What to do with Fresh Cranberries…

I received fresh cranberries in our organic fruits & vegetables box this week and I was perplexed.  I’ve never dealt with fresh cranberries and I’m so busy, I just wanted something quick to do.

bag of organic cranberries

Jonathan’s Organic Cranberries

So I did what any modern housewife would do, and I asked the Facebook hive-mind. It turns out, cranberries are very popular. I got so many great responses that I had to share them here.  In the interest of making this useful for the readers, I’ve broken this into sections, starting with SEVEN cranberry sauce recipes! and followed by a variety of ideas.

Note that I have not yet managed to try any of these recipes. If you have a favorite, please add it in the comments! 

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry Sauce from allrecipes.com

  •  One of our friends shared his recipe, Sooooo much better than canned: Pretty much add sugar, water, and a little orange peel and boil boil boil. super easy. But then he shared a simpler one from the web that he likes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cranberry-sauce/

This basic homemade cranberry sauce is the perfect topping for Thanksgiving turkey.

  • One of our fellow green mom bloggers recommends her recipe, which only has 4 ingredients and takes 10 minutes to make: http://www.captainfussybuckets.com/2013/10/easy-homemade-cranberry-sauce/
  • Brittany from the Pistachio Project has a Sugar free cranberry sauce. She uses stevia and apple juice concentrate: http://www.pistachioproject.com/2011/11/sugar-free-cranberry-sauce.html
  • Another friend missed the “easy” part of my request, but shared a very interesting sounding cranberry sauce.  Michelle doesn’t do any cooking the “easy” way: Cranberry Sauce with Cherries, Marsala & Rosemary from Epicurious. 
  • One of my college friends shared her very simple technique for cranberry relish – blend in food processor with sugar, orange zest, and a little squeeze of the orange. Yummy with turkey. 
  • A friend from church suggests this recipe: Grind them with one orange rind on and 1/2 cup of sugar. This makes a yummy cranberry relish. When I was a kid my mom used a meat grinder. Sooooo just dated myself! You may want to try the food processor!
  • A close friend from college posted the recipe she used the first time I ever heard of cranberry sauce not from a can: Add 1 bag cranberries chopped to one orange w/peel chopped, ~1 cup sugar, macerate on counter for ~6-8 hours, add more sugar as desired & refrigerate until you want to eat.

Cranberry breads and muffins

This was a very popular suggestion:

Apple Cranberry Bread from www.tasteofhome.com

Cranberries lend a burst of tart flavor and bright color to this quick bread!

Additions to pies

  • A college friend suggested: “you can put the chopped cranberries in a pecan pie, it helps cut the sweetness a little”
  • One of my mom friends (who also happens to be an ocean research scientist) says: “add them to an apple pie — and voila! cranberry apple pie! YUM!”

New and Different Cranberry Recipes

Cranberry salsa – This is a new one!  Our friend says: “just throw them in a blender, raw with some onion, cilantro and spicy peppers… maybe a little lime and sugar. It was soooooooooooooo good on sandwiches or spooned right on poultry.” 

Cranberry Chutney – From one of my sorority sisters:  Macerate cranberries. Heat tablespoon of oil in saucepan, then add Indian spices like coriander, fennel, cumin seeds, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, etc. Add some sliced chilies (to desired heat). Cook spices for about a minute (when they get fragrant). Add a few ounces of water and sugar (to taste) and boil. Add some ginger and then the cranberries. Simmer and serve. ( I don’t have measurements for most of this. I do it by smell and how hot Nikhil will let me make it.)

Cranberry Candy Snacks – Make a simple syrup and gently simmer them in it for 1 minute. Remove right away and cool. You don’t want them to burst, just soften slightly. Dry on a cookie sheet over waxed paper for half an hour or so. Fill a smaller cookie sheet with superfine sugar.
Place a few berries at a time into the sugar sheet and roll them around until coated. Remove to a third sheet to dry completely. They’ll be sparkling crystalline globes of tart juice. These are addictive to snack on, but you have to eat them or share them in a day or two. They are delicate as snowflakes.
Candied Cranberries – Another sorority sister suggested: Candied cranberries are also awesome. Soak in 1:1 sugar syrup overnight, then drain by the spoonful and roll in superfine sugar (or regular sugar, in a pinch.) Let them dry, and they are moist and tart inside and crispy and sugary on the outside. This is a very important thing to do with fresh cranberries.
Another sorority sister chimed in: ” I ditto the candied cranberry suggestions. un.be.lieve.able.”

Cranberry Drinks

  • My best friend from high school suggests: Freeze some in ice cube trays with water. Looks pretty in drinks.
  • One of our New Years Friends says: Steep them in vodka to make aquavit

If you haven’t gotten enough cranberry ideas, one of our fellow green bloggers also did a post on what to do with fresh cranberries

Happy Greening!


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  1. Karen Sadler says

    I add fresh cranberries to my pancake batter. I tend to cut them in half, sprinkle with sugar, microwave them for 30 seconds or so then stir before adding them. Yummy and it also turns the batter slightly pink!

  2. Cranberries are one of my top three favorite fruits….you can use them in anything, almost! Thanks for these recipes…and thanks for sharing mine!

  3. Great post full of ideas!

  4. Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your site is very helpful.
    Thanks for sharing!

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