Cranberries are a time-honored staple of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, but this ‘super fruit’ can now be enjoyed all year. Fresh cranberries are always popular during the holidays, but we also have them available in dried, canned and juice form. So we can benefit from this Native American fruit far into the new year.

Cranberries are high in vitamin C, a good source of antioxidants, can fight tooth decay and are well known for preventing bladder and urinary tract infections. Here are just a few ways to add cranberries to a side dish or dessert. And if cooking just isn’t your thing, remember you can string cranberries for a Christmas tree, use them in an ice ring, or fill a clear vase with them, along with some holly, for a beautiful table centerpiece.

Cranberry Yogurt Parfaits

1½ cups fresh cranberries
½ cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. Lemon zest
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1½ cups vanilla yogurt
1 tsp. Vanilla

In a food processor or blender, combine the cranberries and corn syrup until finely chopped. Stir in lemon zest. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream, slowly adding the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. In a large bowl, mix yogurt and vanilla together. Fold whipping cream into yogurt mixture. Spoon 1 Tbsp. of cranberry into each parfait glass, top with 1/3 cup yogurt mixture. Repeat this layer, and garnish with sliced cranberries. Makes 6 servings.



Orzo with Dried Cranberries and Almonds

McKinney Online - Orzo with Dried Cranberries and Almonds

2 cups orzo
2 Tbsp. Grated lemon zest
4 Tbsp. Orange juice
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
4 green onions, chopped

Sauté the chopped onions in olive oil, set aside. Boil the orzo in salted water until just cooked. Drain and put back into saucepan with butter, lemon zest, orange juice, cranberries and almonds. Can be made ahead and reheated before serving. Serves 8-10 as a side dish.


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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Cranberries

McKinney Online - Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Cranberries

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 shallots, diced
½ lb. Pancetta, diced
½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss all ingredients together with the olive oil and place on a foiled cookie sheet. I like to arrange the Brussels sprouts cut side down. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender. Serves 6.




Tart Cranberry Crumble Bars

McKinney Online - Tart Cranberry Crumble Bars


½ cup sugar
½ cup cranberry juice
2 cups fresh cranberries, whole
½ tsp. Cinnamon

In a 1½ quart saucepan, heat sugar and juice until boiling. Stir in remaining filling ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring until thickened, cool.



¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup softened butter
1½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup flour
¼ tsp. Salt

Heat oven to 400°. Mix brown sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients until crumbly. Press half of the crumble mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Spread with cooled filling. Top with remaining crumble mixture; press lightly.

Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown. Cut into bars while warm. Makes 24.


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Cranberry Fizz

McKinney Online - Cranberry Fizz

This is an easy drink to offer guests that won’t keep you in the bar mixing. If alcohol is not preferred, ginger ale or soda water work just as well as the champagne.

4 oz. (½ cup) champagne
4 oz. Cranberry juice

Pour chilled cranberry juice into a champagne flute. Top with champagne, serve immediately, garnish with fresh cranberries if desired.


About the author: Debbie Denissen writes about food for McKinney Magazine.