How to prepare fresh cranberries for baking

For many, the purchase of fresh cranberries is for one thing only: making a tangy and rich, vibrantly red sauce to serve alongside Christmas dinner. But there's far more to them than that. Fresh cranberries make a great addition to your baking, whether it's throwing them into bread or pancakes, flinging them into muffins or scones, or tossing a handful into any dry ingredients for baking to add a tart and tangy flavour.

If you want to use cranberries in your baking, though, you'll need to make sure they're properly prepared first.

In the UK, fresh cranberries are mostly sold frozen, so before using, ensure that they are not only fully defrosted, but also well washed, drained and dried. Excess water could impact on the texture and consistency of the finished product, so this is an important step.

Before adding them to your recipe, you'll also want to check the quality of the fruit. Sort through your berries and discard any that are spoiled, as well as removing any stalks that are still attached.

In some recipes, cranberries need to be cooked before adding to the rest of the ingredients to avoid them tasting tart and raw. However, you'll be relieved to know that this isn't the case when using them in baked goods! Simply stir them through your mixture - at the end, when the wet and dry ingredients have been combined together - and you're good to go.

When baking biscuits, it's enough simply to stir the cranberries through. However, if you're planning on using these beautiful red fruits in larger baked goods - like cakes, breads or muffins - you may wish to coat them in a little flour before adding them to your mixture and stirring through. Doing this will reduce the chance that the fruit will all sink to the bottom of the tin while cooking, and will instead be evenly spaced throughout the finished product.

With their soft and jammy texture when cooked, and their brilliant red colour, fresh cranberries are a fantastic addition to a whole host of different baked goods or semi dried which I use in many of our baking and treat Boxes Why not give them a try?
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