Cranberries: More than Relish

Did you know that there are 440 cranberries in one pound? 4,400 cranberries in one gallon of juice? 440,000 cranberries in a 100-pound barrel? And that Americans consume some 400 million pounds of cranberries each year? For sure they are delicious, but who knew there were so many other ways you can use fresh cranberries.


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1 Centerpiece. Start with some Styrofoam balls, any size. Cut a bunch of wood toothpicks in half. Stick a pick into the ball so that about 1/2-inch is sticking out. Push a cranberry onto the toothpick until it touches the foam ball. Repeat until the ball is covered, placing the cranberries close enough so the white ball does not show through. Set your cranberry balls on candle holders of various heights or pile them into a large bowl.

2 Glitter. In a medium bowl stir together 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon pasteurized egg white (or one raw egg white) until blended but not whipped. Coat raw cranberries with this mixture. Spread granulated sugar on a baking sheet and roll the cranberries in it until they are covered. Dry at room temperature for 2 hours. Use as garnish for desserts or eat them plain. Sugared cranberries almost sparkle, they are so pretty.

3 Garland. Wash cranberries. Thread a large sewing needle with waxed dental floss. Secure the first cranberry on the floss by putting the needle through the cranberry twice, then making a knot in the floss. Continue threading the cranberries until the desired length is achieved to decorate the mantel, Christmas tree or banister.

Fun fact: If you strung all the cranberries produced in North America last year, they would stretch from Boston to Los Angeles more than 565 times.

4 Flower arrangements. Pour fresh raw cranberries into a clear glass vase. Add water. Now add a simple flower arrangement. The red berries in the water are stunning. Berries will last longer than the flowers so don’t worry about them going bad.

Hint: You don’t have to add the water or even the flowers. Clear glass vases filled partially with red cranberries add a beautiful decorator touch to any setting.

5 Lip-gloss. Place 10 raw cranberries, 1 teaspoon honey and 1 tablespoon almond oil in a small bowl. Microwave on high for two minutes. Mash and stir up the mix. Allow to cool then use a fine sieve to strain out the goop. Pour the mixture into a small container. Apply to lips as needed for a wonderful moisturizer and exfoliant.

6 Floating candles. Partially fill a clear glass bowl with water. Add fresh cranberries (they’ll float) and floating candles to make a pretty, colorful and simple holiday decoration.

7 Cranberry sauce. Here it is, the best recipe ever for Cranberry Sauce: Combine in a saucepan over medium high heat: 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries, picked through and rinsed; 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Spoon off any foam that forms. Serve hot or cold. Yum.

QUESTION: Do you have fun cranberry recipes or activities? Share it here.

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6 replies
  1. B.H.
    B.H. says:

    If there are 440 cranberries in a pound, aren’t there only 44,000 in 100 pounds? It’s still a lot and who counts this stuff anyway?

  2. CS
    CS says:

    Hi Mary et al., I grew up in New England & love cranberries. After the holiday season I buy them on super sale, freeze them in the bag & pull them out as I need/want fresh cranberry sauce. I use the sauce w/ chicken, on turkey or chicken sandwiches and all kinds of things – tart, sweet & delicious! At the price I get them at after the holidays they are truly a bargain. Love your column & hints. CS

  3. miss judi
    miss judi says:

    Howdy Mary!! This whole article is going in my food file! Wow-so many good ideas!

    My favorite cranberry dish is close to Mr. Food’s cranberry relish:

    Put in food processor:

    1 pkg washed cranberries

    1 cored, sliced apple (I like the milder ones)

    1 sliced orange, leaving the peel on One slice

    1/4-1/3 Cup sugar (I like it tart, the original recipe calls for 1 1/2!)

    Process as long as you want. Let set in frig at least one hour before serving, a day is better.

    I also add:

    1/4 Cup coconut

    1/2 Cup pecans or walnuts

    These additions make it more a dessert than a salad–but are just Yummy!

  4. NyackGal
    NyackGal says:

    Cranberries are great in a salad with Romaine lettuce,walnuts,feta cheese and Oriental salad dressing!Also wonderful in cereal!


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