Cranberries

What are bright red, full of antioxidants and a must-serve-or-face-family-scrutiny Thanksgiving mainstay? Cranberries, of course! While there is no question that the vitamin C-packed berry will make it to your holiday table, you may still be considering how you will prepare this versatile favorite. So, we’ve rounded up three diverse cranberry recipes you can try before the big day.

1. Whole wheat bread with cranberries and sunflower seeds (via What We Love Most)

Yes, we have all had to run to the grocery store and pick up an emergency pack of standard dinner rolls (hey, roll burning happens.) This year, get into the kitchen the day before Thanksgiving and make this tasty, hearty loaf:

Ingredients*

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 1/3 cup warm filtered water (110 degrees f)

1 tablespoons organic olive oil

2 tablespoons local honey

1 cup organic bread flour

2 cups organic whole-wheat flour

1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

Method

“Combine the yeast, warm water and honey. Mix together softly with your fingers only for a few seconds to incorporate the mixture. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, giving you time to gather the rest of your ingredients. When the yeast mixture looks frothy, you may begin to add in the olive oil, flour, sea salt, cranberries and sunflower seeds. Then use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture together, then use your hands to knead the dough only for a few minutes until the dough looks like a soft lovely dough ball. Leave the ball in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a moist towel and allow to rise 1-2 hours, until it has double in size.

Once doubled in size, shape it into a lightly oiled loaf dish then cover again and allow to rise above the top by an inch or two. Once it has risen again, place it in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until the bread is browned.”

Yield: 1 loaf

2. Cranberry sauce (via Simply Recipes)

Yes, everyone serves cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. But the following sauce recipe is super simple and contains multiple optional sauce additions that will make your dish unique!

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Optional: pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice

Method

“Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.

At this point you can add all number of optional ingredients. We typically mix in a half a cup of roughly chopped pecans with or without a few strips of orange zest. You can add a cup of raisins or currants. You can add up to a pint of fresh or frozen blueberries for added sweetness. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice can be added too.

Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.”

Yield: cranberry sauce base makes 2 1/4 cups

3. Sweet potato and cranberry hash (via Williams-Sonoma)

A festive, holiday meal that incorporates two holiday favorites: cranberries and sweet potatoes.

Ingredients

3 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, about 2 lb total

3 tbs unsalted butter

1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup sliced green onion

1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground allspice

1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method

“Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Set the sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until they still feel slightly firm when pressed, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Place the sweet potatoes on a plate, cover loosely and refrigerate overnight. (Chilling them firms the flesh, making it hold together better in the hash.) The next day, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter. Add the apple cubes and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the butter browns and the apple cubes start to caramelize and brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter to the pan. When it melts, stir in the green onion and cranberries and cook until the green onion wilts, about 1 minute. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice, add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until they are heated through, about 4 minutes. They will break up somewhat, but try to smash them as little as possible. Add the 1/4 tsp. salt, or more, to taste, and season with pepper.

Transfer the hash to a serving dish and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.”

Yield: 6

*Use organic, local, fresh ingredients whenever possible.

None of these recipes strike you as fantastic? Give these previously blogged OA cranberry recipes a whirl:

Organic Cranberry, Pomegranate, Persimmon Relish

Festive Holiday Organic Cranberry Pie

Resources:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/cranberries-little-powerfood-with-a-big-punch.html

Image: Pen Waggener