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3 Festive Ways to Use Fresh Cranberry Preserves

By Carolyn Hodges, MS, RDN, LD

While cranberry sauce may dress up your turkey and stuffing this year, why not save some of those Perfectly Imperfect cranberries to make preserves? Cranberry preserves are the less saucy sister to cranberry sauce. Made with less liquid, preserves are thicker and can be used in the same ways you’d use other fruit jam or preserves. This recipe calls for 1 ¼ cups fresh Perfectly Imperfect cranberries and makes a small batch (about 1 cup) which will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge to use whenever the seasonal flavor craving strikes.

We’re sharing three festive ways to use cranberry preserves this holiday season. Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cups are a fun spin on the classic peanut butter variety and so fun to share as gifts. Cranberry Goat Cheese Flatbread is a perfect holiday appetizer for a small gathering and ready in just 15 minutes. And Cranberry Spice Granola combines all our favorite fall flavors into a lightly sweet and crunchy breakfast or snack.

There are so many other great reasons to whip up a batch. In addition to standing in for jelly on toast or a pb&j, here are a few more ways to use cranberry preserves:

Serve atop pancakes and waffles or tucked into crepes

Stir into oatmeal, overnight oats and yogurt

Swirl into brownies, blondies or muffins before baking

Muddle into cocktails like whisky sours, vodka sodas and sangria

Layer into a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich

Mix with a little honey to make a glaze for poultry, pork or salmon

Blend with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make a vinaigrette

Fresh Cranberry Preserves

Stash a batch of cranberry preserves in the fridge to enjoy in sweet and savory dishes, like the three we’re sharing below. These preserves are more tart than sweet. Feel free to adjust the sugar to your taste.

Active time: 5 Min.

Total time: 25 Min.

Makes 1 cup


1 ¼ cups Perfectly Imperfect fresh cranberries, rinsed

¼ cup fresh orange juice, from 1-2 Perfectly Imperfect oranges

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons sugar

Pinch sea salt


Combine the cranberries, orange juice, water, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes, using the back of a spoon to mash some of the cranberries against the side of the pan.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before storing in a jar in the fridge. Preserves will thicken as they cool. Will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cups

Chocolate and cranberries pair so well together. This is a simple dessert that’s easy make and fun to share.

Active time: 15 Min.

Total time: 50 Min.

Servings: 12 chocolate cups


4-5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips (about ⅔ cup)

¼ cup cranberry preserves

Optional: Nut or seed butter, any variety


Line a mini muffin tin with 12 paper candy liners.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (if microwaving, heat for 30 seconds at a time, stir, and repeat as necessary until the chocolate is just melted).

Drop a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of each candy liner. Use a ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon to press the chocolate about halfway up the sides of the liner to create a shell. Freeze for 10 minutes.

Once the chocolate is set, drop 1 teaspoon cranberry preserves into each cup, using a spoon to spread it to cover the bottom of each shell. Alternate option: Spoon ½ teaspoon nut butter into the bottom first, then top with ½ teaspoon cranberry preserves. Freeze for 10 minutes.

Top with another 1 - 1 ½ teaspoons melted chocolate to cover the preserves, using a spoon if necessary or gently tap the pan on the counter to flatten the top.

Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set the chocolate, then enjoy!

Cranberry Goat Cheese Flatbread

This flatbread appetizer looks impressive and festive but couldn’t be simpler to make, requiring just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes.

Active time: 5 Min.

Total time: 15 Min.

Servings: 4-6


1 8 ounce rectangular flatbread, or 2 naan flatbreads

½ cup cranberry preserves

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1-2 tablespoons honey

Freshly cracked black pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place flatbread on a parchment lined baking sheet and spoon on the preserves, leaving ½-inch border. Top with the goat cheese and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the flatbread turn golden brown and crispy.

Drizzle with the honey and top with cracked black pepper to taste. Cut into triangles or squares to serve.

Cranberry Spice Granola

Made with cranberry preserves, pepitas and pumpkin pie spice, this crunchy, lightly sweet granola is perfect for the season and will make your home smell amazing.

Active time: 5 Min.

Total time: 35 Min., plus cooling time

Makes about 3½ cups


2 ½ cups old fashioned oats

½ cup unsalted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

⅓ cup cranberry preserves

⅓ cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or avocado oil)

½ tsp vanilla

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ tsp sea salt

¼ cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the oats and pepitas in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the cranberry preserves, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, pie spice and sea salt. Stir wet ingredients into the oat mixture until completely coated.

Spread oats in an even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven and stir in the dried cranberries. Allow to cool completely for at least 20 minutes before storing in an airtight container. Granola will crisp up as it cools.

We hope you'll show us how you're using your PIP fruits and veggies to create your perfect Thanksgiving feast! Tag us on Instagram and Facebook @perfectlyimperfectproduce. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! We are so very thankful for each and every one of you.


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