4 pounds of fresh cranberries.
5 great reasons to cook with cranberries today:
1.) They're in season.
2.) Locavores love them. (They are grown in Washington!)
3.) Packed with nutrition, they are high in vitamin C and in fiber. Like their relative the blueberry, cranberries also contain antioxidants in abundance which have antibacterial effects on the body.
4.) Studies show consuming cranberries can prevent dental plaque and periodontal disease.
5.) Cranberries are easy to prep for cooking. No scrubbing, no peeling, no pitting.
They're not always easy to find at your local Farmer's Market, but most grocery stores have them, and if you look, you can find some super deals on them, like "buy one bag, get one free". I paid about $2.00/lb for mine.
One of my favorite things: Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries are versatile. Besides this very familiar preparation -- traditional Cranberry Sauce -- they can be used raw in relishes, dried in pastries, and candied in desserts. They make fabulous juice, which can easily be turned into syrups or liqueurs. If you choose to cook them whole, they are high in natural pectin, which means they thicken nicely, especially when used for making preserves. Jelly, chutney and jam is a cinch.
Delicious when paired with a hearty Spinach Salad. (This one was made with whole spinach leaves tossed with a warm Feta Cheese~Sherry Vinegar mixture, then topped with poached (then shredded) Chicken Breasts, and sauteed Shallots, Red Onions & Mushrooms.)
I'm making a few batches of traditional Cranberry Sauce now, with the best freshest local cranberries, and preserving them in shelf-stable jars. This way I can eat my beloved Cranberry Sauce all year 'round.
Added bonus? The fun Rice Krispy'ish "Snap-Crackle-Pop" sounds
that the whole cranberries make when they're cooking!
Slightly sweet, a little spicy, very savory Cranberry~Jalapeno Chutney
Half-pint jars of Cranberry~Jalapeno Chutney, surrounded by some key ingredients.
This chutney is so easy to make. All the ingredients go into one pan, it's simmered for approximately 10-15 minutes, and that's about it. A few ideas for this intensely flavorful chutney are to serve it with meats, cheeses, and on sandwiches, for starters.
You can serve it right away, or store it in the refrigerator for about a month. I prefer to process the chutney in jars, so that it can be stored on a shelf in the pantry and enjoyed all year 'round.
Seckel Pears in Cranberry Syrup
Tiny peeled Seckel Pears packed in a sweet & slightly tart syrup...delectable!
Just one more way to take advantage of two of Fall's finest fruits, Seckel Pears and Cranberries. Both are being sold fresh right now, and bonus...both are locally-grown right here in Western Washington.