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If you are looking for a fun “Foodie” trip from Cedar Rapids; consider driving 4 hours north to Warren WI to see the harvesting of cranberries. They even have a nice museum dedicated to their main crop- cranberries. Your Thanksgiving cranberries may have only traveled from Wisconsin!

Beth & Mary Beth


Cranberries grow in northern bogs on low-lying vines, just above water. These bright red gems are native to North America and at one time whalers and mariners carried cranberries on their ships to prevent scurvy. With their healthful nutrients and phytochemicals, along with the rich color and flavor, cranberries make a great addition to any meal, not just at Thanksgiving.

What’s in Cranberries?

Cranberries are good sources of vitamin C and dietary fiber.

Cranberries contain the following “healthy” naturally occurring substances:

  • Flavonoids, including anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins and flavonols
  • Ursolic acid
  • Benzoic acid and hydroxycinnamic acid
  • These compounds are anti-inflammatory and have immune system benefits. They are also felt to be antioxidants (anti-aging)  and anti-microbial.

In the Kitchen


  • Choose fresh cranberries that are firm and  not shriveled.
  • Dried cranberries offer almost no vitamin C, but they are concentrated in antioxidant phytochemicals, including ursolic acid and proanthocyanidins.


  • Unlike most other berries, cranberries may be refrigerated for up to two months.
  • For longer storage, freeze cranberries in the bag purchased or freezer storage bag.
  • Store dried cranberries in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three months; check expiration date on packaged berries.


  • Add dried cranberries to cereal, oatmeal or plain yogurt.
  • Balance fresh cranberries’ tartness by mixing with other fruits, such as oranges, apples and pears for a relish or salsa.
  • Experiment with cranberries added to whole grains such as brown rice, bulgur, barley, and quinoa or whole-wheat stuffing.
  • Try fresh or dried cranberries as a colorful addition to a green or carrot salad.
  • Enjoy the flavor contrasts by combining dried cranberries with vegetables like Brussels sprouts or with apples and red cabbage over pork.
  • Add fresh, unthawed frozen or dried cranberries to waffles, pancakes, muffins and quick breads.
  • Mix dried cranberries with nuts and other dried fruit to make trail mix.
  • Add cranberries to baked apples or apple crisp.

Cranberry Crisp

This easy Cranberry Crisp recipe can be made in a large baking dish or in individual ramekins.  Feel free to use your favorite kind of sweetener in place of brown sugar, if you’d like!

Cranberry Filling Ingredients:

  • 24 ounces (about 6 cups) fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crispy Oatmeal Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • pinch of salt and ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease one 9 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. To Make the Cranberry Filling: Stir cranberries, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla extract in a large bowl until evenly combined.  Set aside.
  3. To Make the Crispy Oatmeal Topping: Stir oats, nuts, brown sugar, melted butter, flour, salt and cinnamon together in a separate large bowl until evenly combined.  Set aside.
  4. Portion the cranberry filling evenly into the baking pan in an even layer.  Sprinkle evenly with the crispy oatmeal topping.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cranberries are bubbling and the topping is lightly golden.  Remove from the oven and rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.  Serve warm.


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