What to do if 3 lb of fresh cranberries
December 19, 2017 5:42 AM   Subscribe

These fruits are less appetizing than I thought, I'd like to do something nice with them.

The Joy of Cooking has an nice spiced cranberry jelly, and I was wondering if it was possible to work this into mulled wine.

I'd love to hear other ideas that or not cranberry sauce.
posted by tedious to Food & Drink (49 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
String them up and hang them on your christmas tree!!
posted by Dressed to Kill at 5:43 AM on December 19, 2017 [9 favorites]

Cranberry chutney?

Googling [cranberry mulled wine] returned several recipes including this one so I think you're good to go there.

Food Network has a listicle which includes cranberry salsa, scones, granola and oooh!!! - brandied cranberries!
posted by bunderful at 5:46 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

My family has always sidestepped the cranberry sauce thing to do cranberry relish. It's very good and always super popular. It's got a very fresh, bright taste and isn't glorpy like sauces can be.

Cranberry Relish

1 large box black cherry Jello (or two small boxes--I like to mix cherry and raspberry if I can't find black cherry);
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
½ cup lemon juice
⅔ cup cold water (use the drained pineapple juice as part of this liquid)
1 lb. fresh cranberries, ground
1 medium orange, seeded, but unpeeled and ground
1 tart apple (Granny Smith is best), seeded but unpeeled and chopped finely
8 ¾ oz. canned crushed pineapple (reserve liquid)

Dissolve gelatin and sugar in two cups of boiling water. Add the lemon juice and cold water. Grind
cranberries and orange in food processor. Add to gelatin along with chopped apple and
pineapple. Chill until set, several hours.
posted by phunniemee at 5:47 AM on December 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

1. Throw into a pot with a little water; cook till they burst, run through a sieve, add a big scoop or two of sugar to taste and cook into syrup. Lasts forever in the fridge, terrific added to drinks (both soft and hard), pies, or to glaze pork and poultry.

2. Throw into pot with a little water, a scoop of sugar, cook till they burst and the sauce thickens. Brown pork chops in a cast iron skillet, top with a mess of sliced onions, ladle plenty of this cranberry sauce over all. Bake at about 350 F. until chops are done and onions are tender. Trust me, onions and cranberries are a magical combination. You'll be fighting over the tart-sweet onions.

3. Roasted vegetable medley with cranberries:

1 acorn squash or buttercup squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 sweet onions, cut into large chunks
2 large firm, tart apples, cut into chunks
1/2 - 3/4 cup FRESH cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Lightly oil or butter a large baking pan or cookie sheet. Toss squash,
onions, and carrots in a small amount of melted butter or oil (just so
they don't dry out while roasting). Spread vegetables in the pan, top
with apple chunks and cranberries. Bake 50-60 minutes, turning
occasionally, until carrots and squash are cooked through and the
cranberries have burst and glazed everything with a tangy red sauce.
posted by Lunaloon at 5:52 AM on December 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

I freeze them for use in cranberry lemon muffins or tea breads. It's a nice treat during the winter when berries are out of season.
posted by toastedcheese at 5:54 AM on December 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

They make a fantastic kisiel - traditional Polish Christmas drink/dessert.

Put some cranberries - more than half a kilo, maybe 1.5 lbs in US money - in a pot with water enough to cover and maybe a little more plus about a cup of sugar per 1.5 lbs to start with, boil until tender (doesn't take long). Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash them in the pot, then push the mush through a sieve, leaving the skins behind. Add about the same amount of water again to thin it out and bring to boil, then take off the heat for a moment. In a cup, mix 2 tablespoons of potato starch with cold water into a thin paste, then pour it into the pot and mix very very quickly. Bring to a very gentle boil until it thickens a bit and bubbles start forming. Taste, go wash out your mouth and add more sugar until it's not painfully tart anymore. Maybe add some cream once it's colder, makes lovely swirls. Technically this counts as a dessert course for the 12 course Christmas Eve meal...
posted by I claim sanctuary at 5:56 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mulled cranberry juice is delightful (you can add red wine if you like). You can swap out the cranberry juice in that recipe for apple cider and reduce the sugar for a nice cranberry mulled cider.

Or, since you have so many, make your own dried cranberries! (Instructions for both dehydrator and oven-drying at link.)
posted by halation at 5:59 AM on December 19, 2017

Cranberry infused vodka.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:13 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Cranberry Pecan crumble pie by Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite winter desserts. Cranberry Infused vodka is great with club soda.
posted by perrouno at 6:24 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

This cranberry vanilla coffee cake is so good. I make it every Christmas Eve for breakfast the next morning.
posted by coppermoss at 6:30 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I keep in the freezer to make these orange cranberry muffins. I have a friend who's allergic to nuts, so I substituted chocolate chips once, and I've never looked back.
posted by FencingGal at 6:46 AM on December 19, 2017

I make a much simpler cranberry relish:

12 oz cranberries
1 medium orange, quartered (ends removed)
1/2 to 1 cup sugar

Wash unpeeled orange, slice into eighths and remove any seeds. Place half of the cranberries and half of the orange in food processor. Pulse until evenly chopped. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the other half of orange and cranberries. Stir in sugar to taste and store in refrigerator or freezer (tastes better after sitting overnight).

This makes about 6-8 servings, so 3 lbs worth of cranberry relish would be kind of ridiculous, but you could maybe use up 1 lb this way.
posted by Kriesa at 6:50 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I do a syrup similar to Lunaloon's #1 suggestion and drink a couple spoonfulls of it with soda water. I also take all the leftover cooked cranberry mush, stick it in a jar in the fridge, and throw it in oatmeal or yogurt.

Cranberries make a great addition to pumpkin bread/muffins.

I also like these bourbon cranberries - they've been a hit at holiday gatherings, too.
posted by writermcwriterson at 6:59 AM on December 19, 2017

I like to have cranberries in my apple crisps, it adds a nice tang, but that will not use them all up so the above suggestions will go further.
posted by lafemma at 7:04 AM on December 19, 2017

Orange cranberry quickbread, 3# is a bunch, but they hold really well in the fridge.

This time of year, we basically just keep making this over and over again. It's turning into a problem. Send help.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:05 AM on December 19, 2017

I am lacto fermenting some cranberries right now. 2 weeks in and they are not quite pickle-y enough though so this is a lower term project. I think they would be nice as a cocktail garnish.
posted by vespabelle at 7:11 AM on December 19, 2017

Cranberry-White Chocolate Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup white chocolate chips

1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Spray a 12-cup or large 6-cup muffin tin.
3. Combine dry ingredients.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand-held mixer, beat the eggs.
5. Add the butter and milk to the eggs and beat until well blended.
6. Add wet mix to dry mix and beat at low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
7. Gently fold the cranberries in by hand.
8. Divide the mixture in the 12- cup muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes (28 minutes if using large 6-cup muffin tin)
9. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
posted by cranberrymonger at 7:12 AM on December 19, 2017

This makes about 6-8 servings, so 3 lbs worth of cranberry relish would be kind of ridiculous, but you could maybe use up 1 lb this way.

I can help use up the rest.

Mix together 1 1/4 c. flour, 2/3 c. sugar, 3/4 c. melted butter, two eggs, and the juice and zest of about half a lemon, then fold in about 2/3 - 1 cup of the cranberry relish, put it in a buttered 9" baking pan or pie pan, and bake for about 40 minutes until done.

They're a little like brownies in consistency, and everyone I know really likes them.
posted by ernielundquist at 7:25 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Refrigerator pickled cranberries in soda water (like a shrub).
posted by freezer cake at 7:32 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've made this cranberry pear apple crisp with fresh berries and it was good. Bunch of ideas here, too. And these cookies (which are delicious) might work if you poached some cranberries in a sugar syrup first.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 7:48 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I make a very simple relish like Kriesa, then I put it over a pavlova shell with whipped cream. The tartness of the cranberries is great with the sweetness of the meringue.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:49 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here's a Cranberry Daiquiri recipe, supposed to be delicious:

Into a saucepan add:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup grated orange peel

Bring above ingredients to a boil and add:
1/2 cup fresh cranberries

Cook until cranberries begin to pop, then cool, discard cinnamon, and add 1/2 cup white rum
When cool, strain mixture into a pitcher and save the orange/cranberry mix for the garnish

Into the pitcher add:
1/3 lime juice
1/3 white rum
1/3 dark rum
1/3 unsweetened cranberry juice

Chill and serve in a martini glass over crushed ice and garnish with reserved orange/cranberry mix.
posted by Bron at 7:52 AM on December 19, 2017

I used to make cranberry apple pie, just some regular old apple pie recipe with added cranberries. I think I did a peach pie with cranberries once too. Or just an easy apple crisp with added cranberries.
posted by mareli at 8:04 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding the crisp and pie suggestions: if you have apples, cranberries are a perfect way to add some tang.
posted by maudlin at 8:06 AM on December 19, 2017

My friend soaks then overnight in simple syrup, then rolls them in sugar. They are an addictive sweet snack this way.
posted by olinerd at 8:07 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

My very favorite cookies are cranberry orange cookies.

Cream together 1/2 c butter and 1 c sugar, then mix in an egg, a tsp of vanilla, and a tsp of orange juice concentrate. If you have an orange around, adding the zest is nice, though I only manage it about half the time. Mix in 1/4 tsp each salt and baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1 1/2 c flour, then add half a cup or so of chopped fresh cranberries. Roll the dough into balls, roll the balls in powdered sugar, and bake at 350 for about ten minutes. I love them.
posted by mishafletch at 8:21 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

A favourite of mine at this time of year is cranberry squares, which is more or less like a date square made with cranberry sauce. I really like the tartness of cranberry against the sweetness of the crumble topping-type square base. I have cranberries in my fridge right now for just this purpose!
posted by urbanlenny at 8:39 AM on December 19, 2017

I just realised that that recipe didn't have oats in it - the oats are my favourite part! I normally do something like this date square square base, with the above cranberry sauce in the middle.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:42 AM on December 19, 2017

Pickled cranberries are indeed amazing.

I'm obsessed with the idea of cranberry curd this year, gonna make some tomorrow and probably add lime zest.

A kickass cranberry salsa: basically this but personally I'd skip the tequila and maybe add garlic.
posted by clavicle at 8:50 AM on December 19, 2017

I've made this cranberry salsa for two parties in the last month and a bunch of people asked for the recipe. It's very pretty and delicious; it's now in my regular party appetizer rotation.
posted by Empidonax at 8:52 AM on December 19, 2017

Make sugared cranberries and put them in pretty jars for holiday gifts.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:07 AM on December 19, 2017

Because you mentioned mulled wine, I think I'd treat the cranberries more like a sangria. Macerate them with some sugar and spices and some orange (oranges balance out the sour of the cranberries nicely) and brandy if you want. Wait maybe an hour and add your wine.
posted by Bistyfrass at 9:16 AM on December 19, 2017

I’ll share with you my grandmother’s cranberry jello salad, which is still used for every holiday occasion across the family.

Grandma’s Cranberry Jello Recipe

2 pkgs of 16oz cranberries
4 cups of sugar
2 cups of red seeded grapes or seedless grapes
6 large red apples diced with skins
6 oranges
2 large or 4 small lemon Jello (sugarfree is ok)

Grind cranberries uncooked and mix sugar in and let stand 4 hours to absorb
Remove seeds in grapes if needed and cut in half
Dice apples unpeeled
Grate oranges and squeeze juice from oranges
Dissolve Jello in 4 cups of boiling water and let cool
Combine all ingredients and mix well
Pour into round Jello mold pan
Refrigerate until firm.

Fill sink with warm water.
Submerge mold into water (don’t get jello wet!) to loosen from the sides of pan
Place large plate on top of jello and mold and turn over releasing jello from its pan
posted by jaksemas at 9:21 AM on December 19, 2017

* pulls up chair and sits down *

Hi, my family is a supplier for Ocean Spray. I got ideas.

Everyone's recommended various muffins, tea breads, and quick breads. There are indeed a gabillion and that was going to be my first recommendation. The cranberry-and orange-zest-and-nuts kind is a common variation, but I've been meaning to just throw a handful of cranberries into the mix the next time I make pumpkin bread (and see that the Ocean Spray web site I linked you to has that option as well).

You can also throw a handful into pies or crisps - particularly with apple. You don't even need to chop or cook them first, just throw a handful right in. Maybe at MOST run them through a food processor for about three seconds to chop them slightly.

Don't have the recipe on hand, but one of the Moosewood cookbooks has a wonderful cake recipe that involves a sour cream batter, and a simple filling of cranberries, almonds, and brown sugar; you layer half the batter in the pan, then put in half the cranberry/almond stuff, then the other half of the batter and then the other half of the cranberry/almond stuff. It may be worth experimenting with your favorite cake recipe.

Another Moosewood cookbook has a super-simple tart recipe where you cook down cranberries with brown sugar and spices just slightly, enough to soften them; then blind-bake a pie crust, drizzle melted chocolate over the crust and then pour in the cranberries and bake it a little more. You didn't sound crazy about sauce, but that sauce can be used as a basis for other things, is the point.

Making your own cranberry juice is as simple as boiling the cranberries with water until they all pop, straining the solids out, and adding sweetener. If you're like me and find that the bottled is sometimes too sweet, here's a way to customize.

The Ocean Spray web site has a ton of recipes. Several of those recipes do call for pre-made sauce or dried cranberries instead of fresh, but there are many that call for fresh berries.

Finally - cranberries and blueberries can be used interchangeably for some pastries. (Just use a little extra sugar with the cranberries!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Cranberry shrub for use in drinks (cocktails or soda water). Lasts a while, and makes a really delicious drink!
posted by saturngirl at 9:29 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think this is the cake the Empress mentioned. It sounds amazing.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 9:58 AM on December 19, 2017

My wife sometimes makes cranberry ketchup.
posted by maurice at 10:12 AM on December 19, 2017

I think this is the cake the Empress mentioned. It sounds amazing.

It is indeed the cake and it is indeed amazing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:32 AM on December 19, 2017

If you do look at the recipe OneSmartMonkey linked - it calls for 2 cups of "coarsely chopped" cranberries and a half cup of "finely chopped" almonds, which you combine with some spices and brown sugar set aside. The original recipe says to just use 2 cups of cranberries and a half cup of slivered almonds, and you chuck them into a food processor together with the spices and brown sugar and pulse a couple times; it all gets chopped up together and mixed. I like that method better.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:35 AM on December 19, 2017

No link, but I just read a suggestion somewhere to use them as ice cubes (frozen) in wintry/holiday drinks. I use frozen grapes this way.
posted by OrangeVelour at 10:42 AM on December 19, 2017

I also say freeze them but only to use them in smoothies! A half-cup or so adds a nice little zip to a blender full of other fruit and a few leafy greens.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:49 AM on December 19, 2017

I had a lot of frozen cranberries and just dried them - without sugar and without popping. They take a long time and look nothing like store-bought dried cranberries, being instead round, puffy, and almost crisp, but they were a delicious addition to cereal and trail mix. In fact, commercial dried cranberries now taste too sweet to me.
posted by sibilatorix at 12:12 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I really like the cranberry-almond tart from the cookbook Wintersweet. It's a basic cake with cranberries and sliced almonds.
posted by JawnBigboote at 12:39 PM on December 19, 2017

Our friend Paul made us this cranberry chutney on Thanksgiving many years ago, and it is now one of my favorite things. It's sweet and gingery with just a bit of heat. SO GOOD.

Paul's Cranberry Chutney
Makes 2½ cups

2 large golden delicious apples, peeled and chunked
1½ cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup golden raisins
½ medium onion, minced
1 Tbsp minced crystallized ginger
1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft (about 30 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
posted by kelborel at 1:24 PM on December 19, 2017

Seconding cranberry curd; it's delicious and versatile. Here's the recipe I used this past weekend. 1lb of berries made 2-1/2 pints of curd.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 1:47 PM on December 19, 2017

This cranberry-lime pie recipe is delicious and would use 1 lb of cranberries if you do the cranberry garnish on top. If you like lemon or key lime pies, then you should definitely give this one a try. Just make sure to serve it straight from the fridge rather than letting it sit at room temperature for two hours before serving, as the recipe instructs - it will get all soft and pudding-y if you do that.
posted by LNM at 1:50 PM on December 19, 2017

I can't believe no one has said to add to smoothies yet! I keep them frozen year round for this purpose. Though bitter raw on their own, they add a really nice tart punch to smoothies (and no seeds!) and juices in lieu of other more sweet berries, and they're exceptionally good for you too.
posted by le_salvo at 2:51 PM on December 19, 2017

Wow, thanks y'all! I didn't realize there was a cranberry ore vein here in askme.
I'll have to print out this thread and go through it with my housemates.

Also, correction, I do not have 3lbs of cranberries but 3x 12oz of cranberries, if that makes a difference to anyone~
posted by tedious at 4:50 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

What I ended up doing was the relish > cranberry-relish-brownie conversion. I use nectarines instead of oranges, and added a lemon.

Gave a great relish, very yummy :3

I'll try to make a jam from 1/3 of the rest, and then purée the rest to make a cranberry-relish-pudding that i will then turn into an ice cream. 2018 is off to a great start!

Thanks again y'all!
posted by tedious at 5:07 AM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

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