Cranberries are a ubiquitous holiday ingredient — many of us only ever incorporate them into our cooking at this time of year, so their flavour immediately evokes memories of Christmas. Obviously, cranberry sauce is the most common go-to use for cranberries — but there are plenty of other ways to get that red colour and tart flavour into your wintertime cooking. Here are five ways to use cranberries, either over the holidays or any other time of the year:
Throw them in salads
The tart sweetness of cranberries makes them a great add-in to throw into an otherwise boring green salad — especially if you’re also adding some pecans or goat cheese into the mix. If you do a web search for “cranberry salads” you’ll find a long list of old school gelatin and whipped cream “salads” flavoured with cranberries, but for a more modern take, simply throw a handful or two of dried cranberries into a kale or spinach salad. Cranberries also make for an excellent salad vinaigrette.
Bake them into muffins
Since they aren’t overly sweet, cranberries add just the right amount of fruitiness into a breakfast muffin. The cranberry flavour pairs wonderfully with orange. Most muffin and quick bread recipes will call for fresh or frozen cranberries, but leftover cranberry sauce also makes for a surprisingly tasty muffin.
Make a holiday punch
Whether you’re going boozy or non-alcoholic, cranberry juice is a must for a holiday punch. Not only does it bring great flavour to other ingredients like ginger ale or sparkling wine, the red colour is unmistakably festive. It also pairs well with other juices like orange or pineapple for a more complexly flavoured punch. Go with a big punch bowl for a party or whip up individual cranberry cocktails (and garnish everything with fresh cranberries for even more fun!).
Pair it with cheese
Ooey-gooey baked brie is a great appetizer when you’re having friends and family over this time of year and a tart cranberry topper is a beautiful match for the rich and creamy cheese. For something slightly fancier, try baking cranberries up in little tartlets with some tangy goat cheese. If you like your cheese at dessert, a sweet and syrupy cranberry sauce goes beautifully with cheesecake.
Eat them with brunch
Cranberries with French toast? Sounds pretty perfect. This recipe pairs tangy cranberries with rich mascarpone cheese for a special holiday indulgence. You could also make some cranberry compote to use in a yogurt and granola breakfast parfait or throw them into a sweet breakfast strata.