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Cranberry Cooking Tips

Cranberries are good not only in desserts, but also in savory dishes


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© 2006 Peggy Trowbridge
Cranberries are a fall fruit that always seem to get relegated to the canned cranberry sauce cubbyhole in our minds. Don't get me wrong, the canned cranberry sauce has its uses. However, with fresh cranberries available in the fall, try branching out to use these tart berries in not only homemade sauces and jellies, but also in savory dishes.

Cranberry Harvesting

Cranberries grow on vines in boggy areas. Fresh whole berries are hand-picked and are thus more expensive. The remainder is harvested by machine. Damage to the berries from the machines is unavoidable, making them suitable only for juices, sauces, and drying. The bogs are kept dry until harvest time and then are flooded with water to a knee-deep level. Special machines run through the bog, shaking the vines to loosen the berries which are then skimmed off. The berries are bounced down a stair-stepped processor to cull out the old berries (which do not bounce) from the fresh.

Cranberry Cooking Tips

• Cranberries are good not only in desserts, but also in savory dishes.

• To help neutralize the acid, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda when cooking cranberries. You'll find you will need less sugar.

• Try substituting sweetened, dried cranberries for raisins in recipes for a tangy change.

• Reconstitute dried cranberries just as you would raisins, by soaking them in hot water and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.

• Cranberries should be cooked only until they pop. Otherwise, they not only begin to turn to mush, but they also turn bitter.

• Frozen cranberries need not be defrosted before using.

• Cranberries are easily chopped by pulsing in a food processor.

More About Cranberries

Cranberry Storage and Selection
Cranberry Cooking Tips
Cranberry History
Cranberries and Health
Cranberry Recipes
Cranberries Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge, licensed to About.com, Inc.


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