Cranberries are in season! Cranberries are in season!
I love these festive little orbs, and take advantage of them while they’re around because they only appear in markets from September through December. They freeze well so you can extend their season a little longer and you’ll definitely want to, once you get a taste of these recipes. There’s nothing quite like the fresh burst of sweet, tang, and citrus in the middle of winter and, with so many ways to enjoy them, you’ll be hooked!
My favorite uses for this nutritional powerhouse include:
1. Mulled Cranberry Cider (aka non-alcoholic Cranberry Hot Totty) – a soothing warm winter drink that not only takes off winter’s chill, but has medicinal qualities to help soothe colds and sore throats.
2. Fresh, No-Cook Cranberry Relish to eat plain, make into a sorbet, or use as colorful topping to wake up a bowl of warm oats.
3. Super Smoothie that is nourishing, filling and fiber packed.
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1. Mulled Cranberry Cider – recipe makes 4 servings
1 and 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 small lemon -use the juice of 1/2 of lemon (approx. 1 tsp) , save other half of lemon for slices
1 tsp. sliced, fresh ginger
1 tsp. cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cups water
4 cups apple juice
honey to sweeten
Directions: Place all ingredients except honey into a large saucepan. Add a few slices of lemon. You can use just apple juice for the liquid (doubling the amount) and omit the water altogether if you’d like an extra sweet drink. Boil for approx. 10 min. You’ll notice the cranberries split open during boiling which will help impart their flavor and lovely color to the liquid. Put on a low simmer after boiling.
When the liquid is cooled to a temperature that’s not too hot to drink, stir in a little honey until desired sweetness is achieved. FYI regarding honey: it is not to be served to children under the age of 1 year. You can use other sweeteners such as agave, stevia, or even plain sugar.
Strain the liquid from the stewed fruits and spices. Transfer to individual mugs, punch bowl or other serving bowl. Float some fresh slices of lemon and a handful or two of fresh cranberries on the top. It’s fantastically colorful and festive to serve at the holidays and tastes great warm or cooled!
In addition, sipping this drink in the winter can help soothe colds and sore throats. The combination of cranberries, ginger, lemon, apple juice, honey and spices have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-nausea properties, can help cut mucous and chest congestion and boost immunity. All that PLUS amazing flavor!
*TIP: If you make extra, you can store it in the empty apple juice container and refrigerate for a week to 10 days. Reheat the juice as needed.
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2. Cranberry Relish – a.k.a. Cranberry “Applesauce”
Can you believe that COLOR!?! A batch of this never lasts long around my house. I refer to it as “Cranberry Applesauce” because it has the same texture and consistency as applesauce but the color is totally out of the ordinary. Big time Bonus: Kids go CRAZY for it.
What you’ll need:
7.5 ounces organic cranberries (basically one container or small bag)
1 organic orange – it’s important for it to be organic because you’ll be using the entire orange peel
6 ounces quality orange juice
1/3 to 1/2 cup honey (or agave, or sugar. If you think you will serve it to a toddler or baby under 1 year of age, do not use honey as your sweetener)
Top Left: Place cranberries in a bowl of water. The ones that sink are duds and should be discarded. Sift through with fingers to make sure the floaters are all plump and firm. Strain liquid and set cranberries aside.
Top Right: Clean orange well and cut off stem and blossom end. Now cut orange into wedges.
Lower Left : Place cranberries and oranges in a high powered blender or food processor.
Lower Right: Add orange juice and sweetener of choice (I use honey) into blender (or food processor) and blend on high.
It’s ready to eat immediately or can be refrigerated up to a week. Eat it plain or serve over a bowl of oats to add a pop of color to a warm winter breakfast.
You can also put some of the sauce in a freezer safe container and once frozen, scoop out to eat as a sorbet. Or pour into cookie cutter shapes or candy molds and freeze. Once the little shapes are frozen, put them in a freezer bag to keep for a special occasion and use them to add a little love to the breakfast table like this:
Or, add the small shapes to a cup of apple juice or sparkling cider as little sorbet ice cubes!
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3. Super Smoothie
Last but not least, blend 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cranberry “applesauce”” with a banana or two and a handful of spinach or kale. Add water and blend.
*TIP: In case you like to add more nutrients to your smoothie – any smoothie that includes leafy greens is technically a “green smoothie”, whether or not it effects the color. The best way to get kids (and grown ups) to eat their greens is in a smoothie like this, where the flavor and color of the greens won’t be detected.
For the printable version of the cranberry relish recipe, CLICK HERE!
For health information on these super nutritional gems, Click HERE.
Cranberries…. Get ’em while you can!