Cranberry Cooking

Baking, Cooking How-To, Dessert, How-To, In Season, Recipes, Seasonal Foods, Winter
on November 26, 2011
Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blacknburn

What with plane delays, snowstorms and roasting the turkey, the Thanksgiving holidays can be unpredictable. So, it’s a good thing there are cranberries.

Unlike other seasonal fruit that can be fickle (was it a good year for grapefruits? do the oranges have seeds? are the pomegranates ripe?), cranberries are impressively reliable. There’s no need to pick through piles of berries to determine which are the ripest, sweetest or juiciest. Just pluck a few bags from the pile in the produce section and toss them in the freezer or fridge.

Cranberries are also impressively versatile, flavoring not just Thanksgiving’s traditional cranberry sauce but also breads, salads, ice creams, and crumbles and adding a bright snap to anything they’re used in. Just remember they’re one of the tartest fruits there is, usually requiring a hefty dose of sugar. On the nutrition front, they’re high in antioxidants, low in calories and virtually fat free, making them a nutritious boon in just about anything you cook up this holiday.

If you’re ready to think outside the box—or more usually, the bag—here are some excellent ways to use the best berry of the season.

By Crescent Dragonwagon, a food writer in Saxtons River, Vt.