How to Cook Fresh Cranberries

You can find fresh cranberries in the market between October and December. When shopping for fresh cranberries, choose firm, bright colored ones without brown or shriveled berries in the bag [source: Martha Stewart].

Although generally thought of as a dipping sauce for turkey on Thanksgiving, cranberries can also be made into chutneys, dressings, relishes, compotes, marmalades and molasses. They're also great in salads, rice dishes, drinks, breads and desserts.

Here's how to make a classic cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) of fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained

Here's what to do:

  1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Add the cranberries and return to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat. Boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cover and cool to room temperature.
  5. Refrigerate until you're ready to serve [source: Ocean Spray Cranberries].

Here's how Chef Emeril Lagasse makes his cranberry-apple crisp. This easy autumn dessert serves eight.

You will need:

  • 12 ounces (340 grams) fresh cranberries
  • 2 ½ to 3 pounds (1.1 to 1.4 kilograms) sweet apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

For the topping:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt [source: Lagasse]

Here's what to do:

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
  2. Grease a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-centimeter) baking dish with butter.
  3. Combine the cranberry-apple crisp ingredients and pour into the baking dish.
  4. Mix together the topping ingredients until they forms coarse crumbs.
  5. Sprinkle the topping onto fruit mixture.
  6. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the topping is brown and thick juices are bubbling around the edges [source: Lagasse].

This dish is great served warm, à la mode.