Learn About Cranberries

Author: Chef Sydney

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What are Cranberries?

Cranberries are vine-grown berries grown throughout the northern hemisphere of the world.  They are round and vary in color, from a deep red to a lighter pink.  Ripe cranberries have a redder hue.  Cranberries come in the form of fresh cranberries, cranberry juice, dried cranberries, freeze-dried cranberries, and cranberry sauce.

What Do Cranberries Taste Like?

Fresh cranberries have a bright, tart flavor.  Dried cranberries and cranberry juice may taste tart, but they may taste slightly sweet and bright.

Fresh cranberries in a wooden bowl, ready to eat.

How Do You Eat Cranberries?

While you can eat fresh cranberries raw, many people cook them because of their tartness.  A popular way to enjoy cranberries includes cooking them down into cranberry sauce.  Transform fresh cranberries into cranberry crisp, oatmeal bars, cakes, and cookies.  Toss dried cranberries into granola, oatmeal, or trail mix.  Or, you can enjoy dried cranberries on their own.  Drink cranberry juice on its own, or mix it into smoothies or other beverages.

Where Can You Buy Cranberries?

Look for dried cranberries in the dried fruits and nuts aisle of the grocery store.  Find cranberry juice in the fruit juice aisle or the refrigerated section with other fruit juices.  Fresh cranberries may be seasonal and harder to find.  Try looking for them in the produce section in the fall.

How Do You Store Cranberries?

Place fresh cranberries in a sealed plastic bag and store them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.  Store unopened cranberry juice in a cool, dry place.  Once opened, seal the container and transfer it to the refrigerator.  Store dried and freeze-dried cranberries in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.

Fun Fact About Cranberries

Many farmers harvest cranberries by flooding the fields to create cranberry bogs.

Did You Know?

The United States leads the world’s production of cranberries.

Recipes Using Cranberries


Use dried cranberries to create a delicious granola. Start by mixing rolled oats, dried cranberries, pecans, shredded coconut, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Spread granola mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until golden-brown and crunchy.

Cranberry Glaze

Use this glaze over ham to create a sweet and tart combination. In a saucepan, combine cranberry sauce, cinnamon, brown sguar, orange juice, orange zest, salt, and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the glaze thickens. Use a basting brush to spread over meat before baking.

Trail Mix

Toss in dried cranberries to make a tasty trail mix. In a large bowl, combine dried cranberries, walnuts, almonds, and dried cherries. Drizzle with maple syrup, cinnamon, and honey before serving.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Add some flair to your favorite oatmeal raisin cookies. Prepare the cookie dough according to the recipe. Instead of adding all raisins, you can split the amount in half and add cranberries. Or, you can leave out the raisins entirely and just add cranberries!

Homemade Chunky Cranberry Sauce

Making your own cranberry sauce is easy and only requires a few ingredients. Add fresh cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and a cinnamon stick to a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

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