A Bowlful of Cranberry Facts

Rich in color, tangy in taste, cranberries are an unbeatable winter treat. And they add zing to almost everything—from breads and beverages to salads, sauces, soups and more. Here are some berry tidbits from the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association:

  • This beneficial berry is high in fiber, has just 25 calories per 1/2 cup and is a good source of vitamin C. Cranberries are also low in sodium and contain vitamins A and B, calcium, phosphorus and iron.
  • Look for firm, plump cranberries with a lustrous color. You'll find fresh cranberries in the produce section from September through December. They freeze well, so buy extra.
  • Fresh cranberries will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Wash berries only when ready to use.
  • Cranberries can be frozen for up to 9 months, stored in a heavy-duty freezer bag or container. When ready to use in recipes, do not thaw first.
  • You can substitute frozen cranberries in most recipes calling for fresh.
  • To prepare cranberries for cooking, sort out bruised, soft or shriveled berries and discard. Rinse remaining berries in cold water.
  • Cook cranberries by boiling gently in water and waiting until the berries "pop" (when the outer skin expands until it bursts).
  • Each 12-ounce bag of cranberries yields about 3 cups.
  • For quick results, chop cranberries in a food processor.
  • For some quick and tasty results, try these easy ideas: Mix a little cranberry juice with some hot apple cider for a zingy beverage. Add a half cup (or more) of chopped cranberries to your favorite bread, muffin or stuffing mix. Add variety to baked apples by filling the center with cranberries and a dash of sugar and cinnamon.

Cranberry Recipe Tips

  • For extra-rich-tasting homemade cranberry sauce, add vanilla extract (a teaspoon or more) after cooking. —Ruth F., Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Make your next meat loaf zesty and moist by adding cranberry sauce (1/4-1/3 cup for each pound ground beef) before baking. —Alyce A., Tacoma, Washington
  • Right after the cranberries have "popped" during cooking, I add fresh or frozen raspberries (without syrup). This homemade cranberry sauce is a delicious side dish for turkey or chicken. —Doris L., Newport, Rhode Island
  • When freezing fresh cranberries for storage, first discard any unripe or bruised fruit. Wash and dry berries thoroughly, then freeze in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. When solid, pack berries in heavy freezer bags or freezer containers. Store for as long as a full year. —Mary Jane S., Decatur, Alabama
  • Fresh cranberries are easier to grind in a food processor or a food grinder if you freeze them first. Allow ground berries to drain well before using. —Carol S., Fairmount, Minnesota
  • Add 1 cup of whole cranberries to your favorite two-crust apple pie for a rosy red color and a delightful, sweet-tart taste. —Linda B., Billings, Montana

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