There are so many delicious ways to use fresh cranberries, and this collection of 35 Fresh Cranberry Recipes is living proof! You’ll learn all about this incredible fruit, including nutrition information and health benefits, and will find a variety of sweet and savory recipes for the entire family!
I truly love this time of year. It’s certainly hectic, but when I’m able to relax and soak up all of the holiday spirit, there’s nothing like it!
Cranberries are fruits grown on evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the genus Vaccinium. Blueberries, lingonberries and huckleberries are also members of this genus.
They’re one of the only fruits native to North America. The fruit is small, hard and deep red in color, and has a very sour, bitter flavor.
The fruit was named “cranberry” by Dutch and German settlers. They thought the flower of the cranberry resembled the head and bill of a crane, and dubbed it “crane berry”.
When are cranberries in season?
The cranberry growing season is from April to November. The major production areas for cranberries are located in the northern part of the United States, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.
How do cranberries grow?
Cranberries are very unique and are grown unlike any other fruit. They grow on low-lying vines similar to strawberries, and have small evergreen leaves. The berries are larger than the leaves, and turn from white to dark red when ripe.
They’re grown in beds (otherwise known as bogs or marshes) layered with sand, peat (moss), gravel and clay. Commercial bogs use water bodies like ponds, wetlands, ditches and plumes to provide a natural habitat for wild life and plants.
The plants thrive in well drained soil that’s acidic with a low pH.
Can cranberries be eaten raw?
Yes, cranberries may be eaten raw, but they are quite tart all on their own. They’re great in salsas, relishes, salads and even smoothies. It’s best to combine them with sweet ingredients or add sugar to tame the tartness.
Health benefits of cranberries
Cranberries are very nutritious and include a wide variety of health benefits. In fact, they’re a superfood and even outrank almost every fruit and vegetable in disease-fighting antioxidants, including strawberries, broccoli, blueberries and cherries to name a few.
Fresh cranberries are composed of 90% water, with the other 10% composed mostly of carbohydrates and fiber. They’re low in sugar — which is why they’re so tart!
They’re a great source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins C, E, K1 and magnesium and copper.
All of us have probably heard that we should drink cranberry juice to help prevent bacterial infections like urinary tract or yeast. According to my research, 100% cranberry juice is the best kind to drink, but cranberry supplements are your best bet. Of course, anything of this nature should be discussed with your doctor.
Consuming cranberries regularly may lower the risk of inflammation which can improve gut health and protect against chronic diseases.
Fresh cranberries are sold in plastic bags, so I try to inspect the bags carefully and choose one with the least amount of discolored or bruised berries.
How long do fresh cranberries last?
Store the cranberries in the original bag in the fridge and use within a week or so, or freeze for up to one year. When ready to use, be sure to rinse the berries well and discard any discolored or bruised berries.
Cranberries may be made into cranberry sauce straight from the freezer or thawed first.
How to eat fresh cranberries
Past cranberry sauce, a lot of people have no idea what to do with fresh cranberries. They’re great in sweet recipes like cocktails, pie, fruit crisp and quick breads, and make a great compote or sauce for roast pork tenderloin, chicken, baked camembert and more!
If you love produce, be sure to check out the following recipe round ups:
If you have no clue what to make with fresh cranberries, this list of fresh cranberry recipes should give you a few ideas. Fresh cranberries can be used in desserts, compotes, sauces, cocktails, savory recipes and more!
Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce
Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce is an easy homemade cranberry sauce that's tart, sweet and bursting with fresh orange flavor. It's made with just a few ingredients and cooks up in just 15 minutes!
Cranberry Orange Bread is an easy quick bread that’s perfect for the holiday season. Serve it for brunch on Christmas or Thanksgiving, turn it into a special after school snack or have it for dessert – it’s always the perfect choice!
Cranberry Orange Rolls are the perfect holiday breakfast! Filled with sweet and tart cranberry jam and topped with a delicious, sweet orange icing, these perfectly gooey and tender Orange Sweet Rolls are a family favorite.
Celebrate cranberry season with these dense, cakey white chocolate cranberry donuts. It’s a baked glazed donut recipe that brings together a smattering of tart cranberries and a delicious white chocolate glaze.
This Cranberry Walnut Roasted Acorn Squash is the perfect Fall side dish, and perfect for Thanksgiving. The roasted onion and fresh cranberries give it warm bursts of delicious flavor, and the walnuts add a fabulous crunch!
Fresh, maple roasted cranberries and roasted butternut squash are mixed with soft spinach leaves and creamy goat cheese to create a new favorite salad! This roasted butternut squash salad with cranberries is perfect for the holidays or any day!
This easy baked cranberry chicken recipe with rosemary is your ticket to a comforting, show-stopping dinner! You’ll love the bold flavors from fresh minced garlic, rosemary, and citrus. Fresh cranberries make a festive, luscious and juicy topping.