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5 ways to use cranberries – except cranberry sauce

Take a look in one of your kitchen cupboards. Go on, sift through all of the out of date spices, three different variations of flour and the questionable dried item that might once have been an apple. I bet there’s a jar of cranberry sauce in the back somewhere. Or perhaps you left it in the fridge, and the jar hasn’t been opened since Christmas last year, possibly the year previous. That’s because cranberries have no other use than for sauce, right? Wrong. 

I can only think of one other commonly known use for cranberries and that’s cranberry juice. I’m not sure if this is an old wives tale, but I’ve grown up being told that cranberry juice is the way to stop a UTI infection. Aside from that, it’s one of the lesser known berries that hides under the shadows or strawberries and its other popular counterparts. 

The thing is, cranberries are actually a fantastic accompaniment to so many dishes and not just Christmas dinner. Although they do have a bit of a kick when you eat them on their own, I wouldn’t recommend (but you can try it for a laugh), you can pair them with both sweet and savoury foods to add the finishing touch to a meal. 

So this year, when you stock up on cranberries to make your sauce, here are some things you can do with the ones you’ve got leftover: 

Garnish desserts 

I thought the best way to start was by keeping it pretty simple. Christmas is the time for excessive and overly indulgent desserts, and it helps if they look pretty too. If you’re baking a festive treat this December, or you’ve bought a cake and you simply want to make it stand out (and look homemade) use cranberries to decorate. Even add a bit of edible gold paint if you really want to juge things up. 

Pair with pork 

One of the best foods to pair cranberries with is pork. Chances are, you’ve probably dipped your pork and sage stuffing in cranberry sauce at some point because cranberries cut through the pork with perfection. 

Bake your cranberries with pork chops for the perfect winter comfort dish, you can even pair them with mashed potatoes for an IKEA style meal. 

A topping for porridge 

Cranberries aren’t something that you’d usually throw in your porridge as the flavour is quite sharp, but they’re great if added with other ingredients. If you’re looking for a festive breakfast, top your oats with cranberries, apple, cinnamon and a squeeze of maple syrup to add a sweet touch. You couldn’t find a more Christmassey flavour combination. 

Homemade fruit toast 

Something about fruit toast reminds me of my student days. Probably because we would buy a 12p reduced loaf from the local corner shop and eat the whole loaf between two in a whole sitting. I know that’s not very Christmassesy, however the smell of fruit toast cooking is. 

It’s a fragrance like no other, and finished off with a little sea salt butter, or maybe even seville orange marmalade if you want a kick, it’s another Christmas breakfast to add to your list.

Add a bit of booze 

You can’t go wrong with turning something into a boozy delight, especially at this time of year. If you are up for taking part in some crafts, why not try making your own cranberry vodka. Or if you’re looking for a way to impress friends and family at Christmas a Cosmopolitan with cranberry juice is a sure way to do so. 

Not got your creative hat on today? That’s no problem, dip your cranberries in water and sugar and use as a garnish for your drinks instead. 

Now there’s no excuse to throw away the cranberries you’ve got left over after you’ve rustled up a cranberry sauce. Have you got a cranberry recipe you love? Why not share it under the comments below.

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Eryn Barber

A personal trainer and content writer, with a background writing nutrition and fitness articles. Her main passion is anything and everything to do with food. She is a keen baker and loves writing about her experiences with food. Follow her work-outs on Instagram @erynbarber.

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