Cranberries Shine During the Holiday Season

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Everyone goes extra crazy about cranberries from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, sadly after that often cranberries are shelved. Most of us are all too familiar with the many ways to consume cranberry sauce during the Holidays, and stringing them around your vintage Christmas trees. Let’s not forget that cranberries are one of best fruits to have on the menu year-round, not only are they tasty, they are a great source of nutrients and antioxidants.
Cranberries can be found frozen, canned, dried and in juice, so that makes it extra easy to use them is all sorts of recipes. The sweet tart flavor of the cranberry compliment’s savory recipes as well as sweet. Cranberries also par well with meat, adding just the right amount of sweet and sour to make meaty dishes shine.
They are not only packed with flavor but as healthy foods go, they are at the top of the list due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. Cranberries are considered a “super” food. A half a cup of cranberries contains only 25 calories, and are well known for lowering
the risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, decreased blood pressure and more.

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Wild Rice Pilaf

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup wild rice blend
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet potato, diced small
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

In a medium sized saucepan bring the broth to a boil and add wild rice, parsley, oregano, and thyme. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the sweet potato and sauté until tender, about 15 minutes. Once the potatoes are nearly cooked through, add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent.
Add the dried cranberries and chopped pecans to the sweet potato mixture then cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the sweet potato mixture to the rice mixture and fluff with a fork.
Optional, garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.

Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 322, Fat 10g., Carbohydrates 52g., Protein 9g., Fiber 6g.

Power Packed Cranberry Smoothie

  • ½ cup of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ¼ cup frozen raspberries
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup orange juice

Put all of the ingredients in the blender and mix until smooth. If needed, add more orange juice to get desired consistency.
Serves 1, each serving contains; Calories 149, Fat 1 g., Sodium 21 mg., Carbohydrates
31g., Protein 7g., Fiber 6g.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries

For the Salad

  • 12 ounces Brussels spouts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted if desired

For the Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon local honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

To prepare the Brussels sprouts; Cut off the ends and any browning outer leaves. Shred them in a food processor using the slicing blade or slice them as thinly as possible using a sharp knife. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
For the Dressing; In a small bowl, first combine the vinegar and Dijon mustard, season with salt and pepper and add garlic and onion powders. Whisk everything together.
Next whisk in the local honey. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking the ingredients together. Continue whisking until well incorporated, about 1 minute. The mixture should look thick and creamy, with oil completely mixed in.
For the salad; Add chopped cranberries and chopped pecans to the bowl with shredded
Brussels sprouts. Drizzle in the honey mustard dressing and mix well.

Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 307, Fat 24g., Carbohydrates 22g., Protein 4g.,
Fiber 4g.

Every fruit has a Yum Yum, even cranberries

Cranberry Yum Yum

For the Crust

  • 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cream Cheese Base

  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Filling and Topping

  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce, or make your own, it is not hard!!
  • 3 tablespoons pecans

For the Crust: In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and melted
butter. Blend with a fork until crumbs are moistened. Set aside 1 tablespoon of
crumbs for topping.
Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 9 inch pan that’s been sprayed with
non-stick cooking spray.
For the Cream Cheese Mixture: With an electric mixer, cream together softened
cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
By hand, mix together whipped cream and cream cheese mixture until well
combined.
For the Yum Yum Layers: Spread a little less than half the cream cheese/whipped
cream mixture evenly over the crust.
Stir cranberry sauce a bit in its can to break it up. Drop cranberry sauce by large
spoonful’s on top of the cream cheese layer. Gently spread cranberry sauce filling
evenly over the cream cheese layer.
Top cranberry layer with the remaining cream cheese/whipped cream mixture.
Gently spread it evenly over the cranberry layer, covering it completely

Combine chopped pecans and reserved 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs.
Sprinkle evenly over the top.
Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving. Serves 9-12.

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction

Pork brine

  • 2, 1 pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of excess fat
  • ¼ cup Kosher salt
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Cajun Rub

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning

Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction Sauce

  • 1 cup Chicken broth
  • ½ cup quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce, reduced sodium
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped

In a gallon-sized freezer bag, dissolve ¼ cup kosher salt in warm water. Add the remaining
Brine ingredients, including the pork. Brine for 20 minutes, no longer. The pork will
change texture if brined too long.
Meanwhile, create the Cajun Rub by whisking together 2 tablespoons olive oil and Cajun seasoning. Remove the pork from the brine after 20 minutes and pat dry. Rub the pork all over with the rub mixture.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When oil is very hot, add pork tenderloin. Sear each side until browned, about 1-2 minutes per side.
Remove and place tenderloin on a rack in a shallow pan. Roast about 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees or until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers between 145 and 150 degrees. At this temp the pork will be juicy and very slightly pink in the middle. When the pork is done, let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, prepare cranberry apple reduction by adding the broth, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and sugar to a large skillet, not a small saucepan or it will take longer to reduce.

Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the apples and cranberries and continue to simmer 10-15 minutes or until reduced stirring occasionally, I like to bust the cranberries to release more flavor. The sauce will thicken quickly, watch closely so as not to burn. Season with salt and pepper, add additional pepper to taste.
To serve, slice the tenderloin into thin slices and spoon the cranberry apple reduction over top. Serves 8.