In Season: Cranberries

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, December 14, 2010
Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Sauce - Image Courtesy Food Network Magazine

This fall and winter favorite makes a mean sauce, but has so much more potential. Read up on this red gem — it’s one of only three fruits native to the United States.

What, Where & When?
Cranberries grow in sandy bogs on low, trailing vines. They’re also called bounceberries (since the ripe ones bounce) and craneberries as the pink blossoms resemble the head of a crane.

These tart, scarlet-colored berries are mainly grown commercially in New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Quebec. Cranberries are available between October through December.

Nutrition Facts
One cup of whole cranberries contains 46 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 22 percent of your daily recommendations for vitamin C. These berries are also packed with flavonoids like anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which may play a role in fighting leukemia, breast, lung and colon cancer.

What To Do With Cranberries
Besides raw, this berry is sold as juice (sweetened and unsweetened), dried (typically sweetened) and as sauce and jelly. Unsweetened cranberry juice is very bitter and it’s best to mix it in equal parts with another juice like orange, grape or apple juice. Toss sweetened, dried cranberries into a bed of greens, grains (like wheatberries or couscous) or in a trail mix. They’re also great to bake with (fresh or dried) – in muffins, breads and cakes.

Although you can buy pre-made cranberry sauce, it’s easy to make your own.

Shopping Tip: Fresh berries are typically packaged in 12-ounce bags. Look for plump, firm and brightly colored berries. Discard shriveled or discolored berries. Wrap and refrigerate for about a month or freeze for up to 6 months.

Recipes to Try:

TELL US: How do you use cranberries during the holidays?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (2,017)

  1. […] Go here to read the rest: In Season: Cranberries […]

  2. […] Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog [expanded by] Posted in Healthy Eating […]

  3. SusieBeeonMaui says:

    A "healthified" Nantucket Cranberry Pie (which is actually a cake):

  4. JoJo says:

    I have a delicious recipe for Cranberry Salsa….So good!

    • feastonthecheap says:

      Do share JoJo! I love the sound of that. I just whipped up a Cranberry Pear Sauce that's a wintry take on applesauce. It pairs fantastically with lamb or pork chops or it can be eaten plain for a healthier dessert. I had an XXL bag of cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving and I just couldn't let them go to waste!

      • JoJo says:

        1 Bag of Cranberries
        1/2 Red Onion
        1/2 Bunch of Cilantro
        1 Jalepeno (seeded)
        1 Cup Sugar
        1 Tsp of Cumin
        1 Package of Cream Cheese (regular or reduced fat)

        Blend Cranberries in food proccesor – put in bowl
        Blend Red Onion, Cilantro, Jalepeno in food proccessor – add to bowl of cranberries
        Mix in Sugar, Cumin
        Pour over Cream Cheese
        Serve with your choice of crackers – Enjoy!!

  5. Sharon says:

    Fresh Cranberry Relish

    1 pkg cranberries semi frozen
    1 apple cored & cut in pieces
    1 orange zested and cut & separated, rind tossed out
    1 cup sugar
    run cranberries, apple, orange through a food processor, add zest and sugar
    stir and let sit in refrigerator for 2 days, if it lasts. Delicious been in my family for 80 years plus

    • SAS says:

      One of my favs at Thanksgiving, too. I remember my Mother making it when I was young.
      Actually — I love it anytime of the year. Thanks for the memory. I'll have to try it out on my husband.

  6. Denise says:

    I love to add cranberries and water chestnuts to my Turkey dressing. It adds a special crunch and zing!

  7. LeeF says:

    I make cranberry sauce every year with lots of orange juice, 1/2 the sugar and a dash of cinnamon. It's tangy and a family favorite. I thought of a new use for cranberries yesterday when I bought some cinnamon spiced sweet potato chips and decided to try a cran-apple dip of applesauce mixed with my homemade cranberry sauce. Crunchy and delicious. LeeF

  8. Emily says:

    I use cranberries (dried and juice) in lots of things. I add dried cranberries to a variety of cookies, from chocolate chip to lemon coconut. I also use cranberry juice (along with 7up) to make a holiday punch.

  9. Chef' Bob says:

    I/We Love Cranberries and I have developed several of my own Recipes using Cranberries like using the Dried ones in my Sweet Potato Casserole and In my Dressing/Stuffing and many other ways.

    Chef' Bob Lippincott

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