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. Charlie says:

    I put cranberries, wheat germ, flax seed meal, iodine, yogurt oJ, blueberries, bananas, pineapple, coconut and cherries in my blender every morning for a great smoothie to start my day. I use mostly frozen fruit, it is absolutely the yummiest and gives me a good protein to jumpstart my metabolism for the day.

  2. Karen says:

    I make homemade appleasuce and add cranberries this time of year. The applesause needs more sugar but tastes great.

  3. Janet Westrich says:

    We really like my cranberry orange quick bread. So easy to make. It's lower in calories as I use canola oil instead of butter or margarine. It has a big taste even so!

  4. SAS says:

    I bought 5 bags on sale at Thanksgiving to freeze. I like to boil 1/2 bag, cool, chop, add vanilla yogurt, and place in freezer. Stir every 10-15 min until firm. Remove from freezer and pulverize with a hand mixer. Stir & return to freezer for a few minutes. Spoon into a dessert cup & top with whipped cream. Makes a delightful dessert or summer treat.

  5. Heidi says:

    We make cranberry relish every year – a bag of fresh cranberries (about 4 cups), 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of nuts (we like walnuts or pecans) and the zest of one orange. I usually throw in the center of the orange too, for a little extra juice. Then just chop it all up in the food processor and that's it. It's fantastic!

  6. A. J. says:

    Easy, and tasty
    1 can Ocean Spray Cranberries (whole berry type)
    1 can small can of Crushed Pineapple
    2 pkgs. of Cream Cheese (softened)
    1 pkgs of Carr's WaterTable Crackers

    Mix Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry with pineapple (crushed) (make sure to drains off the excess juice. Two packages of cream cheese that is softened. Spread cream cheese into botton of oblong dish…..spread out but not to thin. Pile on the Cranberry and Pineapple mixture on top. Refrigerate until firm again. Just before serving sprinkle on sliced Almonds for color. Serve with water crackers. Everyone seems to really enjoy it!

    If you want to make it a little sweeter and use as a toping on Cheese cake add 1 can of Comstock Cherry Pie filling…..mix, Cranberry Whole berries, Pineapple and Cherries…..and serve with Cheesecake. It is really really good.

  7. gloria w says:

    i tried making a cranberry-chili pepper thanksgiving sauce but my hand slipped when i was adding vanilla extract and it was too dessert-y, so i changed it into a sauce for vanilla ice cream, for which it turned out to be terrific. lucky save!

  8. pat says:

    I like to add whole cranberries to my pot roast for the last 40 minutes of cook time, It adds a great flavor to the gravy. You need to add a little sugar to taste to the pot .

  9. Joan says:

    Cranberries, orange, apple and a little honey in the food processor. Might need to add a little Splenda for sugar free.

  10. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.Keep working ,great job!

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