Because of their recurring role in annual holiday productions, cranberries can be easy to typecast. But these sturdy fruits, native to North America, have a range that extends far beyond that ubiquitous sauce. Even better, they're quite healthful. Cranberries contain tannins that guard the bladder and kidneys from infection and protect the stomach and gums, possibly reducing the risk of ulcers and periodontal disease.
The bracing tart flavor for which the cranberry is known allows the berry to travel in both savory and sweet circles. Here, we present cranberries as the light, tonic note in a wintry preparation of roasted pork tenderloin. (When it comes to meats, cranberries go well with more than just poultry.)
Dried cranberries, usually eaten as a snack, are almost always sweetened, but they retain the valuable bacteria-fighting properties of fresh berries. We've sprinkled them over a green salad and made them part of the stuffing and sauce for Cornish game hens.
For such a small fruit, the cranberry delivers a big splash of flavor and color. Just take our bright and tangy cranberry-vanilla compote spooned over orange ice: How sweet (and tart) it is.
Do You Know?
Cranberries are brimming with flavonoids, which may help lower "bad" cholesterol.