Although I always loved my mother’s Thanksgiving feast, there were certain elements I simply could not be thankful for. I adored Mom’s roasted turkey and out-of-this-world southern cornbread dressing, but the canned jellied cranberry sauce was simply not my favorite thing. Once I discovered fresh, frozen and dried cranberries, though, they became one of my seasonal favorite ingredients — not only for my Thanksgiving table. Come November, I crank up the cranberries in just about everything from quick breads, breakfast dishes and desserts to side dishes, winter salads and sauces. Cranberries are one of a handful of fruits that are truly native to North America. They’re naturally tart and sour, which is why sugar or other sweeteners are often added to cranberry juice, dried cranberries and cranberry sauce. Either fresh or frozen cranberries are perfect for making cranberry sauce or for adding to quick breads, muffins and cakes. Dried cranberries are particularly delicious in breakfast items, desserts, sauces, snacks, side dishes and salads.
These tips and ideas are meant to satisfy some incredible cranberry cravings this holiday season:
If you enjoy making your own holiday gifts, consider these wonderful Sugared Cranberries opens in a new tab. They are wonderful baked into pies or a holiday cheesecake.
Speaking of pies, this Spiced Apple Pie with Cranberries and Currants opens in a new tab is made with dried cranberries, crystallized ginger and a variety of warm, seasonal spices, and these Pear and Cranberry Lattice Tarts opens in a new tab are made with puff pastry, vanilla and cloves.
Add fresh or dried cranberries to gluten-free or traditional stuffing. A few ideas include Bacon, Cranberry and Mushroom Rice Stuffing opens in a new tab, Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts opens in a new tab, Quinoa Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds opens in a new tab, and Chestnut Stuffing opens in a new tab.
Sauté mushrooms, onions and celery. Add breadcrumbs and dried cranberries. Stuff into halved winter squash, such as acorn, small sugar-pie pumpkins or butternut squash. Here’s an idea for Wild Rice Stuffed Mini Pumpkins opens in a new tab and here’s another for Harvest-Stuffed Acorn Squash. opens in a new tab
Be sure to add fresh or dried cranberries to pancakes, waffles and baked goods such Cranberry Banana Oat Bread opens in a new tab, Cranberry Banana Quinoa Bread opens in a new tab, Savory Cheese, Cranberry and Herb Mini Muffins opens in a new tab (a perfect appetizer!), Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookies opens in a new tab, Chocolate-Drizzled Pistachio Biscotti opens in a new tab, or simply delicious Biscotti opens in a new tab made with cranberries.
Add cranberries to side dishes and salads such as Edamame Succotash opens in a new tab, Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Cranberries opens in a new tab, Wild Rice Salad with Pecans and Cranberries opens in a new tab, and Tangy Coleslaw with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts opens in a new tab and Green Beans with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Bacon opens in a new tab.
Add cranberries to sauces and glazes. I love these Cornish Hens with Cranberry-Orange Glaze. opens in a new tab
We’ve also got a variety of cranberry sauce recipes sure to add great flavor and beauty to any holiday table:
Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Chardonnay and Orange Zest opens in a new tab
If you love cranberry juice, Whole Foods Market has the real, straight deal - 100% pure cranberry juice with no added sugars, fruit juice concentrates, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. It’s totally tart and very refreshing. Try it mixed with a splash of sparkling water and a squeeze of fresh orange or lime juice. If tart is not your thing, we offer a variety of naturally sweetened cranberry juice as well.
Do you clamor for cranberries at holiday time? Got a favorite recipe? Let me know.