Cranberries are the signal of the season’s beginning, from the moment the cranberry sauce and stuffing hits the Thanksgiving table. For our family, this is the unofficial start to our pierogi assembly lines and days of baking buttery cookies transcribed from my grandmother’s handwritten tattered pages.
Growing up in a Polish household, the holiday season has always been special. Each year is spent with family anticipating those last two months filled with cheesy pierogies, buttery haluski, and spicy kielbasa. Although my siblings and I are now grown, our traditions haven’t diminished. Instead, they’ve flourished.
Whether you’re looking to reinvent your traditional dishes or discover something new, we’ve compiled nine of our favorite ways to incorporate cranberries in your holiday favorites.
Cranberries: Sweet & In Season
Freight House’s Sara Bradley bakes a twist on her family-favorite cranberry casserole recipe. Her cranberries are paired with fresh sage and a touch of red wine vinegar, all topped with a sugary oat and pecan topping. The best part? Bradley offers substitutions to make the recipe nut and dairy free with sunflower seeds and non-dairy butter, sure to please every holiday guest.
Sweet meets citrusy, savory, and spicy in Vivian Howard’s sweet potatoes. The North Carolina chef mixes sweet potatoes with orange juice, citrus zest, brown sugar, and butter then tops it all with a crunchy cranberry, leek, and breadcrumb relish. For additional spice, top with Olde Virden’s sweet and spicy honey sprinkles to amplify the earthy flavors.
Every holiday meal needs its fair share of cranberry sauce. A twist on the traditional recipe, Charlottesville, Virginia’s Megan Kiernan cooks up a cranberry-pecan version, complete with orange juice and a touch of zest. If the pecans inside aren’t enough, we suggest Zorro’s Georgia roasted pecans for an extra crunchy topping.
Make vegetables the star of your holiday menu with chef John Ondo’s brussels sprouts. Topped with a sweet cranberry vinaigrette, these sprouts are roasted to golden brown and crispy perfection. Pair with a drizzle of Apis Mercantile honey for a savory-sweet finish.
Veronica Mathieu shares her recipe for the perfect fire-side dessert. The Atlanta chef mixes French bread with vanilla, cinnamon, craisins, and white chocolate to make the ultimate sweet holiday bread pudding. Pair with a cup of hot coffee mixed with a hint of Omni Coffee’s cookie butter syrup to relish the holiday mood.
Holiday breads are often forgotten amid other cookies and sweets. Lionel Vatinet brings La Farm’s best to the table with this cranberry brioche with a sweet candied almond meringue. Toasted pecans (we recommend Billie’s), espelette pepper, and rum make this brioche the perfect addition to your charcuterie spread.
Pie specialist, Amanda Wilbanks of Southern Baked Pie Company, is happy to deliver pies right to your door, but you can also use her recipe to make your own bakery-worthy dessert this winter. With a mix of fresh cranberries matched with winter pears, this dish is perfectly in-season. If you love this recipe, make sure to check out her cookbook, Southern Baked.
Instead of reheating your Thanksgiving leftovers, transform them into a refreshing lunch with Sean Fowler’s holiday-themed turkey salad. The Raleigh, North Carolina chef mixes turkey leftovers with dried cranberries and apples for a hint of sweet crunch. Add fresh herbs like rosemary and tarragon, then complete with Duke’s mayonnaise, orange zest, and Feridies’ pistachios for an entirely new dish.
What are the holidays without a cocktail? Scott Blackwell of High Wire Distillery shares his cranberry and gin smash with a cranberry spice simple syrup of cinnamon, orange peel, and rosemary. With a vibrant red color and a rosemary sprig as garnish, Blackwell’s holiday sipper looks as good as it tastes.
OU Kosher Certified Non-GMO Project Verified Feridies California Pistachios are gently roasted and salted then naturally split open so you can enjoy these delicious treats straight out of the can with minimal effort.$25.00
Two 8oz. bags of Zorro's roasted and lightly salted Georgia pecans These beautifully roasted and lightly salted are straight from the farm, and whether you're using them to cook or snack, you'll notice the superior taste of Zorro's golden pecans.$25.00
Apis Mercantile’s new Fermented Garlic honey is the funkiest honey you’ve ever tasted, in the best way possible. They combine sliced fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, and their Southern Wildflower honey, age it for three months, and the result is a funky, sweet and sour honey that tastes great with salmon or roasted veggies.$10.00
Seasonings & Spices
This 1-ounce bottle of Olde Virden’s Red Hot Sprinkle is handmade and ground locally in Knoxville, Tennessee. The five chilies are harvested from local farms all around Tennessee and each bottle is made in small batches and is sent to your house no more than a week after dehydration. The Red Hot Sprinkle is the perfect spice to keep in your pantry at all times. It’s a great substitute for boring, red pepper flakes on pizza. It gives a regular piece of pizza the kind of spice it deserves. The Red Hot Sprinkle is sodium free, additive free, and preservative free to make for the freshest, tastiest, most unique spice you could have in your kitchen. Or you can also try to put Ground Red Pepper to spices up your dish.Olde Virden’s was founded by Chris Virden in his home city of Knoxville, Tennessee. The thought came to Chris as he was having pizza thousands of miles in the air near the peak of Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was there that he noticed that each pizza place he had ever eaten at used that same generic red pepper flakes and thought there had to be a tastier, more natural option. He came back to his home in Tennessee after the trip and started exploring better alternatives for red pepper flakes. After months of testing different peppers, spices, and methods, he finally ranked and chose his top five. Shortly after, he opened up a small, family-owned and operated facility in his hometown of Knoxville where the local chilies are dehydrated, prepped, and bottled on-site to be shipped.$8.00
- by Erin Byers Murray
- by Hannah Lee Leidy
- by Hannah Lee Leidy
- by Hannah Lee Leidy