How To Eat Fresh Cranberries
Using Fresh Cranberries
I’ve mentioned some of the health benefits of cranberries, and that they are an excellent food to add to your diet. Cranberries are the ultimate tart berry, being extremely high in citric acid. Because they are so tart, fresh cranberries really aren’t good eaten out of hand, unless of course, you’re trying to work up some major pucker power!
Buying And Storing Fresh Cranberries
Cranberries are in plentiful supply at the grocery stores in November and into December. Cranberry and Thanksgiving just go together!
Fresh cranberries are generally sold in plastic bags. They can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks, or put them in the freezer where they pretty much keep indefinitely.
Before using the fresh cranberries, throw out any that are off-color, or any that have dried out and shriveled up. Rinse the cranberries to make sure they are clean, and they’re ready to use.
The simplest way to use fresh cranberries is to cook them up into a sauce. Unfortunately, because they are so tart, it takes a lot of sweetener and that kind of cuts back on the health benefits from the cranberries. A couple of really simple recipes are:
CRANBERRY SAUCE OR JELLY RECIPE
1 lb. cranberries (about 1 quart)
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup honey for sauce (or 2 cups sugar for sauce or jelly)
Pinch of salt
Pick over the berries, wash and drain. Place in saucepan with water, cover and boil briskly for about ten minutes. If a smooth jelly is desired, put the berries in a food processor or blender and puree. If whole berries are preferred, omit this step. Add the honey or sugar and salt to the puree or whole cranberries, and continue cooking until eh sugar is completely dissolved. This should only take 4 or 5 minutes. The sauce can be served hot or cold. The pureed cranberry sauce can be poured into a 4-cup mold and will jell on cooling. This recipe makes approximately 3 ¾ cup of sauce or 3 cups of jelly.
OLD-FASHIONED CRANBERRY SAUCE
1 1/2 cups honey (or 2 cups sugar)
2 cups water
1 quart of fresh cranberries
Pinch of salt
Boil honey or sugar and water gently (barely boiling) for about 5 minutes. Add the fresh cranberries, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes without stirring. Allow to cool without removing lid. Makes about 1 quart of sauce.
Also, most bags of cranberries have recipes for sauce right on them, using the amount found in one bag as the correct portion.
Other Ways To Eat Cranberries Fresh
Fortunately, there are lots of other ways to eat cranberries besides in a sugary sauce. They can be cooked with apples, mixed with oatmeal, made into a relish, used in desserts of all kinds, even ice cream! So stay tuned for more ideas on how to eat fresh cranberries and for more fresh cranberry recipes.