Cranberries are a holiday tradition that dates back to the Native Americans who taught the Pilgrims which crops were best to plant. Cranberries, being native to North America, were among those crops and likely eaten at the first Thanksgiving feast. Although likely not sweetened or made into a sauce, cranberries have remained a traditional Thanksgiving food that we have come to adore in sauces, stuffing, baked goods, side dishes and salads. Fresh, frozen and dried cranberries are often used interchangeably in recipes.
A holiday meal is not authentically “holiday” without cranberry sauce. We especially love the homemade recipes. The difference in taste and freshness from canned varieties makes them well worth it. Our favorites include:
Orange liqueur, orange zest, ground ginger and crystallized ginger add pizzazz to Cranberry Sauce with Candied Ginger opens in a new tab.
Apple juice, honey and walnuts provide a nice, simple spin to Cranberry Sauce with Walnuts opens in a new tab.
Spices, sugar and dry Chardonnay flavor Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Chardonnay and Orange Zest opens in a new tab.
Holiday Berry Sauce opens in a new tab pairs cranberries with blueberries and raspberries for a unique twist on traditional cranberry sauce.
Dried and sweetened and fresh or frozen cranberries are delicious in a variety of holiday baked goods. We love these seasonal Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies opens in a new tab and this luscious Cranberry Orange Tea Bread opens in a new tab, great for breakfast, snack or afternoon tea. If you’d like to try a wonderful slant on a traditional English confection, look no further than our Cranberry Bakewell Tart opens in a new tab. It’s studded with tart fresh cranberries and baked in a whole wheat almond crust.
Whatever your preference for stuffing, adding cranberries provides beautiful color and a burst of holiday flavor. We think these are fabulous:
Basmati and wild rice, dried cranberries, herbs and walnuts make this Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts opens in a new tab a holiday treasure.
Crisp bacon, mushrooms and tart fresh cranberries make our Bacon Cranberry and Mushroom Rice Stuffing opens in a new tab a wonderful alternative to bread or cornbread based stuffing.
Dried cranberries add zing and a hint of tart-sweetness to side dishes of greens, squash and other vegetables. Our faves include Green Beans with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Bacon opens in a new tab and Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Cranberries opens in a new tab, flavored with caramelized onions.
One of my personal favorite ways to gobble up cranberries is by sprinkling them over leafy green salads or adding them to slaw. If you’re a salad lover, you’ll want to try our Raw Sweet Potato and Cranberry Salad opens in a new tab. It’s truly delicious, sweet and mellow. It could easily become a holiday favorite.
What are your all-time, best-loved cranberry recipes? Do you prefer fresh, frozen or dried? Let me know in the comment section below.