When I think of Cranberries, I think of cranberry juice but did you know there’s so many other uses for them! They were first used by Native Americans for food, medicine, and a symbol of peace. Commonly, the berries were pounded into a paste and mixed with dried meats.
• Cranberries are thought to be part of the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621. They were commonly used for red dye by the Indians and early American settlers.
• Did you know that Wisconsin is Cranberry Capital of the World! Wisconsin produces 60% of the 700 million pounds of cranberries grown in the United States.
When choosing what kind of cranberries you want, keep these things in mind! Fresh cranberries are usually only found in the fall and winter and come bagged.
• Look for cranberries that are bright red, plump, hard, and shiny.
• Pick out any berries that are shriveled, soft, spongy, or brown. • Cranberries are at their peak in November, just in time for Thanksgiving!
• When cranberries are not in season, they can be enjoyed canned, frozen, dried, or as juice.
How should you use your cranberries? Cranberries can be used in juice, sprinkled on salads, paired with other fruits and vegetables to enhance flavor; made into a sauce to compliment poultry and other meats; incorporated into breads, muffins, pancakes and scones; sprinkled on yogurt or cereal; jellied, canned, frozen, or dried.
• Cranberries can be used as the main ingredient but they are more often used as an accent flavoring to other foods.
• Cranberries can be substituted for dried cherries, currants, or raisins.
Make sure your produce stays fresh while it’s stored in your home!
• Fresh cranberries can be refrigerated for up to two months if stored in a sealed plastic bag.
• Cranberries require very little preparation. They need only a quick wash and rinse, and they are ready to go!
• The natural tartness in cranberries repels bugs so they are not usually sprayed with pesticides.
• Cranberries are sold in 12 oz. bags which is equal to 3 cups or 2 ½ cups chopped. • As cranberries cook, the skins burst open making a popping sound.
• Fresh cranberries can be enjoyed all year round if they are frozen. They can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.
• Most recipes use only a small amount of cranberries. One freezer tip is to first chop the cranberries with a food processor or knife, then individually bag one-cup portions. It will be a cinch to add extra flavor and nutrients to recipes when you can just grab a bag from the freezer and dump it in your favorite recipe!
• Like other frozen fruits, cranberries should be added to recipes still frozen to prevent the juices from flowing out of the fruit.
• Fresh cranberries require the addition of a sweetener of some kind to offset the tartness. Some sweeteners can be sugar, honey, apple juice, orange juice, or the natural sweetness of other fruits.
• Dried cranberries, or craisins, are sweetened during processing and will not need any other sweeteners.