Toward the holiday season, cranberries are hitting their peak! These tart little orbs gain a vibrant scarlet hue and unique sweet-tart flavor. But did you know that they’re good for a lot more than just making a sauce?
Read on for some new uses for these versatile berries. You can use them to make other healthy and delicious recipes, prevent your skin from aging, or even decorate your home!
How to use cranberries in the kitchen (not just sauce!)
Cranberries add a unique flavor and eye-catching color to your dishes, and they also pack a nutritional punch. Cranberries are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as other antioxidants and flavonoids, which are known to reduce inflammation. These nutrients can protect you from developing chronic illnesses like heart disease.
Here are some sweet ways to use cranberries:
Candied cranberries: These gorgeous berries make the perfect colorful topping for a cake, ice cream or sorbet, or even to add pizzazz to a salad. Start by pricking each cranberry with a toothpick. Make a sugar syrup by heating equal parts water and sugar. Refrigerate the cranberries in the syrup overnight. Remove the berries and toss in superfine sugar. Arrange the berries on parchment paper to dry, and sprinkle with a little more superfine sugar.
Superfruit oatmeal: After cooking oats for a few minutes, stir in whole cranberries. Add apple, blueberries, and walnuts for a little bit of crunch and flavor variety.
On the savory side, why not try these creative ways to eat cranberries:
Cranberry ketchup: Try this zesty, spiced take on ketchup with burgers or roast pork. Cook 2 cups of cranberries, 1/2 a chopped onion, 1/2 cup of water, and a 1/3 cup each of coconut sugar and maple syrup over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the cranberries are soft. Puree with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a 1/4 teaspoon each of five spice powder and sea salt.
Baked Camembert with cranberries: For deliciously unique hors-d’oeuvres, try this warm baked cheese with crostini or rice crackers. Mix 3 tablespoons of chopped cranberries, 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 a teaspoon each of chopped rosemary and thyme, and 1 minced garlic clove. Slice off the top rind of a small Camembert or Brie wheel and top with the cranberry mixture. Bake in a small dish at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the cheese is slightly runny.
You can also use cranberries to top salads, in smoothies, to garnish cocktails or spice up grain-free baked goods such as energy bars, loaves, and scones. Use cranberries anywhere you want a splash of color and a tangy flavor!
Cranberries for natural beauty
The powerful antioxidants in cranberries are amazing for natural health and beauty. There is even a brand of cranberry-coated dental floss which is said to stop bacteria attaching to teeth and prevent gum disease.
Try making a simple toner with a few tablespoons of cranberry juice and water. The acidity, antioxidants and astringent quality of the cranberry juice is great for tightening and brightening skin.
You can also blend up a simple anti-aging face mask with cranberries! Use a 1/4 teaspoon of green clay, 1 teaspoon of yogurt, 1 tablespoon of raw honey, a 1/4 cup of cranberries, and a 1/4 cup of pure cranberry juice. Whiz everything up in a blender and apply to your face, leaving on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Your skin will look and feel amazing!
Make your home beautiful for the holidays with cranberries
Finally, cranberries can make a beautiful addition to your holiday decorating. Try putting them in tall glass cylinders with a candle on top, freezing them as an accent for an ice bucket, or threading them on a string to make a garland.
Take cranberries beyond just sauce and improve your home, health, culinary prowess, and beauty! Find more inspiring holiday ideas here.