Using Cranberries in Recipes
While fresh cranberries and cranberry sauce just seem to go with Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can enjoy their flavor all year, thanks in part to both frozen and dried cranberries.
Fresh cranberries are harvested in the fall and are usually only available fresh in stores from October through the end of the year. Learning how to store fresh cranberries to extend their quality will allow you to make your favorite cranberry recipes any time you have a craving.
To keep cranberries fresh, store them in the refrigerator in their original plastic bag. They’ll keep for up to a month this way.
Can You Freeze Fresh Cranberries?
Thankfully, cranberries can be frozen for up to a year. When you’re ready to use frozen cranberries for cooking, it’s usually best not to thaw them first. For baking, follow the directions in each recipe for thawing recommendations.
Why should you stock up and freeze cranberries? So you can easily make cranberry muffins in May, pie in July, and a smoothie in September. Because who wants to wait until the end of the year to enjoy the tart taste of cranberries?!
How are Dried Cranberries Made?
- Fresh cranberries are harvested from bogs in North America from September through November.
- These berries are sorted, washed, and frozen to help retain their quality.
- Most are sliced to release their natural tartness then sweetened to balance out the flavor.
- Cranberries are then dried to remove excess moisture.
Using Dried Cranberries in Place of Fresh
You can use dried cranberries in recipes that call for fresh cranberries, but there is a difference in measurement. If a recipe calls for 1 cup fresh cranberries, use ¾ cup of sweetened dried cranberries instead.
Based on a few studies:
- Fruits like cranberries get most of their antioxidant properties from flavonoids. Toss some dried ones into your trail mix or eat them by the handful.
- Dried cranberries may have a positive impact on natural gut bacteria. That’s a good thing. Stir some into soft goat cheese and eat with whole grain crackers.
- Cranberries are a great way to lower inflammation. Add some to your morning oatmeal.
- Naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free, and a good source of fiber and vitamin C, cranberries are a good choice any time of the year.
Read on for recipes using cranberries in recipes.
Chicken Salad Apple-tizers
Stir together ¼ C. vegetable-flavored cream cheese spread, ¼ C. mayo, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp sea salt, and ½ tsp. black pepper until creamy. Using a Cook’s Knife, finely chop 1 T. onion, ½ C. celery, and 1½ C. rotisserie chicken; use a Food Chopper to chop ¼ C. dried sweetened cranberries and stir everything into the cream cheese mixture. Core 4 apples and cut into ½ʺ crosswise slices with a Regular Paring Knife; brush with lemon juice and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. Cut lettuce leaves into small pieces and lay pieces on each apple slice. Add a scoop of the chicken mixture and top with a pecan half.
Spicy Cranberry Spread
1 (12 oz.) pkg. fresh cranberries
1 C. sugar
6 green onions, chopped
⅓ C. chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
Using Rada’s Serrated Food Chopper, coarsely chop the cranberries and dump into a bowl with the sugar; stir until well combined. Chop the green onions, cilantro, and jalapeño and add to the bowl, stirring to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
After chilling, drain the cranberry mixture. Spread the cream cheese on a plate and spoon the drained mixture over the top. Serve with crackers.
Cranberry Delight Dump Cake
Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly grease a Rada 9×13ʺ Cake Pan. Evenly pour 1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple (not drained) into the pan. Drop ⅔ C. orange marmalade by tablespoonful evenly over the pineapple. Scatter 1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen cranberries (thawed) over the fruit, followed by 1 (16.5 oz.) pkg. pineapple cake mix (dry), 1 tsp. ground cardamom, and 2 tsp. cinnamon-sugar. Drizzle with ½ C. melted butter. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden brown. Serves 12
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