The arrival of cranberries signals the holiday season is here. I love to stock up on bags of this tangy little jewel of the winter produce department. It is a traditional symbol of peace, which explains why the berries hold such a prominent place on the Thanksgiving meal table.
It is named thanks to the berry blossom which resembles the head of a crane. The berries begin to appear on the plant in July and harvest starts in September and continues through late October. That’s why we see them arriving in full force in November. Many years, they can be sold out completely by December so it is always a good idea to stock up early (aka now!).
While most of us associate the bouncy berries with cranberry sauce, there are many other options for use. I like to fold them into quick bread batters, muffins, on cheesecakes and cooked into syrups. But one of my favorites is to roast them. The recipe below will get you started, then you can get creative with uses of your own. But whatever you do, save a bit to combine with mayonnaise and smear on toasted bread for a leftover turkey sandwich!
Yield: 2 cups
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the cranberries in a single layer in a lightly greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with the oil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with the nuts. Continue roasting for 15 minutes longer. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
Can be added to Quinoa and Wild Rice salad or you can drizzle with a little more honey and serve on top of cream cheese with crackers.
Note: Cranberries vary in sweetness and tartness, so play with the amount of sugar or honey you use to fit your taste.