Welcome to Fruity Fridays and today I am showcasing the Cranberry… Cranberries always remind me of Christmas I think it is the smell when I am making Cranberry sauce, the cinnamon, spices and the orange all together invoke those Christmas memories but of course, cranberry sauce can be eaten with any roast meats, cold meats, with cream cheese so many ways.
My mum always used to swear by Cranberry juice if anyone has a urinary tract infection, however, the latest research show that capsules are more effective as the cranberry juice you buy does not have the same concentration of antioxidant proanthocyanidins.
They are low in calories and high in Vitamin C, A and K so a little gem of a berry which packs a healthy punch.
In a homemade trail mix dried cranberries with unsalted nuts and seeds a nice quick to make a little snack.
If you are making muffins or scones then a handful or two of cranberries adds that little extra zing and helps cut through the sweetness of cakes.
There are also two ways that cranberries are harvested.
Many people and that included me for a while think that cranberries grow underwater but they are not they grow on boggy ground which is flooded with up to 18 inches of water the night before the berries are to be harvested. Then water reels, nicknamed “eggbeaters,” churn the water and loosen the cranberries from the vine. Each berry has a tiny pocket of air that allows it to float to the surface of the water. These are then collected and it is these cranberries which are used in the cranberry products we buy in the shops.
Fresh cranberries are harvested using the dry method and it is the method to pick those beautiful red berries we see fresh and beautiful in the stores or in the markets.
I have noticed the difference when I use fresh cranberries when making sauce or stuffing that the fresh berries do not have the deep red colour of the frozen ones when cooked… I do however prefer the taste of the fresh berries although I do keep a bag of frozen cranberries in my freezer as a backup or to use when fresh cranberries are out of season.
- 3 cups or 12 oz of cranberries.
- The juice of 2 large Oranges.
- A cup of sugar.
- 1 stick of cinnamon.
Put all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.
Store in a sealed container.
These little puffs don’t take long to make so if I need a quick snack if visitors pop in around sundowner time then these don’t take long. I always keep a little box of already cut puff pastry squares which I can just pop in the oven and I always have a container of cranberry as we like it in a sandwich if we have cold chicken or pork and it is lovely with hot meat or pork schnitzels which I just top with some cream cheese and a spoonful of cranberry sauce.
- I pack of frozen Puff Pastry, thawed.
- 125 gm(4 oz) of Camembert Cheese.
- 100gm Cranberry Sauce.
- 1 sprig of thyme…leaves picked.
- 1 large egg, beaten.
Line 2 baking tins with baking parchment.
Roll out puff pastry and cut into bite-sized squares ( 3cm)
Put onto baking trays making sure you space well apart. Brush top with beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins.
Put into preheated oven 180 or gas mark 6. Cook for approx 10 minutes or until golden brown. Slice Camembert into equal-sized pieces and put one in the centre of each pastry square. Top with a tsp of cranberry sauce. Put back into the oven until cheese has melted.
Garnish with thyme.
This next recipe is one I use if I am rolling and stuffing a piece of Pork and I have stuffed chicken breasts as well using the same stuffing.
Apple and Cranberry Pork.
Rub for the Pork Loin.
- 4 lbs Pork Loin,
- Bacon ( enough to cover Pork Loin)
- Salt & Pepper to taste,
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil,
- 2 finely chopped Garlic Cloves,
- 1 tablespoon chopped Thyme,
- 1 tablespoon chopped Rosemary…
Stuffing for Pork Loin:
- Half cup Vinegar,
- 1/4 teaspoon salt,
- 2 small diced red onions,
- Olive oil as required,
- 1/2 bottle Lager Beer,
- 3/4 cup Brown sugar,
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon,
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger,
- 2/3 cup dried, frozen or fresh cranberries you will notice as on this occasion I used fresh ones the stuffing was paler in colour.
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seed,
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves,
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper,
- 4 peeled and chopped Granny Smith Apples.
Cut a pocket through one end of the tenderloin. Don’t slice through the other end. Season in and out properly with salt and pepper.
Mix together the ingredients for the rub and when mixed rub into the pork loin, cover and put in the fridge for an hour.
While the Pork is absorbing all those lovely flavours prepare the stuffing mix.
Finely chop the Red Onions and cook in Olive oil until soft. Add Apples and ginger, stir and cook for 5 mins. Add remainder of ingredients stir to combine and simmer gently until mixture thickens and reduces. Cool slightly before stuffing the loin.
Stuffing the Loin was quite messy the first time I made this. I tried a plastic sauce bottle which was ok..but now I use an icing bag which is much easier and quicker.
Stuff loin and then cover with bacon slices. Put tin foil on top as bacon cooks very quickly and remove the foil about ten mins from end cooking to brown bacon. Rest loin for 10 mins before carving.
Once rested, carve and serve we made the gravy from the meat juices and pork stock and it was lovely. Served with vegetables and crispy roast potatoes..mmmm.
This versatile little berry can be used to make lovely little potato pancakes.
- Peel and grate 2 russet potatoes; squeeze dry.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 grated onion
- 1/2 cup each chopped cranberries and breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
- 1 tsp kosher salt and a freshly ground pepper to taste.
Form into 2-inch pancakes and fry in 1/4 inch vegetable oil ( or oil ) of your choice (adding more as needed) in a large skillet over medium-high heat until golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
N.B. The original recipe added sugar I didn’t we don’t like added sugar in our savoury food …I know cranberries are quite sour but mixed with everything else and eaten with meat or fish with vegetables we find them very nice and don’t think sugar is necessary.
For a nice change, this little salsa using cranberries is very moreish and of course, it has the requisite chillies…lol
Cranberry and Jalapeno Salsa.
Finely chop 2 cups cranberries with 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor. Toss with 1/3 cup each chopped cucumber and cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped white onion, 1 minced jalapeno, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Did you know you can also get Cranberry Beans they are really pretty although when they are cooked they lose their pretty colour and become a plain pale beige?
Cranberry is an odd name for a lovely, versatile bean. Thought to originally come from Colombia, the bean is now grown around the world and has been known by many names such as Madeira, Borlotti, Tongues of Fire and Wren’s Eggs.
Cranberry beans are soft and dense with a velvety, rich texture. They are a thin-skinned bean that produces a rich bean broth and is the natural friend of Pasta e Fagioli which is a lovely bowl of pasta and beans with Italian sausage.
I hope you have enjoyed these cranberry recipes as it is lovely fruit that can be eaten dried or used frozen or fresh when in season.
What’s your favourite way to eat/cook with cranberries?
Thank you for reading I hope you all have a great weekend xxx