With bins and bags of the plump fresh fruit on display in food markets everywhere, cranberries are synonymous with the winter holidays. But it's not love at first bite when this tart and sometimes bitter fruit is simply eaten on its own, which is why most of the cranberry harvest is processed into juice, sauce and sweetened dried cranberries.
Cooks know, however, that raw or dried cranberries can't be beat as an ingredient in baking, side dishes, salads and desserts. The tartness of the chubby cranberry provides a tasty counterbalance to the sweetness in muffins and cookies, and adds pizzazz to side dishes such as rice or quinoa. Fresh cranberries will keep in the freezer for six months.
The ruby-red cranberry, like other berries, offers unparalleled health benefits, as well. The cranberry's antioxidant phytochemicals and condensed tannins are thought to be beneficial throughout the body in the fight against bacterial infections, including the urinary tract, kidneys, mouth and gums.
So don't limit yourself to cranberry relish or a Cosmopolitan cocktail once a year. Look for ways to enjoy healthy cranberries all year round. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Cranberry-Orange Relish With Mint
A food processor will chop up fresh cranberries for this delicious relish on short order.
Sage and Onion Chicken With Cranberry Rice
Enjoy all the flavors of Christmas all year round with this recipe.
Carrot, Cranberry and Walnut Salad
Bring this easy and inexpensive slaw to your next potluck gathering.
Cranberry Oatmeal Bars
These moist and chewy bars make a delicious light snack.
Wheat Berry Salad With Pineapple and Cranberries
A delicious way to incorporate whole grains into your diet.
Turkey Cranberry Turnovers
These savory pastries are another way to use up that leftover turkey.
Turkey Panini With Cranberry Chutney and Sunflower Seeds
Substitute peach or mango chutney for a delicious variation.
Come in from the cold and sip this delicious hot and fruity beverage.
Cranberry and Sage Cornbread
We love cornbread all year round.
Dried Cranberry Scones With Crystallized Sugar Crust
Substitute sour cherries for the cranberries for a delicious variation.