Cranberries are a very healthy food. They contain essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, manganese, dietary fiber, and copper. They also contain powerful antioxidants that lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions. But when can you get the tastiest, freshest cranberries for your favorite recipes?
Cranberries are in season from October through December. Fresh berries can be hard to come by outside of this season, but frozen or dried cranberries are available year-round. When purchasing fresh cranberries, look for firm, plump berries that bounce when dropped.
Only 15% of cranberries grown are eaten fresh. The rest are processed into products like cranberry juice, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries. Let’s take a look at when you should seek out fresh cranberries, which health benefits they offer, and how to store them.
When Can You Buy Fresh Cranberries?
Cranberries are a tart and tangy fruit that can be enjoyed all year round, but fresh berries are available from October through December. So if you’re looking to buy fresh, flavorful cranberries, your best bet is to head to the grocery store during the fall and winter months.
However, if fresh berries aren’t available, you can always purchase frozen cranberries instead. Dried options like this (on Amazon) are also great for salads or, if you’re feeling adventurous, cookies or muffins.
Frozen cranberries will last for several months in your freezer and can be used in any recipe that calls for fresh cranberries.
Still, fresh berries are so much tastier than frozen ones. So, if you have a chance, always buy fresh!
Are Cranberries Healthy?
Cranberries are not only delicious, but they’re also packed with nutrients that can boost your health. Cranberries are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and manganese.
They also contain antioxidants that can help protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. While fresh cranberries are the best way to get the most nutrients, you can also enjoy them in dried form, juice form, or as a supplement.
You can also find cranberries in many packaged foods like trail mix, granola bars, and yogurt. They are also great when added to baked goods or used as a topping for salads. No matter how you enjoy them, adding cranberries to your diet is a great way to improve your overall health.
Some who are really seeking cranberries out for the health impacts might do well to consider skipping the middle man and just using Cranberry Fruit Extract (on Amazon) to get the nutrients from this fruit into their system regularly.
Is It OK to Eat Fresh Cranberries?
Cranberries are safe to eat fresh, but they should still be washed before consumption. Fresh cranberries can last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen for long-term storage. Frozen cranberries will last for several months in your freezer and can be used in most recipes.
When choosing fresh cranberries, look for berries that are plump and firm. Avoid berries that are shriveled or have soft spots. You should also avoid bruised berries or those with signs of mold.
How to Store Cranberries
Cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you’re not going to use them right away, you can also freeze them for long-term storage. Frozen cranberries will last for several months in your freezer.
To freeze cranberries, simply wash them and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. When you’re ready to use them, simply thaw them in the refrigerator or at room temperature.