Crazy For Cranberries

Last winter, around February or March, once all my Christmas decorations were stored away and the house was back to some semblance of normalcy, I decided to work on some winter canning.  Pulling out my recipes and scanning the internet for ideas, I decided that I wanted to work with some of the fruit juices I’d frozen from the summer before and experiment with combining these and cranberries.  Going to my freezer I found I had only two bags of frozen cranberries.  No worries, so I thought, I’d just run up to the store and buy some.

Well, when I got to the store, there were none to be found.  There were none in the fresh fruit section and none in the freezer sections.  I went to every market and grocery store within 20 miles, calling some and visiting most, and was told they were a seasonal item and would not be available again until late October.  This was not at all acceptable.  I needed them right then, not seven or eight months from then.  Not accepting the situation, I went to the internet.  There I found several sources for fresh cranberries, but in order to purchase them I had to buy 30 pounds or more at exorbitant prices.  The reality hit me hard, but the lesson was not lost.  I made a note right then not to make the same mistake ever again.

At the end of October, just as promised, every grocery store in my area began stocking fresh cranberries again.  I was thrilled and immediately began stocking up.  The first time I found them they were $2.50 per 12 oz bag.  I bought four bags.  With these I began experimenting with homemade cranberry sauce and combinations of cranberry, plum and mixed berry sauces.

My next trip to the grocery store, a different one this time, I found 12 oz bags for $1.99.  I bought 10 and threw them immediately in the freezer. Cranberries are the absolute easiest fruit to freeze because you just throw the bag in the freezer and that’s it.  They keep for up to a year in the freezer as is, but if you freeze them and then slip them into another freezer bag or container, they will keep even longer.

Happy that I’d stocked up on cranberries, I still kept my eyes open for any sales.  Last week, while I was picking up a few things from yet a different grocery store, this time Aldi Market, I found they had a special on their 12 oz bags of cranberries.  They had them on sale for $1.19 per bag.  Oh Happy Day!  I picked up another dozen bags and threw them in the freezer as well.

With 22 bags in the freezer, you’d think I’d be content.  But I NEVER want to find myself in need of cranberries again, so before they are out of the stores for another year, I will no doubt pick up at least another five or more bags — just to be sure.

Although canning at this point in time, due to the approaching holidays, is not realistic (there are just so many hours in the day you know), I am still finding time to bake.  Just the other day I made a batch of blueberry muffins and on a whim decided to make a second batch, but this time I added some cranberries to the blueberry mix.  They were great.  I actually thought that the combination of flavors was more satisfying than just the plain blueberry.  I love my blueberry muffins, but by adding just a cup of cranberries, it really made them pop.

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Cran-Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/3 Cup Cooking Oil
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 – 1 1/2 Cups Blueberries (I like lots of berries in mine)
  • 1 Cup Fresh Cranberries

Crumble Topping

  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Cold Butter

Combine dry ingredients for muffins in large bowl.  Make a well in center and add egg, milk and oil.  Mix by hand until combined.  Fold berries into batter.  Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full.

Make crumble topping by combining flour and sugar and cutting in butter with pastry blender.  Sprinkle one heaping teaspoon of crumble on each muffin and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

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One of Hubby’s favorite sayings is “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”  I am so glad that last years mishap with cranberries is definitely not going to happen again this year and we are well stocked for whatever recipes I want to concoct, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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