Ingredient of the Week: Dried Cranberries

October 5, 2012

by

There are few things that scream New England more than a cranberry bog. It is one of the few crops that can grow in this barren wasteland of rocky soil, something the Pilgrims did not quite understand. Lucky for them, Squanto and his friends were around to show them how it’s done.

As for us, we are lucky we no longer have to do our own farming. While there may be some negative consequences to this, we have found other ways of obtaining our food, and because of this, we don’t have to take a trip down to a cranberry bog for this week’s rendition of Ingredient of the Week. You can keep your pants rolled down and walk to the nearest grocery store to pick up the fruit in its most delicious form (at least in my opinion)—dried.

Dried cranberries, or Craisins as they are now known thanks to Ocean Spray, complement anything they are paired with while remaining tangy enough to stand alone. Dried cranberries are a great way to fill up on antioxidants after a tough workout to combat the free radicals that run loose in your body after vigorous exercise.

The three recipes listed below can serve as breakfast, a lunch or post-workout snack, and dinner, and they all contain the New England native cranberry.

dried cranberries

Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal. | Photo by Samantha Wood

Breakfast 

Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal

Total Time: 5 minutes, serves 1

Ingredients

1/2 cup dried oats

1 cup water

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/8 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Cook oatmeal according to directions by placing 1/2 cup dried oats in a bowl with 1 cup of water. Cook in microwave for about 1 minute, or until all water is dissolved. Stir in cranberries and sprinkle on chocolate chips. Top with a dusting of cinnamon. This dish is a sweet and filling breakfast for a cold New England morning.

dried cranberries

Tropical Trail Mix. | Photo by Samantha Wood

Lunch/Snack

Tropical Trail Mix

Total Time: 5 minutes, serves 1

Ingredients

1 tablespoon corn kernels

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 cup dried cranberries

1/8 cup chopped walnuts

4 dried apricots, broken into smaller pieces

Directions

Place popcorn kernels, sugar, and cinnamon into a brown paper bag. Roll top of bag over so that the kernels are trapped inside. Place in microwave for about 2 minutes (adjust according to your microwave strength). Once kernels are completely popped, pour into a bowl and mix in cranberries, walnuts, and apricots. Have this ready after your afternoon run and you’re equipped to combat those free radicals.

dried cranberries

Fruited Fall Quinoa. | Photo by Samantha Wood

Dinner

Fruited Fall Quinoa from The Everything Vegan Cookbook

Total Time: 30 minutes, serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

2 cups apples juice

1 cup water

1/2 onion, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

2 tablespoons vegan margarine (or butter)

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1 teaspoon parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a large pot, combine quinoa, apple juice, and water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until done (when all water is absorbed and quinoa is slightly fluffy). In a large skillet, heat onion and celery in margarine, stirring frequently, until soft. Over low heat, combine onions and celery with quinoa and add remaining ingredients, tossing gently to combine. Heat for 3-4 more minutes. Quinoa is my favorite grain (though technically it’s not a grain, but a seed) because it is packed with protein and does not have the calorie content of some other grains. It also takes less time to cook than rice or couscous.