November 24, 2006

Fresh Cranberries

This is the time of year when you'll find those wonderful bags of fresh Ocean Spray cranberries in the produce section at your grocery store. I always buy extra bags and freeze them for later in the year when they're not available.

101 All-Time Favorite Cranberry Recipes (not dated, 36 pp) was published by Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. and is a nice recipe booklet that gives plenty of recipes for using those fresh cranberries.

While the majority of the recipes in the booklet call for either fresh or frozen cranberries or whole or jellied canned cranberry sauce, there are several others that use other Ocean Spray products such as cranberry juice cocktail and cranberry orange relish.

There are three pages in the front of the booklet that tell a bit about the history of the cranberry. Although the publication date of this booklet isn't given, the booklet says that Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. is a national cooperative with plants in five cranberry-growing states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington and Oregon. The recipe book was likely published before 1993 (the year Craisins were introduced) because none of the recipes call for Craisins.

The booklet is illustrated with small drawings such as those shown on the front cover. The recipe categories are divided into Cranberry Breads, Cranberry Salads, Cranberry Main Dishes, Cranberry Desserts, Cranberry Cakes and Cookies, Cranberry Frostings, Cranberry Beverages, Low Calorie Cranberry Dishes and Quantity Cranberry Dishes.

For sweeteners, the low calorie recipes call for liquid sweetener (Sucaryl) or Sweet 10.

Here are a couple of recipes from the booklet to help you take advantage of the fresh cranberries:


1 cup chopped Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons finey diced celery
2 tablespoons finely diced green pepper
1 cup halved green grapes
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (blended with a little whipped cream for extra smoothness)

Mix cranberries and sugar. Moisten cabbage with orange juice. Add sugared cranberries, celery, green pepper and grapes to cabbage. Toss Lightly with mayonnaise. Chill. Makes 4 servings.

This next recipe would allow you to take advantage of the abundance of fresh cranberries available right now, the great prices and could serve as lovely homemade holiday gifts:


1 quart (1-lb) Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries
2 cups water

Pick over fruit, wash carefully and drain. Use a colander or sieve for this. Transfer the fruit to a medium saucepan. Add the water and cook to the boiling point. Now reduce the heat and cook very slowly, (simmer) for 10 minutes. Stretch several layers of cheesecloth over a bowl and pour in the fruit. Drain off all the juice, pressing the fruit lightly with a wooden spoon to extract the maximum amount of liquid. Measure the juice (discard the fruit pulp) and to each cup of juice add 1 cup of sugar. Cook over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and mixture comes to a boil. Continue boiling for 2 minutes longer and remove from heat. Skim off any froth on the surface and pour the hot syrup into hot sterilized jars or bottles. Seal securely. Makes about 1 pint of syrup, but yield varies according to the degree of ripeness and juiciness of the cranberries.

Serving Suggestions:
  • Sauce for Ice Cream
  • Stirred into crushed ice and carbonated water to make a good drink
  • Sauce for cake, vanilla pudding, bread pudding, cereal


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