh cranberries have graced my holiday table in several traditional dishes. In fact, come November, I crank up the cranberries in just about everything from breakfast to bread to a snack before bed, and lots in between too. Cranberries are one of the few fruits that are truly native to North America. Fresh, frozen, dried or juiced, cranberries are naturally sour and tart. That’s why dried cranberries and some varieties of frozen cranberries may be sweetened. The fresh and frozen varieties are perfect for making cranberry sauce and adding to muffins, cakes and quick breads. Dried cranberries are delicious in hot or cold cereal, as a garnish for salads, in sauces for grains and meats, and baked or roasted with casseroles. Don’t forget to add them to cookies and baked goods, pancakes and waffles, and sprinkle them over ice cream or favorite frozen desserts. Here are some ideas for cranking up the cranberries this holiday season:
- Get creative with stuffing or dressing by adding fresh or dried cranberries for a sweet-tart addition. Our Bacon, Cranberry and Mushroom Rice Stuffing uses fresh cranberries to kick it up a notch and our Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts is amazing.
- Add dried cranberries to cookies and bars. You will love these Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies and these Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookies.
- Cranberries pair beautifully with other fruits in baked goods and fruit salads. Bananas and cranberries are the stars of our gluten-free Cranberry Banana Quinoa Bread and cranberries and orange juice are the stars of our Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread.
- If you have never tried Cranberry Jam, you are in for a wonderful surprise. Try it on muffins, biscuits, bagels and toast, or spread it over baked warm brie, or over nut butter on favorite sandwich bread.
- Making homemade cranberry sauce is easy; you’ll appreciate the fresh difference with our Cranberry Sauce with Clementines and Cinnamon.
- Use fresh or frozen cranberries in traditional holiday pies and crisps. We love our Apple Cranberry Crisp.
- Cranberries make a wonderful addition to sauces for meats and fish. This recipe for Pork Chops with Cranberry Pear Chutney has a sweet/tart sauce that adds a lot of flavor.
- Add dried cranberries to pilaf dishes. This Quinoa Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds is savory and delicious.
- Add cranberries to salsa and relish. This Cranberry Relish with Dried Cherries is great as an accompaniment to roast turkey, sliced pork loin or chicken.
Remember, if you are a fan of cranberry juice, Whole Foods Market has the real deal - straight 100% pure cranberry juice (no sugar, fruit juice concentrate or high fructose corn syrup added). It’s tart for sure, but very refreshing when mixed with a splash of sparkling water and maybe a squeeze of fresh orange or lime juice. If you prefer a sweeter version, we’ve got naturally sweetened cranberry juice as well. Are you clever with cranberries at holiday time? Got a favorite recipe? I’d love to know.