December: Cranberries

by Alexandra Juliano

Cranberries are a common staple on the holiday table. This tart and unique fruit is full of antioxidants and fiber, which are great benefits to such a low-calorie food! There is a lot of research that even suggests that the inclusion of cranberries in your diet can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, to help slow the progression of certain cancers, and to help enhance oral health (1,2,3).

Cranberries originated in North America and are now primarily grown in the USA, Canada, and Chile (4). Fall and Winter are the best times to buy fresh cranberries but it may be difficult to figure out how to incorporate cranberries into your diet outside of the classic holiday cranberry sauce.

Here are 3 fun and delicious recipe ideas that include cranberries:

1. Sparkling Cranberry Pineapple Punch {makes 10 cups}

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of pineapple juice
  • 3 cups of cranberry juice
  • 4 cups of ginger ale or seltzer
  • 1 cup of fresh cranberries

The steps are easy! Combine all of the pineapple juice, cranberry juice and ginger ale in a large pitcher. Stir well until thoroughly mixed. Add the fresh, washed and dried cranberries to the top of the drink. And enjoy!

Recipe from:

2. Turkey & Cranberry Quesadilla Appetizer {makes 4 quesadillas}

What you’ll need:

  • 4 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 ½ cup cooked turkey (sliced)
  • 1 cup of swiss cheese
  • ½ cup homemade cranberry sauce or fresh sliced cranberries
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves

There are few steps to this delicious recipe. In a large skillet, spray cooking spray or melt butter than put down a tortilla flat on the bottom of the pan. The stove should be on medium heat for best cheese melting. Add half of the ingredients to the tortilla in the pan then place a second tortilla on top. When the cheese begins to melt, use a spatula to flip the quesadilla over. Continue cooking the quesadilla until the tortilla has become crispy and the cheese has fully melted. Repeat the same steps with the other half of the ingredients. Finally, cut the quesadillas into quarters and enjoy!

Recipe from:

3. Cranberry Orange Muffins {makes 12 muffins}

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (dried if not in season)
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Place cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the berries from the heat and set aside to cool. Drain off any excess juice and set aside in a separate bowl.
  3. Grease muffin tin with butter or cooking spray.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
  5. In a standing mixer bowl or a large bowl suitable for a hand-held mixer, combine butter, orange zest, and ⅔ cup sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl using a rubber spatula.
  6. Add large eggs, one at a time, while beating after each. Remove bowl from the mixer.
  7. Fold in flour in 3 separate parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until the muffin batter is just combined. Fold in cranberries. Do not overmix. Pour batter into muffin tins and bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Let muffins cool then enjoy!

Recipe from:

With these recipes, you’ll be able to incorporate cranberries into your meals past the holidays and the cranberry sauce!


  1. McKay D, Blumberg J. Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Nutrition Reviews. 2007; 65(11):490-502. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00273.x.
  2. Neto C. Cranberry and blueberry: evidence for protective effects against cancer and vascular diseases. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2007;51:652–664. Doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200600279.
  3. Blumberg J, Camesano T, Cassidy A, et al. Cranberries and their bioactive constituents in human health. Advances in nutrition. 2013;4(6):618-632.
  4. About the cranberry. Ocean Spray website. Accessed December 9, 2019.
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