Five Colorful Ways to Eat Fresh Cranberries

fresh cranberries
Add some color to your table with fresh cranberries. Westend61/Getty

Fresh cranberries abound at this time of year, and you may even be ambitious enough to slog through a bog to pick your own, as my friend Bryn did in Massachusetts. (It was fun, but next time she'd prefer to try it without a 30-pound toddler on her back, she said.) After baking all afternoon, she still had 2 bags of berries to use up and was soliciting recipe advice.

So, this entry is for Bryn—and for people like me who buy too many fresh cranberries at the grocery store simply because they're seasonal and on sale, but don't know what to do with them!

1. Red and Green: Cranberries can grace your Thanksgiving table in more ways than just sauce. Use them to add color and zing to your green vegetable sides, like these roasted brussels sprouts with cranberry brown butter or wilted kale with cranberries.

2. Red and Orange: They also pair wonderfully with orange vegetables—try Simply Recipes' butternut squash, cranberry and apple bake, this cranberry sweet potato bake or some roasted carrots with fresh cranberries. I'm also intrigued by the idea of apples and cranberries baked in a pumpkin.

3. Red and Brown: Bryn's favorite recipe is Mollie Katzen's cranberry brown bread, which balances the berries' tartness with molasses, orange juice and brown sugar. You can find it in Katzen's "Enchanted Broccoli Forest" cookbook, or see this version on Modern Sage. I can't wait to try it!

4. Red and White: Baked apples are my latest obsession. Peel the top third of some large apples and scoop out their cores (I used a grapefruit knife and a melon baller), leaving the bottoms intact. Squeeze a lemon over them, using your fingers to coat any exposed parts of the fruit. Stuff the cavities full of cranberries coated in brown sugar, the zest of one orange and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Put the apples in a glass baking dish, and pour a few tablespoons of sweet liquid into and over each one—I used pear cider with a splash of maple syrup and cognac. Bake at 325 degrees for an hour, basting occasionally. Top with white chocolate shavings, as this Cooking Light recipe suggests, or a scoop of your favorite white topping, like creme fraiche, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

5. Red and Blue: Make your cranberry sauce more interesting by throwing some blueberries into the mix, as Elise from Simply Recipes suggests, and maybe even some red wine. You can also pair the berries in a dessert, such as Sweet Life Kitchen's cranberry blueberry pie or Food for Laughter's cranberry blueberry crumble.

What's your favorite way to eat fresh cranberries?

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