6 Crazy-Good Cranberry Recipes

They’re sour, saucy, and so much more. Tuck in for some new takes on the ultimate fall fruit.

October 28, 2016
Con Poulos

Just 560 of the 48,000 acres of cranberries grown in the United States and Canada are organic. Why is the chemical-free crop so small? Cranberry vines produce fruit in wetlands filled with fungi, insects, and weeds. To get the highest possible yield, conventional farms apply synthetic fertilizers and herbicides, which contaminate the environment and linger on the fruit itself: In 2006, the USDA found traces of 13 pesticides on conventional cranberries.

Happily, the number of organic cranberry farmers is growing. At Cranberry Hill Farm in Massachusetts, for example, Kristine Keese fertilizes her bog with fish emulsion and other organic nutrients—sparing helpful newts and spiders while boosting soil health—and manages weeds with lots of hand pulling. “You have to treat it like a garden,” she says.

Enjoy some organic cranberries in these delicious recipes. 

(Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale’s Organic Life 2017 Calendar!)

pickled cranberries
1/6 Con Poulos
Pickled Cranberries

Pickling cranberries plays up their tartness and gives them a jewellike appearance. The liquid can be strained to use in cocktails, and the pickled cranberries can be tossed into salads and stuffings, or spooned over ice cream. If you are the canning type, double the recipe and put them up in jars for gifts.  

Makes about 2½ cups

¾ cup sugar
1½ cups red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon peppercorns
10–12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries

1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and red wine vinegar.

2. Tie coriander seeds and peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth and add to pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.

3. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until skins begin to split, 2–3 minutes.

4. Let cool in saucepan, remove and discard spice sachet, and transfer cranberries and liquid to a jar. Refrigerate in sealed jar until ready to use. They will keep for a few weeks. (Keep going with these 23 simple pickling and canning recipes.)

kale + wild rice salad with pickled cranberries
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Kale And Wild Rice Salad With Pickled Cranberries

With its welcome roughage and striking appearance, this salad is well-suited to the Thanksgiving feast.

Serves 6–8

4 ounces (½ cup) wild rice
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 tablespoon country Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons liquid from Pickled Cranberries
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch (about 9 ounces) lacinato kale, stemmed and shredded into thin ribbons
1 cup Pickled Cranberries, drained
4 ounces (½ cup) goat cheese, crumbled
2 ounces (½ cup) toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1. In a small saucepan, cook wild rice with salt according to package directions. Drain and cool.

2. In a small bowl, stir together shallot, mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper, and pickling liquid. Slowly whisk in oil. 

3. Dress kale with about half of the dressing, adding more as needed, and use your hands to massage dressing into kale for 5 minutes. To serve, lightly toss with wild rice, cranberries, cheese, and pecans. Season with salt and pepper. 

roast pork tenderloin with cranberries and pearl onions
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Roast Pork Tenderloin With Cranberries And Pearl Onions

Pearl onions add some sweetness to the tart cranberries, forming a lovely condiment for the pork.

Serves 4–6

8 ounces (2 cups) peeled pearl onions (see note)
1½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon olive oil 
2 trimmed pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces (2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup red wine
Vincotto, saba, or aged balsamic vinegar, for serving

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine onions, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon oil in a small roasting pan and roast until onions begin to brown slightly, tossing a couple of times, about 15 minutes.

2. Coat pork with remaining oil and season with pepper and remaining salt. Heat a large skillet over high. Add pork and brown well on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to roasting pan with onions; add cranberries and sprinkle with rosemary.

3. Add wine to skillet, scraping to loosen brown bits on bottom; reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Pour into roasting pan; return to oven. Roast until meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees, about 10 minutes longer. Let meat rest 5 minutes before slicing. To serve, spoon sauce, cranberries, and onions over top and drizzle with a little vincotto, saba, or aged balsamic vinegar.

Note: To peel pearl onions, plunge them into boiling water for about 30 seconds and drain. When cool, peel off the skins.

whole grain stuffing with fennel and cranberries
4/6 Con Poulos
Whole Grain Stuffing With Fennel And Cranberries

Tart pickled cranberries bring color and balance to this sumptuous, cream-enriched stuffing. This recipe requires dried bread cubes. To make them, spread fresh cubed bread out on a cookie sheet overnight, or bake in a low oven (275 degrees) until dry, tossing a few times, about 45 minutes.

Serves 8

Unsalted butter, for dish
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced (2½ cups)
1 large fennel bulb (1 pound), chopped, fronds reserved (about 2 cups)
4 stalks celery, diced (1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, plus more as needed
2 cups drained Pickled Cranberries
1 cup (1 ounces) packed parsley leaves, chopped
8 to 10 sage leaves, thinly sliced
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf (1 pound) whole grain bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 8 cups) and dried
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart baking dish.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion, fennel, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Add cream and stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add cranberries, parsley, sage, and pepper. 

3. In a large bowl, mix the dried bread, eggs, and cream mixture thoroughly. If the bread is not moistened all the way through, add more stock, ¼ cup at a time (see note). Transfer to baking dish and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly and top with reserved fennel fronds.

Note: After adding stock to stuffing, let rest 5 minutes, tilt bowl, and use a wooden spoon to shift a bit of stuffing from bottom of bowl. If a couple of tablespoons of liquid pools, you’re good to go. If not, stir in more stock, ¼ cup at a time, let rest, and do the pooling test again.

Related: Roast Heritage Turkey With Root-Vegetable Stuffing

cranberry and clementine relish
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Cranberry And Clementine Relish

This refreshing raw relish is a nice complement to a traditional whole-berry cranberry sauce on the holiday table and is great on sandwiches the next day, too. 

Makes 4 cups

12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and quartered
1 skin-on clementine, cut into eighths
2½ ounces roasted, salted, shelled pistachios
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup maple syrup

1. In a food processor, combine cranberries, apple, clementine, pistachios, sugar, and maple syrup.

2. Pulse until finely chopped, about 1 minute. Do not overprocess. Can be made up to 3 days ahead.

cranberry-ginger clafoutis
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Cranberry-Ginger Clafoutis

For this custardy dessert, cooking the cranberries in sugar infuses them with sweetness and helps juices caramelize while the clafoutis bakes.

Serves 6

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, plus more for skillet 
¾ cup granulated sugar
2¼ ounces (½ cup) all-purpose flour
2 eggs
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch kosher salt
1½ cups whole milk
1 tablespoon ginger liqueur (such as Domaine de Canton) or cognac, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces (2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
1 ounce (¼ cup) sliced almonds
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 12" cast-iron skillet and set on a foil- or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a blender, combine ½ cup sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder, salt, milk, butter, liqueur, and vanilla. Blend until smooth and set aside.

3. Toss cranberries with remaining sugar and place in skillet. Bake until cranberries have started to bubble, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, scatter candied ginger over top, and pour on the batter. Sprinkle with almonds and return to oven. Bake until set, slightly puffed, and brown around edges, 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately, with ice cream, if desired.

Note: To make individual clafoutis, use six 8-ounce oven-safe dishes.