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Cooking with Cranberries: Traditional or with a Twist

This year, I’m in the mood for cranberries all the time, and I’m getting creative with how to sneak them in! Here are some unexpected ways to use cranberries.

Spicy Cranberry Sauce
 Did you know that cranberries are one of the few fruits that are truly native to North America? Fresh, frozen, dried or juiced, cranberries are naturally tart and sour. That’s why dried and frozen varieties are often sweetened. From condiments to salads to baked goods, here are a few popular ways to enjoy cranberries:

  • Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread or Cranberry Nut Bread. (Tip: Use cranberry juice in place of orange juice. Cranberry juice can often be used as a substitute for milk or fruit juice in recipes like this.)

  • Cranberry sauce is an unsung hero of Thanksgiving. Keep to tradition with our Classic Cranberry Sauce, add some heat like in this Spicy Cranberry Sauce recipe or experience the tart fresh flavor of raw cranberries with Raw Cranberry Sauce.

  • If you love cranberry juice, you’ll appreciate Pear and Cranberry Lattice Tarts. They use flakey puff pastry and are flavored with cranberry juice, vanilla and cloves.

  • Add fresh or dried cranberries to leafy green salads or sides like this Cranberry Kale dish. Or make vinaigrette with fresh cranberries by puréeing olive oil, a small handful of fresh cranberries and a little vinegar (red wine or golden balsamic) along with a bit of garlic, dried mustard, salt and pepper. 

  • Entertaining? Fresh Cranberry Punch brings the party!

Cranberry KaleThis year, I’m in the mood for cranberries all the time, and I’m getting creative with how to sneak them in! First on my list are this unforgettably rich and sweet-tart Cranberry Eggnog and this Sugared Cranberry and Lemon Curd Pie. Here are some more unexpected ways to use cranberries:

  • Sprinkle dried cranberries or spread cranberry relish or sauce on a cheese sandwich. Sharp cheddar, soft Brie or goat cheese, or tangy Manchego are good matches.

  • Stir in a handful of dried cranberries to chili while cooking. The sweet-tart taste is surprisingly good when paired with the spiciness of the chili.

  • Add fresh or dried cranberries to breakfast favorites like hot or cold cereal, or fold into pancake and waffle batter.

  • Use fresh cranberries as a cookie topper, too, like in these Goat Cheese Sandies with Cranberry and Orange.

  • Give Sugared Cranberries as a gift, serve them at a party, decorate the top of a luscious cake or pie, or spoon them over a cheesecake, a wheel of Brie or ice cream.

  • Serve Brie en Croûte with Apples and Cranberries as an appetizer or dessert.

  • Mix chopped fresh or dried cranberries with a nut butter and honey for sandwiches or to spread on toast or crackers.

  • The easy sauce of cranberry and Dijon mustard is a wonderful seasonal accompaniment for cocktail franks in Pigs in a Blanket with Cranberry-Mustard Dipping Sauce.

Fresh Cranberry PunchAre you a traditionalist or an innovator — what’s your favorite cranberry recipe?

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