Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fresh Cranberries

These tart, tangy little fruits are terrific in baked goods as well as in sweet and savory sauces.
Buying CranberriesFresh cranberries are available from October through December. You’ll most likely find them in twelve-ounce plastic bags in the produce section of grocery stores. Ripe berries are deep red and very firm.
Preparing Cranberries
Before using them, rinse in a bowl of cold water; discard any unripe ones that float to the top.
Storing CranberriesFresh cranberries can be stored in their original packaging. They’ll keep for up to a year in the freezer. Frozen cranberries can be cooked without defrosting; pat them dry before using.
Nutritional Information

Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which may help boost the immune system.

Cranberry-Pear Crisp Serves 6; Prep time: 20 minutes; Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

4 to 6 firm pears, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (6 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
Pinch salt
Vanilla ice cream (if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Peel and cut 4 to 6 firm pears into 3/4-inch pieces to yield 6 cups. In a large bowl, toss pears with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Add 1 1/2 cups cranberries and 1/3 cup sugar; toss well.

2. Transfer to six 8-ounce ramekins (or a 3-quart baking dish). Sprinkle with topping; bake until fruit is tender and topping is golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before
serving with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

3. To make Oatmeal Crisp Topping: In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter until pea-size clumps form. Add 1/4 cup each granulated and light-brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup rolled oats, and a pinch of salt; pulse until large, moist clumps form, about 10 times.

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