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Sugared Cranberries–the perfect garnish for cocktails, desserts and even savory Holiday dishes

Sugared CranberriesThis time of year, I get cranberries on the brain. I LOVE cranberries. (And did you know, they’re aphrodisiac!) Each year, a friend from the Plymouth area–that’s right, like the Pilgrims–sends me berries from their family’s bogs and I try to play with every conceivable thing I can think of to do with these oddly tart, slightly bitter fruits. This year, I tried coating them in syrup and rolling them in sugar to make Sugared Cranberries.

Because I spend time on Cape Cod every summer, I get to see cranberries grow and flourish. Because they’re grown in “bogs,” you might think they come from soggy plants in swampy conditions. But in actuality, cranberries grow on dry ground, on little, trailing plants–sort of like strawberries. Because cranberries have pockets of air under their skin, they will float if their growing area, or bog, is flooded. However, there are a number of varieties of cranberries that are dry harvested, without flooding. As anyone who has studied wine has probably already concluded, the cranberries that are dry harvested have more intensity of flavor. My recipe for Sugared Cranberries would would best with dry harvested fruit, if you can get your hands on some!

Amy Reiley's Sugared CranberriesOnce rolled in sugar and dried, the cranberries develop a slightly crunchy, candy shell–it’s so good! But they retain their bright, lipstick red color and soft, fleshy texture underneath their sweet coating. The result is a garnish perfect for cocktails, Holiday desserts and even savory dishes like roast turkey, chicken or duck, spiced lamb or roast pork loin. Personally, I just like snacking on them! And since cranberries are loaded with antioxidants, I almost feel like I’m having something healthy.


Sugared Cranberries
Sugared Cranberries
Cuisine: American
Dish Type: garnish
Diet and Health: healthy-ish
Seasonal: Christmas, New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving
Ingredient: cranberries
Created by: Amy Reiley
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar divided
  • 1/2 c water
  • 3/4 c cranberries
  1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes to make a simple syrup.
  3. Remove the syrup from the heat and add the cranberries, stirring to coat all fruit.
  4. Rest the berries in syrup for 5 minutes then transfer to a storage container. Store for a minimum of 4 hours to overnight.
  5. Strain the cranberries from the syrup and transfer the to a wire rack to dry for at least 1 hour. (You can save any leftover cranberry syrup to flavor Holiday cocktails
  6. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a bowl and roll the cranberries in the sugar. Transfer the sugared berries to parchment paper to dry. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to one week.

This recipe doubles easily.

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