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Are you cuckoo for cranberries?

It’s cranberry time! The freshest cranberries are available at the market this month and this makes me a very happy gal.

Not only are these North American natives super delicious and super versatile but they are a superfood. Packed with vitamin C and fiber, when it comes to disease-fighting antioxidants they provide more than any other fruit or vegetable with the exception of blueberries. What’s not to love?

I’ve found it’s nearly impossible to find fresh cranberries after Christmas so I pick up an extra bag or five. Before you store fresh cranberries; sort through the bag looking for soft or discolored ones and bits of stem and discard them.

Cranberries can be refrigerated for up to a month but frozen they last up to six months. You can freeze them right in the bags they come in. Cooked cranberries can be covered and refrigerated for up to a month.

Now, I have nothing against canned cranberry sauce and always have some in my pantry. But if you’ve never tried fresh cranberry sauce you must taste what you’re missing. It’s so easy and fast to make. And it’s not just for Thanksgiving anymore! Besides turkey, it goes beautifully with pork and chicken.

My personal fave is to pour warmed cranberry sauce over waffles and serve with ice cream. Here’s my recipe.

SIMPLE CRANBERRY SAUCE

Time: 20 minutes Yield: 3 cups

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup orange juice OR juice and zest of one orange

3/4 cup sugar

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally as the cranberries break down and the sauce thickens to a jam-like consistency. Allow to cool. Serve hot, cold or room temperature.

Have some cranberry sauce left over? No problem! Make Cranberry Mayo for sandwiches. Mix equal parts mayonnaise and cranberry sauce. Make Cranberry Mustard Glaze by mixing mustard, brown sugar and cranberry sauce to make a glaze for turkey, chicken, beef or pork. Or you can make Cranberry Butter.

CRANBERRY BUTTER

Time: 10 minutes Yield: 1 cup

1/2 cup butter — softened at room temperature

1/2 cup cranberry sauce — fresh or canned

1/4 cup honey

Pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or by hand until totally blended. This is delicious slathered on muffins, pancakes or waffles and will make your morning toast a special occasion.

Here are some berry good ideas that go beyond cranberry sauce. Add a cup of cranberries to apple pie filling for a pretty cran-apple pie.

Pretty much anything you’d make with raisins can be made with dried cranberries, like oatmeal cookies, scones, muffins or fruited bread. I hope this will inspire you to enjoy the seasonal flavor and the wallop of antioxidants all year long.

Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Frugal Festivities contributed by Patti Diamond, author of Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!, www.divasonadime.com.

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