Our Chef’s Favorite Holiday Ingredient: The Cranberry
The cranberry is a versatile fruit, tart by nature, but easily sweetened, and tasty both ways. Its beautiful color and zingy taste make it the perfect, seasonal ingredient for all types of holiday dishes, which is why it’s a seasonal favorite for Vitamix Corporate Chef, Bev Shaffer.
Prep like the pros:
- Cut cranberries in half before adding them to baked goods to prevent them from swelling and popping.
- Simmer whole cranberries gently in a small amount of water, uncovered, since too much steam might cause them to swell and explode.
- You don’t need to thaw frozen berries before using in a recipe—just give them a quick water bath.
- To freeze cranberries and enjoy them throughout the year, place berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once completely frozen, you can transfer them to freezer-safe bags or airtight containers. This will prevent them from becoming a solid block of cranberry ice.
- Cranberries also make beautiful centerpieces for your holiday spread. Pour them into a vase with a pillar candle in the center, or string them as garland for your table’s greenery.
Recipes that showcase the versatility of this fabulous berry:
Cranberry Relish Sauce:
In addition to serving it with your holiday turkey, stir this sauce into yogurt for a healthy snack, or keep some in the fridge to serve to guests on a cheese platter or atop a bruschetta.
Dish D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette:
Chef Kathy Casey’s silky dressing adds beautiful color and sweetness to your greens. Garnish your salad with fresh or dried cranberries, walnuts or candied pecans, and bleu cheese crumbles.
Oatmeal Cranberry Pancakes:
A colorful and fragrant breakfast for overnight guests or cozy Sunday mornings.
Cranberry Nut Bread:
Make this whole-wheat bread as a delicious holiday gift or a simple companion to a hot cup of tea on a cold winter day.
Cranberry Lime Sparkle:
Rim the glasses of this gorgeous rum and vodka cocktail with coarse bar sugar for a look that’s straight from the North Pole.
Tart Cranberry Refresher:
Toast your little ones with this slushy and tart drink, or serve it as a palate cleanser.