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Cooking and Baking with Cranberries

Created January 10, 2017
Cooking and Baking with Cranberries
A holiday fruit with sass, crimson red cranberries adorn holiday tables in a variety of delicious ways.

Although fresh cranberries are only available October through December, cranberries can be enjoyed year-round as juice, sauces and relishes. 


Although cranberries are almost always prepackaged, look for firm, plump berries with a deep red color. Avoid shriveled or soft berries. 


Fresh cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for several months or in the freezer for a year. Remove any shriveled, pitted or soft cranberries before storing. 


Wash cranberries in cool water before using. When using frozen berries for recipes other than salads and relishes, thaw and drain before using. If the cranberries will be cooked, you can use them frozen. 

Cranberry Equivalents

  • Traditionally, fresh cranberries are sold in 12-ounce bags, the equivalent of about 3 cups of berries. 
  • Finely chopping 12 ounces of cranberries will yield about 2 1/4 cups of chopped berries. 
  • One serving of cranberries is 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, 1/4 cup dried cranberries or 3/4 cup 100% cranberry juice. 

Cranberry Cuisine 

  • Fresh cranberries have a pocket of air that allows them to bounce and float. 
  • To chop cranberries quickly and easily, use a mini-chopper or food processor. Be sure to pulse on and off to get even evenly sized pieces. You can also use a meat grinder. 
  • If you’re making cranberry sauce, cook the cranberries just until they “pop.” Cooking them longer will make them mushy and quite bitter. Adding 1 teaspoon butter or oil will help prevent them from boiling over. 
  • You can rehydrate dried cranberries by covering with water, or another liquid, in a microwavable bowl. Cover and microwave on High for 30 to 60 seconds; let stand 5 minutes. Or, pour very hot liquid over dried cranberries and let stand 20 minutes. 

Beyond Relish 

Go beyond cranberry relish and try rich red cranberries in other parts of the meal. 

  • Toss a few fresh cranberries into a salad. 
  • Combine with other sweeter fruits to create fruit desserts like crisps, cobblers and pies 
  • Stir dried cranberries into cooked cereals, add to your favorite snack mix, or add to quick breads 
  • Mix cranberry juice with your favorite mineral water for a refreshing beverage. 

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