How To Select Cranberries
- Select cranberries that are firm to the touch, shiny, and have a deep red color.
- A fresh cranberry will bounce if it is dropped.
- Avoid cranberries that are bruised, brown, shriveled, or mushy.
When are Cranberries in Season?
Cranberries are a tart and unique fruit often associated with Thanksgiving. This lip-smacking berry is in season between September to December. The peak of the cranberry harvest season is in October. While the cranberries season is relatively short, you can buy cranberries in dried, canned, or juice form all year round.
Varieties of Cranberries
There are over 100 different types of cranberries. These popular cranberries varieties are often available at the grocery store or farmer’s market, include:
- Early Black: These cranberries ripen early (hence the name) and have large, deep blackberries. It has a tart flavor and is commonly used for juice and sauce production.
- Ben Lear: Ben Lear cranberries have big, deep red berries and are a very productive plant. It is commonly used for fresh eating and juice production.
- Stevens: This is a hybrid cranberry that ripens earlier than a Howes and has lots of seeds. The deep red berry is very juicy and has low pectin levels.
- Pilgrim: This late-ripening fruit has deep red berries. Pilgrim cranberries are juicy and sweetly tart. It is a fairly hardy plant that is good for juice production, canning, and freezing.
Cranberries Nutrition Facts & Benefits
Cranberries are packed with vitamins and many health benefits:
Serving size: 1/2 cup of cranberries
Approximate 25 calories
- 0.1 grams of fat
- 0.5 grams of protein
- 6 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of natural sugar
- 2 grams of fiber
A few main health benefits of cranberries:
- Cranberries and cranberry juice are proven to prevent urinary tract infections from developing.
- Eating cranberries can also help reduce the bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities and periodontal disease.
- Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins, which help your digestive system by reducing bad microbes in your gut.
- Cranberries are full of antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory benefits to improve your immune system.
How To Store Cranberries
- Store fresh cranberries in a sealed bag in the refrigerator for up to two months.
- Before storing, remove any decaying berries from the bag.
- Store cooked cranberries in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
How to Prepare Cranberries
The best ways to prepare cranberries include:
- Fresh: Eating fresh cranberries is a great way to enjoy their natural tartness and flavor. You can eat cranberries raw or add them to your favorite dishes for a tart and juicy accent. Simply rinse and chop the cranberries and sweeten them to taste.
- Dried: Dried cranberries are a convenient way to enjoy cranberries all year round. But remember to read your labels, dried cranberries are often sweetened. To dry cranberries, simply rinse and spread them out on a baking sheet. Place them in an oven set to the lowest temperature and dry until they are no longer moist.
- Juice: Cranberry juice is a popular way to enjoy the health benefits of cranberries. You can make your own juice by blending fresh or frozen cranberries and sweetening them to taste.
- Sauce: Cranberry sauce is a staple of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. To make a sauce, you can cook cranberries with sugar and other ingredients like orange juice, cinnamon, and ginger. Serve as a condiment or use in desserts like cheesecake or ice cream.