Baked, simmered, dried, or plunked fresh in an icy cocktail, cranberries are cardinal for holiday hosting. Their appearance is not limited to Thanksgiving dinner. Round and rosy-hued, the versatile fruit is tart and nutritious, with tons of potential. From relish and sauce to candied and roasted, these orbital beauties provide easy, and tasty, options in the kitchen and at the table.
Giant Eagle Market District Executive Development Chef John Gruver advises consumers when picking cranberries, “look for nice, plump shiny skin in a bright maroon color.” When simmering in sugar water for a sauce, look for them to pop. “Once they crack open, they’re done,” says Gruver. “Do not continue to cook them down to where they become overly soft and adversely tart.”
Gruver says he’s amorous of their uses in both sweet and savory applications. He’s developed recipes for cranberry muffins, scones, breads, and cranberry-orange sauce — all sold in-store. “If you purchase an abundance of fresh cranberries, they can be kept frozen for nine months, easily,” he says.
Aside from “sweet and earthy” apple- and pear-cranberry pies and stuffing, Gruver suggests his favorite approach. “Pulse fresh cranberries with sugar, orange zest, fresh ginger, and a pinch of salt, and serve as a side,” he says. “The cranberries themselves have quite a bit of juice and will stand up to any item you’re putting them on or serving them with.”
If you’re short on time and eager to use a batch, devise a beverage with a cranberry ice ring. Simply submerge fresh cranberries in water in a freezer-safe Bundt pan, freeze, then pop into a delicious punch for a functional, pretty garnish.
This season, you cran do it.
Giant Eagle Market District, 100 Settlers Ridge Center Drive, Robinson. 412.788.5392. | 5550 Centre Ave., Shadyside. 412.681.1500. | 7000 Oxford Drive, Bethel Park. 412.831.1480. | 155 Towne Centre Drive, Wexford. 724.934.0155. marketdistrict.com.