Fresh cranberries reappear in grocery stores this time of the year. These tart and fruity little berries offer a taste that other foods can’t mimic. Lots of shoppers in our area accustomed to cranberries in only one form: jellied and in a can.

Look for fresh berries in the produce section of the grocery store during the fall months. They are normally sold in 12 ounce clear plastic bags. Just prior to serving or cooking, the berries should be looked at so that any soft fruits can be discarded. Then all the top notch berries (which is usually all of them) should be rinsed.

Cranberries are really good for you. According to the USDA, cranberries are among the foods with the highest antioxidant activity. That means one cup of fresh berries equals serious health benefits such as improved heart health and a stronger immune system.

How are fresh cranberries served? Try these simple recipes during the holidays. Serve the fresh cranberry relish as a go-along with the traditional turkey dinner. You can also pair this recipe with salty whole grain crackers and serve as an appetizer. It’s hard to go wrong when you start with the basics as good as fresh cranberries.

Fresh Cranberry Relish

4 cups fresh cranberries

2 apples, cored and chopped

1 orange, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 ¾ cups sugar OR sugar equivalent

½ cup walnuts OR pecans, chopped (optional)

Placed washed cranberries, apples and orange in a food processor and pulse until ground. Stir sugar and nuts into mixture until sugar is dissolved. Store relish in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cranberry Nut Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon shortening

1 egg, well beaten

1 ½ cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped

½ cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Turn into a 9 x 5 loaf pan, greased on bottom only. Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack 15 minutes before removing loaf from pan.

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