In Season: Cranberries


[Flickr: puamella]

At peak season from October through November, cranberries are a great way to bring in the holidays—with a vibrant hue and delicious tart sweetness, what's not to love? They can be enjoyed in a wide variety of dishes, whether fresh, frozen, or dried.

Cranberry recipes, tips, and info after the jump.

Cranberries are-low growing shrubs or vines reaching 5 to 20 centimeters in height. They have a thin and wiry stem, small evergreen leaves, and dark pink forward-pointing flowers. The fruit that we all know and love is an acidic berry that is white when unripened, but turns a deep festive crimson when fully ripe.

Most cranberries are usually harvested in the fall, and the beds of berries are flooded with six to eight inches of water; then, a harvester combs the fruit free from the vines. From the farm, cranberries are taken to stations where they are cleaned, sorted, and stored before being packaged or processed. An estimated 95% of cranberries are harvested and then processed into juices, canned sauce, and dried—with only the remaining 5% enjoyed fresh.

For ideas on how to use cranberry's this winter, we've compiled our favorite cranberry recipes below.