Fresh cranberries - how long do they keep?

sally2_gwNovember 15, 2007

I purchased some fresh cranberries one Friday, but didn't get around to using them until the following weekend, in some bread I baked, and they tasted real sour. DH keeps saying they're supposed to be sour, but this recipe was from the "Baking With Julia" cookbook I borrowed from the library, so it's gotta be good. It was good, very good, except for the cranberries. I'm wondering if it would have been better to have used dried cranberries, or if it was just a bad batch of cranberries. I kind of thought cranberries are probably all picked at the same time, so it didn't make any difference when you buy the bag, but I could be wrong on that.


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Cranberries keep nigh on to forever....months and months!
Yes, they are very sour and yes, when you put some in cranberry bread it's a sour bite....but that's what it's supposed to be.
Perhaps you just don't like cranberries.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 9:47AM
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Yep, those babies are sour. My grandmother used to make her own cranberry sauce and she'd watch to make sure the berries popped so the sugar would get inside the berry. Any unpopped berries were a sour bite for sure.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 9:50AM
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In agreement with the others, they keep for a looooong time and are supposed to be sour.

Just an aside, I buy bags of them at this time of year when they are plentiful and pop them in the freezer for use when they are difficult to find. They freeze very well!


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 9:57AM
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Me too! They will keep forever...I buy them this time of year on sale and pop them in the freezer too. That way I have them when ever I feel like cooking with cranberries.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:10AM
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doucanoe, et al...
do you freeze them as is? Do you ever get freezer burn? How long will they hold up in freezer?
I had thought of repacking with my vacuum sealer, but was just too lazy. If I can just pop 'em in the freezer, I'll go out today and buy several bags. Easy is good if it doesn't compromise quality.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:21AM
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I often put the bags into another freezer proof bag. The bags they come in are perforated and eventually ( a couple of years!) they will just dry up.
But if I see a sale ( I did!) and know I will be using them in a month or 2 ( I will!) I just toss the bag into the freezer. But if I am thinking of raspberry cranberry habanero jelly...I put them into a freezr bag to await the raspberries.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:58AM
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How long do they keep in the freezer? I found some this morning in the freeser. They must be from last year. Do you think I could use them in a Jezabel?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 11:00AM
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oopps, I wrote this post and then didn'r send it for an hour....I just now hit 'send' and my question had been answered. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 11:02AM
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Yes cranberries are very sour, if you don't like the taste you could substitute cran-raisins for fresh they are not as tart. I've done this for cranberry orange muffins and it worked out fine.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 11:50AM
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There's nothing sweet about a cranberry. :) DH once brought home some "unsweetened cranberry concentrate" and I was foolhardy enough to taste it. Unripe persimmons have NOTHING on that for sour. LOL!

I'm waiting for them to go on sale. Then I'll buy several bags and freeze them (I put them in freezer bags) and make muffins from the rest of the year. Most frozen fruits aren't supposed to be hept more then 4-6 months, but I've kept cranvberries for up to 9-10 months and they were fine.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 5:28PM
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I've had some cranberries in the freezer for over a year and they're still good... They came in a thin hard plastic container and were frozen so I kept them in there... Like I said, they're still good, I had some last week...


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 5:47PM
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I'm glad I asked. I guess that was my first experience with unprocessed fresh cranberries. I love dried cranberries, which have been sweetened. I used to complain about the added sugar, since I do occasionally watch my calories. DH said they add it because they're so sour. Now I believe him. I'll definately use dried cranberries the next time I make the bread.

Thanks everybody for your replies.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 7:50PM
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Did the recipe say to cut the cranberries in half before putting them in the bread? That is what I do for cranberry bread and it doesn't come out too sour - probably the cranberry has a chance to give some of its flavor to the bread and some of the sugar has a chance to get into the berry.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:48PM
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No, in fact it said to add the cranberries last, to mix them in carefully. It said that some of them will inevitably pop, leaking red into the dough, to consider it charming and move on. However, I think your idea is a good one. When I have more time I'll post the recipe. I only have about 5 minutes at the computer right now.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 8:33AM
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I'd use dried cranberries on cranberry bread - they are sweetened, however. As others have said, fresh crans are very tart and sour!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 9:11AM
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Cranberry bread is supposed to have a bit of sour cranberry in there....if you want to use dried you might as well use raisins the flavor is so similar. My cranberry bread calls for cutting each berry in half...yes very labor intensive....but the bread is so good it's worth the trouble.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 9:47AM
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The halved cranberries in my recipe are added last and just folded in. I haven't had any trouble with the red leaking into the dough - it isn't like cranberries are juicy. The inside of fresh cranberries is mostly white and they redden-up from the red in the skin when they cook - perhaps tinting the flour right next to the cranberry also but the bread stays mostly white/tan. Halving cranberries is a bit of work but it doesn't take that long.

Like lindac said, the bread is very worth the trouble.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 2:47PM
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Here's the recipe in case anyone's interested. DH and DS liked it. I did too, except for the sour cranberries. Next time I'll try halving the cranberries.

Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves
Recipe by Steve Sullivan from "Baking With Julia"

Makes 3 small loaves - You'll need three 5 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 2 inch loaf pans

Authors notes:

"These loaves are small, beautifully crowned, and the color of fallÂs golden leaves. Never mind that the combination of pumpkin, cranberry, walnut, and raisin may set you thinking of a baking powder-raised quick bread with a biscuit or butter cake texture, this bread is a yeast bread, albeit one thatÂs slightly sweet, just a little spicy, and even a bit savory. Although the bread is of the direct-rise family, meaning thereÂs no starter or sponge, it is given an overnight rest in the refrigerator, a dormant period that builds both character and texture in the finished loaf."

2 2/3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tepid water (80 - 90 degrees F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
8 ounces (1 cup) pureed cooked pumpkin or butternut squash, fresh or canned solid packed (see note)
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted
1 cup plump golden or dark raisins
2/3 cup cranberries (if frozen, thaw and pat dry)

Mixing and kneading: Whisk 2 2/3 cups of the flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl just to mix; set aside until needed.

Pour the water into a small bowl, sprinkle in the yeast, and whisk to blend. Allow the yeast to rest until itÂs creamy, about 5 minutes.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add the pumpkin and egg and beat until blended. Don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled; it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.

Set the mixer to low and add the yeast, then begin to add the dry ingredients, about 1/2 cup at a time. As soon as the mixture starts to form a dough that comes together, scrape the paddle clean and switch to the dough hook. If your dough does not come together (it might be because your pumpkin puree was liquidy), add a few more tablespoons of flour.

Mix and knead the dough on medium-low speed for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl and the hook now and then with a rubber spatula. At the start, the mixture will look more like a batter than a dough, but as you continue to work, it will develop into a soft, very sticky dough that will just ball up on the hook. (This dough develops much the way a brioche does.)

With the machine on low speed, add the walnuts and raisins, mixing only until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the cranberries and mix as little as possible to avoid crushing them. (Inevitably, some cranberries will poop and stain a patch of dough red; think of this as charming, and proceed.)

First Rise: Scrape the dough into a lightly buttered large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature to rise until nearly doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Chilling the dough: When the dough has doubled, fold it over on itself a couple of times to deflate it, wrap it tightly in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.

Shaping the dough: At least 6 hours before you want to begin baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Leave the dough, covered in its bowl, until it reaches at least 64 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. (This will take as long as 3 to 4 hours -- donÂt rush it.) If you donÂt have an instant-read thermometer, look for the dough to be slightly cool and just a little spongy.
Lightly butter three 5 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 2 inch loaf pans.
Working on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into thirds and pat each piece of dough into a 5 x 7 inch rectangle; keep a short end facing you. Starting at the top of each rectangle, roll up the dough toward you and seal the seam by pressing it with your fingertips. Seal the ends, then place each roll, seam side down, in a prepared pan.

Second rise: Cover the pans lightly with a kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough has nearly doubled -- it will rise to just above the rim of the pans.

Baking the bread: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes, or until deeply golden. Remove the pans to a cooling rack; after a 5-minute rest, turn the breads out of their pans and allow them to cool to room temperature on the rack.
Storing: The breads can be kept at room temperature for a day or two or frozen, wrapped airtight, for up to 1 month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.

Note: To use fresh pumpkin or butternut squash, split the squash, remove the seeds, and place cut side down, on a baking sheet. Roast in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 1 hour, or until meltingly tender. Scoop the softened pulp out of the shell and cool completely. One pound of squash yields about 12 ounces of cooked pulp.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 7:36PM
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This discussion is reminding me about a bread I made often when we had the deli. It was basically a nut quick bread that I added fresh cranberry/orange relish to. Customers loved it so much that I would buy lots of cranberries when they were in season and freeze them. Just threw the bags in the freezer. When I needed to make the bread, I'd take the cranberries out and thaw about a half hr. then toss them in the FP along with the orange and pulse until they were chopped fine. Add about a cup of sugar. The I used about 1/2 cup of the mixture for each loaf of quick bread. I don't really remember if I had an original recipe...sure was good. I think I'll make some after Turkey day, when I'll have leftover relish...

I have also frozen the finished cranberry/orange relish, no problem.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 10:56PM
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