There is a reason why cranberries are considered to be a Thanksgiving tradition.
The bitter fruit is transformed into something tart and delicious with a savory touch in cooking.
They are enjoyed in stuffing, sauces, desserts, and more.
As people celebrate Thanksgiving this year, there will be many dishes that incorporate cranberries into them.
However, this favorite fall fruit should not be the only way to be eaten.
It is advised to eat cranberries all year round for several reasons.
In this article, we will take a look at five different substitutes for cranberries that are not only delicious but nutritious too.
What are Cranberries?
Cranberries are a type of berry, typically red or pink.
They are small, round fruit and are grown in moist climates.
Cranberries are often eaten around the holidays but can be enjoyed all year long.
They are known for their tart flavor but can also taste sweet depending on the added ingredients they are prepared with.
Cranberries can be eaten raw or cooked into different foods.
They are very versatile and can be baked into bread, muffins, cakes, and other desserts.
These tart red berries are also often used in sauces or dressings for beef or pork.
If the cranberries are very ripe, they can be blended with fruit juices like orange or pineapple to make delectable drinks.
They can also be used topping yogurt and oatmeal for a more tart taste.
Cranberry juice is another popular beverage that is made from this berry.
If the juice is sweetened with sugar, it can be enjoyed like a traditional soda or fruit drink.
Cranberry juice is often used as an ingredient in cocktails because of its tart flavor.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Cranberries
When cranberries are not in season, it is important to find a good substitute that can be used as an ingredient or drink.
Fortunately, there are several options available, and each of them has its unique flavor profile that complements the dish.
1 – Raspberries
Raspberries are a red berry that is typically eaten fresh.
They can be found in most grocery stores and local farmer’s markets during the summer months, but some countries also grow them in greenhouses where they can produce raspberries all year long.
These berries contain antioxidants that can help protect your body from free radicals.
So, adding them to your diet is a good way to stay healthy.
Raspberries are also incredibly sweet because they have high amounts of sugar – usually between 10 and 12%.
This means that eating them can boost the flavor of meals, but be careful not to go overboard when adding them in.
Raspberries are perfect for pies or any baking recipe that calls for cranberries because of their tart flavor.
2 – Pomegranate
Pomegranates are red fruits that are typically eaten fresh.
They can be difficult to cut because of their shell-like skin wrapped around the seeds.
This fruit has a sweet and tart flavor profile, but it’s important to note that pomegranate juice can taste very bitter if you don’t use enough sugar when making your drink.
The seeds themselves are very tart, but they can also taste sweet.
This is because pomegranate juice can be produced – one with the flesh (arils) and one without (seeds only).
Pomegranate arils contain both sugar and natural calories, but these should be monitored carefully if you plan on incorporating them into your diet.
3 – Currant
Currants are dark red fruits that come from shrubs.
They can be found in almost all regions of the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere as well.
They have a sweet taste that is lighter than other berries – while raspberries have a sugar content of around 10 to 12%, currants contain just 3 to 4% of sugar.
However, they have a much tarter flavor because they are typically used to make jam or jellies.
Although these fruits may be hard to find, they can complement savory dishes that call for cranberries.
For example, currants might go well with chicken for a unique twist of flavors during Thanksgiving dinner.
The leaves of the currant plant are rich in tannins which have been used for centuries to make dyes.
4 – Puckerberry
Puckerberries have a flavor that is very similar to sour candy.
This pale red berry usually contains around 10% sugar, but it has several times more citric acid than lemons or limes.
It should be noted that puckerberries are ripened gooseberries.
They are tart and bitter, making them perfect for pies, tarts, jams, and jellies.
They are also commonly used to make wine because they can increase the acid level.
Puckerberry juice made from this fruit is incredibly tart, making it perfect for cocktails or as an ingredient in baking recipes requiring cranberries.
5 – Strawberries
Strawberries are a delicious fruit that can be eaten fresh or as a dessert.
However, they make an excellent substitute for cranberries because they have high amounts of pectin, also found in cranberries.
Pectin is a carbohydrate that helps thicken jams and jellies – this means that strawberry jam will taste incredibly close to the flavor of cranberry jam.
Even better, strawberries are much sweeter, which means that you can use less sugar when making your desserts.
Although strawberries may be sweet due to their high sugar content, they also have water.
This means that if you’re making strawberry jelly or jams, make sure to use plenty of sugar to balance out the tart flavor.
Cranberries are very tart, which makes them perfect for baking.
However, they can be difficult to come by – you may have to go to specialty stores or markets to find the best selection.
Luckily, several other fruits make excellent substitutes for cranberry flavor.
Depending on your recipe, you can use one of these substitutes or a combination of two or more fruits.
For example, you can use black currants and raspberries in the same tart for a unique and flavorful twist on cranberry flavor.