A small, round, piquant fruit that is cultivated in bogs or peat swamps in North America. This plump, firm member of the berry family has red skin and a tart flavor.
Besides fresh cranberries, you also can find dried sweetened berries. The berries are sold canned as whole or jellied cranberry sauce and as a relish. Cranberries also are processed to make fruit drinks, especially cranberry juice cocktail.
Fresh cranberries generally are sold bagged, but you can check for good quality by looking for a plump, unblemished appearance on the berries. The red color will vary from light to dark; the deepness of the color does not affect quality. Discard soft or bruised berries.
Refrigerate bagged fresh cranberries for up to 4 weeks. Or, freeze them for up to 9 months; double-wrap the bag of cranberries with freezer wrap. (It is not necessary to thaw berries before using.)
Since chopping cranberries by hand can be tedious, try chopping them--a few cups at a time--in your food processor. You'll get about 3 cups of chopped berries from a 12-ounce package.
How to cook:
To make cranberry sauce, in a saucepan combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups cranberries (8 ounces). Return to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until skins pop, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Serve warm or chilled with beef, pork, or poultry. Makes about 2 cups (about 108 calories per 1/4-cup serving).