Like stockings hung over your fireplace, cranberries may appear in your home mostly around the holidays. But if you’ve discovered that cranberries withstand freezer storage very well, you may be eager to add cranberries not only to the baked goods and sauces they’re so well associated with, but also to use raw cranberries in snacks, meals and drinks. Cranberries are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, and their rich, dark red color is guaranteed to enliven the aesthetics of any dish.
Rinse your firm cranberries under cool water right before you’re ready to eat them. Throw out any cranberries that may be discolored, bruised, soft or shriveled.
Begin your day with raw cranberries by adding them to cold cereal or raw oatmeal. Cranberries also can be stirred into scrambled eggs, but do so toward the end of the cooking. Generally, the longer cranberries are cooked or baked, the more bitter they become.
Sprinkle raw cranberries into hot and cold salads at lunchtime. Cranberries can add flavor to Caesar and other healthy salads as well as pasta dishes.
Make an afternoon snack with raw cranberries by spreading some cream or goat cheese on a bagel crisp and topping it with the raw fruit. Or stir some cranberries into vanilla or fruit-flavored yogurt.
Add raw cranberries to a dinnertime rice pilaf for a nutritious and eye-popping effect. The fruit also can enliven sautéed vegetables, casseroles and slow-cooker meals.
Indulge your sweet tooth by mixing raw cranberries into ice cream or using the little red gems to decorate cakes and cupcakes.
Enjoy raw cranberries plain but with a light, sugary coating to counteract their tartness. Dissolve 2 cups sugar into 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium heat. Then add the cranberries and coat them in the mixture. Put the saucepan in the refrigerator and let the cranberries soak up the sugary syrup overnight. Drain the syrup the next day through a colander. Pour some fine sugar into a shallow bowl or plastic bag. Roll the cranberries in the sugar, a few at a time, until they are covered. Set the cranberries on parchment paper until they are dry.
End your day on a smooth note with a cranberry smoothie made with grapes, which nicely complement the flavor of cranberries. Combine 1 cup cranberry juice and 1 cup white grape juice in a blender. Add ½ cup vanilla yogurt, as well as some grapes (seedless red or green grapes). Top it off with some ice and blend thoroughly. Drop in some raw cranberries, plain or sugared, as a crowning touch.
Store cranberries in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two months.
Enjoy cranberries for their flavor as well as their health benefits: Cranberries are credited with helping fight and/or prevent urinary tract infections, gum disease and ulcers.
With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.