When we think of cranberries, two things usually come to mind: cranberry juice or canned cranberry sauce (ick). Growing up I consumed the former version quite a bit, mixed with a little OJ and seltzer. Never did I try the cylinder shaped jelly mold that often sat untouched during our family’s Thanksgiving meal.
It wasn’t until I volunteered to cook an entire Thanksgiving feast about 5 years ago, that I discovered a true appreciation for these tart berries. The process of making homemade cranberry sauce it not only incredibly easy, but so much fun; the cranberries burst as they cook and it’s completely mesmerizing. Most of all, it could not be the more perfect side to the savory and sweet elements of the whole meal. What I learned later is that whole cranberries have much more to offer in the nutrition department than the processed version (shocker!). They are anti-inflammatory, provide immune support, and are awesome for the digestive tract. All of this combined makes them a natural cancer preventer. Sold!
Since cranberries are in season right now, I wanted to get creative with how to eat them more. So I did some experimenting in my kitchen and whipped them up in three ways.
- In a smoothie.
- In a bowl of oatmeal.
- And as traditional cranberry sauce, with a twist.
Adding them to a smoothie may sound a little daring, I know. But they add the most incredible tartness and it feels so cleansing to drink them. They have become a favorite addition to my oatmeal because when warmed up they burst in your mouth. One thing I’ve found that is almost always necessary to pair with cranberries is oranges. The sweet citrus cuts the tart berry just enough.
Ready to try it out yourself? All three recipes are below.
Cranberry Cream Smoothie
1-1.5 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut butter
1 medium orange, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup raw cranberries (fresh or frozen)
Blend on high and enjoy!
Note: If you don’t like pulp in your smoothies, be sure to peel the clear casing from the orange. And if you prefer something a bit more sweet, add a teaspoon of honey.
1/4 cup oats (I use Purely Elizabeth’s Ancient Grain Hot Cereal)
1/2 cup water or nut milk
1 tablespoon coconut butter
1/2 orange juiced and zested
1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
Sprinkle of sea salt
Bring water or nut milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Stir in the oats and reduce the heat to medium/low. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes (depending on what kind of oats you’re using). Add in the raw cranberries while there is still liquid in the pan. As the cranberries begin to burst, add the orange juice, zest and coconut butter. Mix together, then add the honey or maple syrup and sprinkle with salt. Mix again and enjoy immediately.
Dark Cherry Cranberry Sauce
12 oz. bag organic cranberries
3-3.5 oranges, juiced (you want 1 cup)
1/4 cup coconut sugar (sweeten to taste)
2 handfuls of unsweetened dried cherries
Combine cranberries and orange juice in a medium saucepan on medium/high heat. Stir occasionally as the cranberries begin to burst. Before the liquid completely absorbs add the cherries and the coconut sugar. Stir until the mixtures takes on a thick sauce consistency. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve at room temperature. Or if you make it ahead of time, you can store it in the fridge.
I heart all three of this recipes so hard! You must give these cranberry friends a try. And at the very least, make your own cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving on Thursday. Wishing you and your loved ones a cozy, delicious day 🙂