Did you know that cranberries are one of the few fruits that are truly native to North America? Highly valued by Native Americans for their versatility, cranberries were used as food, medicine and even as a dye for fabrics. Their name comes from “craneberry” — the pilgrim word referring to the red head of the elegant Sandhill Crane.
Cranberries are available fresh, frozen, dried and juiced. Because they’re naturally tart and sour, many varieties of dried and frozen cranberries — as well as juice — have added sweetener. Fresh, frozen or dried cranberries can often be used interchangeably. Here are some ideas:
- Add a flair to side dishes, like in our Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Cranberries and our Bacon, Cranberry and Mushroom Rice Stuffing.
- Use fresh and frozen cranberries for sauces and salsas as well as quick breads and cakes. Cranberry Molasses Cake can be made with fresh or frozen cranberries.
- For a special treat this holiday season, Sugared Cranberries are fun and unique, not to mention fresh and delicious! Add them to pie for an extra striking presentation.
- Use fresh raw cranberries to temper sweet seasonal drinks. Serve our Cranberry Eggnog at brunch for a festive touch.
- Add fresh, frozen or dried cranberries to green salads, slaws or fruit salads.
- Dried cranberries are great for snacks and trail mixes like this Holiday Trail Mix.
- Don’t forget French toast, pancakes and waffles! How about a Sunday brunch featuring our fresh-from-the-oven Baked Panettone French Toast with Apples and Cranberries?
- Add dried cranberries to cookies and muffins. Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookies, Cranberry-Pistachio Oatmeal Lace Cookies, and Savory Cheese, Cranberry and Herb Mini Muffins are crowd pleasers, and they make great gifts!
- Cranberries make a sweet-tart addition to our favorite sauces and spreads. Package up Cranberry Barbecue Sauce or Cranberry Jam for fun holiday gift giving.
- Dried cranberries are chewy, tart and sweet, making them perfect in hot and cold cereals.
- Feature cranberries in appetizers like these Pigs in a Blanket with Cranberry-Mustard Dipping Sauce, and desserts like these Baked Apples Stuffed with Cranberries and Almonds.
- Add dried cranberries to savory side dishes such as Quinoa Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds and Green Beans with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Bacon.
Cranberry juice can often be substituted for orange juice or broth when baking and roasting. At Whole Foods Market, we have the real deal – straight, 100% pure cranberry juice (no sugar, fruit juice concentrate or high fructose corn syrup added). If you prefer a sweeter version, we’ve got naturally sweetened cranberry juice as well.
Are you crafty with cranberries? Got a great idea or a recipe? Let me know.