Monday, November 21

It's Peak Cranberry Season

When I was a kid and my parents took us out for breakfast, I always ordered a glass of cranberry juice. I loved the way it sparkled like rubies in a glass. But most of all, I loved its mouth-puckering tartness that sent shivers down my jaws when I drank it. (Even typing that sentence caused the same reaction.)

Now that I'm all grown up, I no longer drink cranberry juice. Maybe my taste preferences have changed, or maybe I've just become a wimp.

Fresh cranberries, however, I adore. And since cranberry season peaks between October and December, now is the perfect time to buy them.

In the fall, cranberries are used most commonly for cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving Day, yet they have so much more potential. They balance the sweetness of baked goods such as pumpkin muffins and banana bread. They add a jolt of flavor to homemade sweet apple sauce. And they perk up fall vegetables, such as butternut squash and sweet potatoes.

Cranberries are a powerhouse of nutrition as well. 1/4 cup of fresh cranberries contains only 12 calories and is loaded with health-promoting fiber, Vitamin C, and antioxidants.

So the next time you're at the market, pick up a bag of fresh cranberries, and let their mouth-tingling tartness take action.

Below are some of my favorite fresh cranberry recipes. What are yours? Please share them with us in the comment section.

cranberry smoothie

Cranberry, Banana, and Honey Smoothie

cranberry, pineapple, and walnut relish DSC_0002

Cranberry, Pineapple, and Walnut Relish

cranberry, raisin, and walnut apple sauce

Homemade Cranberry, Raisin, and Walnut Apple Sauce

Spinach and Apple Salad with Cranberry-Maple Dressin

Spinach and Apple Salad with Warm Cranberry-Maple Dressing

simple stuffed acorn squash DSC_0011

Festive Stuffed Acorn Squash

Spiced Sweet Potato, Cranberry, and Pecan Cake with Orange-Cinnamon Glaze  DSC_0337

Spiced Sweet Potato, Cranberry, and Pecan Cake with Orange-Cinnamon Glaze

banana cranberry mini muffins

Low-Fat Banana, Honey, and Cranberry Mini Muffins

Top photo of cranberries, credit FCC Muffet


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I feel so lucky to live in the part of New England that grows a huge percentage of the cranberry crop. It's fun to drive past the bogs in the Fall and watch the harvest, like seas of red with the cranberries floating at the surface.

Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator said...

Hi Susan, I have this unusual recipe for a cranberry chutney using Indian spices that is definitely a favorite!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Goody said...

Mock cherry pie made with fresh cranberries and raisins is wonderful. I think cherries used to be more expensive than cranberries and that was how the recipe developed. Times have changed, I guess.

Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} said...

I love cranberries. I like to drink them too. :) Now I have that pucker mouth you were talking about lol!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

lydia-They are a comforting and beautiful sight, indeed, not unlike New England's breath-taking foliage.

stephanie-I love anything with Indian spices, so I'll have to try this! Thanks, Stephanie!

goody-You always share the most interesting stories. I have never of that before. Cherries more expensive than cranberries? That is surprising! Thanks, Goody!

Eileen said...

I love fresh cranberries & also love pairing them with winter squash. For a decadent dessert, I love this recipe from King Arthur for Dark Chocolate Cranberry Pie:

Anonymous said...

I love my aunt's cranberry relish recipe: one bag of cranberries, one whole navel orange, 1/2 cup of sugar (or more to taste) and one or two tablespoons of orange liqueur... buzz everything up in a food processor and serve. Sweet, sour and sophisticated.

Magic of Spice said...

No more cranberry juice? :( Will always be my favorite juice and loved it as a child as you did. However agreed that the fresh cranberry is an amazing ingredient and all of your choices here are wonderful :)

Anonymous said...

My favorite recipe for fresh cranberries is my grandma's cranberry pie. It's always been my family's favorite holiday pie. I'd love to try your spiced sweet potato cake. That would be great for a holiday potluck I'm going to in a couple of weeks. --dawnb

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Sweet potato cake looks to die for! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Jeff!

Big Ugly Man Doll said...

I'm a HUGE cranberry fan; I love them in nearly everything - but my all-time fav has to be Cranberry Streusel Pie:

½ (15oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

FIT piecrust into a 9-inch pieplate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp
STIR together cranberries and next 4 ingredients, and spoon into piecrust.
WHISK together egg and remaining ingredients, and pour over cranberry mixture.
BAKE at 400 for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350, and bake 30 minutes.

Prep time: 10 min., Bake: 50 min.

It's as easy as it is yummy!

Rylie said...

My favorite cranberry recipe is one I only use at Thanksgiving but anxiously await all year! It is Bobby Flay's cranberry recipe with orange zest and juice along with fennel and it is delicious!