Cranberries from the Paleocene - Can I Eat Them?
November 19, 2011 10:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm embarrassed to use up a question on this Can I Eat This-filter, but... So I have some bags of cranberries in the freezer... that have been there since last year. Can I use them in making cranberry sauce without courting death or intestinal discomfort?
posted by canine epigram to Food & Drink (19 answers total)
Hopefully someone qualified will answer the food safety question, but I will say that they're likely to more or less disintegrate after being frozen that long and may not have much flavor. If you like your cranberry sauce with body and identifiable berries, I'd drop the $5 on a couple of fresh bags.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:43 AM on November 19, 2011

They won't poison you, but after a year they may have freeze-dried quite a lot, and once thawed they might not be very juicy. If you look in the bag and see a lot of ice, then it's probably time to buy new.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:43 AM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'd be more worried about freezer burn causing an off flavor...
posted by cecic at 10:43 AM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

From experience, yes. We have done this. The biggest risk is that they've lost some flavor or texture in their year in the freezer, but if memory serves, I don't think this has ever been a problem for me.
posted by rtha at 10:44 AM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't even think twice. In fact, I'm planning on doing the same thing.
posted by leahwrenn at 10:51 AM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Still Tasty doesn't cover frozen cranberries, but it lists frozen blackberries as being tasty after one year, and safe indefinitely. I would eat them without hesitation.
posted by desjardins at 10:54 AM on November 19, 2011

I ate some cranberries from the bottom of my chest freezer recently that were over a year old and they tasted fine. There is no risk of food poisoning that I can think of, just quality degradation. I'm not a food scientists, but I do have a degree in agriculture and took several food science classes.
posted by melissam at 11:06 AM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

If they've never been defrosted, I'd say they're fine.
posted by nevercalm at 11:07 AM on November 19, 2011

The risk is that they won't taste like much - use them this year or toss them out, in any case.
posted by SMPA at 11:15 AM on November 19, 2011

There might be some lost flavor, but with making sauce the texture won't matter worth a damn.

IAMAM, IAMNYM, So long as your freezer has stayed frozen there shouldn't be a microbiological issue.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:39 AM on November 19, 2011

Because despite living within a short drive of the bogs, I still can only find them regularly around Thanksgiving, I buy a ton every November and use them year round. Maybe the last few aren't quite as good, but I've never noticed any difference.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 11:48 AM on November 19, 2011

I recently made cranberry jelly with frozen berries that were at least four years old. It was fine. And I defrost my freezer quarterly so they'd probably partially defrosted about a dozen times.
posted by tigrefacile at 12:16 PM on November 19, 2011

I made whole-berry cranberry sauce with year-old frozen cranberries earlier this year, and it was fine. I didn't notice a difference in taste. You don't even need to thaw them before using them in the sauce - just rinse them off.
posted by wondermouse at 12:18 PM on November 19, 2011

I often buy extra cranberries at Thanksgiving to ensure that I can also make cranberry sauce at Christmas, but I wound up with a serious surplus for awhile. I can vouch that cranberry sauce from 2-year-old bags of frozen cranberries is perfectly fine, and indistinguishable from cranberry sauce made with just-purchased cranberries.
posted by desuetude at 5:32 PM on November 19, 2011

I've used cranberries that have been frozen for a year or more many times. Never been a problem. They freeze really well.
posted by gimonca at 6:48 PM on November 19, 2011

Yup. You can do that with no problem. I've done it before and plan to do it again this year. (In fact, recently ate some frozen-for-a-year cranberries whole & uncooked. Not dead!) They tend to soften a little, but otherwise cranberries hold up really well in the freezer.
posted by geeky at 6:52 PM on November 19, 2011

I used last Christmas's cranberries to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving in October. We all lived to tell the tale.
posted by looli at 11:18 PM on November 19, 2011

They absolutely won't kill you. They may not be ideal for something that needs fresh cranberries, like a relish, but if you're cooking them down into a sauce they'll be just fine. I do this pretty much every year.
posted by gingerbeer at 4:38 PM on November 20, 2011

Response by poster: I can't really mark them all best answer, but they turned out delicious. Thank you!
posted by canine epigram at 12:34 PM on December 19, 2011

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