Cranberries, along with blueberries and Concord grapes, are one of three North America’s native fruits that are commercially grown here in the US. Cranberries are a unique fruit and can only grow and survive under a special combination of factors including a climate that provides a chilling period necessary to mature fruiting buds, a bog-like combination of acidic peat and sand, and an ample fresh water supply. Cranberries grow on vines like strawberries and the vines can survive indefinitely — some vines in the northern US are more than 150 years old! On my bucket list is to visit a cranberry farm during the harvest season. Are you listening cranberry people?!?
Fresh cranberries are available in stores mid-September through December. Cranberries freeze really well and I always buy a few extra bags this time of year so when I have a hankering for some tart goodness, I have some on hand.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite cranberry recipes — let’s call it Cranberrypalooza!
First up is Fresh Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette.
I had some fresh cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving and thought a vinaigrette would be a nice dressing for a winter salad. Have you tried white balsamic vinegar? Its sweet and and delicate flavor works perfectly in this recipe and doesn’t cloud the beautiful color of the cranberry sauce. Colavita makes my favorite brand and I tend to use it more than regular balsamic vinegar.
To make, simply combine the leftover fresh cranberry sauce with extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, the juice of one orange, and sea salt & freshly ground black peppercorns to taste. I used an immersion blender to whiz this all together but a blender or food processor would work just fine as well. Or, if a chunkier vinaigrette is desired, simply whisk everything together.
Voilà! Fresh Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette!
- ½ cup prepared fresh cranberry sauce
- ¼ cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Colavita White Balsamic Vinegar
- Juice of 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and freshly ground peppercorns to taste
- Combine all ingredient and purée with an immersion blender or food processor to emulsify.