Intro to Cooking: Cranberry Applesauce

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This Week’s Ingredient: Cranberries!

They’re sweet. They’re tart. They’re harvested from bogs. And they’re a deep, beautiful, fire-engine hue. If your only exposure to cranberries is in combination with their fermented partner, vodka, then you’re totally missing out (not to mention that the “cranberry juice” served in bars is basically just sugar water). Long celebrated for their ability to prevent urinary tract infections, cranberries are also thought to enhance digestive health and prevent kidney stones. It’s not customary to eat raw cranberries as they are far too tart to snack on alone. Hence the popularity of dried cranberries and juice–but beware that both contain added sugar to temper their tang.

Easy Meals

1. Add dried cranberries to a romaine salad with crumbled feta for a simple and healthy plate of different textures and flavors.
2. Any combo of cranberries and oatmeal (for breakfast, in cookies) adds a twist to the classic oatmeal & raisin duo.
3. Place cranberry juice in an ice cube tray with popsicle sticks inserted in each divet for homemade pops.

The Recipe: Cranberry Apple Sauce

I made this recipe (from Simply Recipes) for family at Thanksgiving as an alternative to the more traditional cranberry sauce and it was well received, but it’s even better as a summer snack. Make a batch to have on hand as a sweet, cold alternative to ice cream or as a tasty side for a sandwich!

Ingredients:

* 3 to 4 pounds of peeled, cored, roughly chopped Granny Smith apples (or other good cooking apple such as Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein)
* 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
* 2 Tbsp lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 cup of brown sugar
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

1. Place all of the ingredients in a large (5-quart) pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 20-30 minutes, or until the apples can easily be mashed.
2. Remove from heat. Mash the apples and cranberries with a potato masher to the consistency you want.

Store in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, or freeze for up to a year.
Makes 1 1/2 to 2 quarts.

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