Cranberries are these tiny, bright red, juicy berries that are bursting with goodness.
They’re perfect in muffins, quick bread, scones, stirred into yogurt, or thrown on top of your morning oatmeal.
However, store-bought frozen cranberries can be quite expensive, while fresh ones only go on sale for a brief span of time. That’s why I make it a point to stock up on whenever I see them go on sale.
But as much as I love these tasty berries, I can’t consume them all in one go. And since I don’t want even just one berry to go to waste, I make sure to preserve them the best way possible.
Fortunately, these cranberries keep well in the freezer. Stored properly, they can last for up to one year in the freezer!
So even when it’s not Thanksgiving, I can still make my favorite cranberry sauce, muffins, and pies.
If you want to do the same stick around and I’ll teach you how.
How to Freeze Cranberries
There are two ways to freeze your cranberries. The first option is a lot simpler, but the second one will ensure the berries don’t clump together in the freezer.
Either way, the cranberries will freeze for up to a year. Awesome (cranberry) sauce!
Method 1: Freezing cranberries in-package
If you purchased bagged cranberries, just place them in the freezer as is. Or, if they did not come in a bag, transfer them into a freezer-safe bag, squeeze out excess air, seal, and freeze.
Method 2: Flash-freezing
- Wash the cranberries in a strainer. Let them dry in the open air and throw out any bad cranberries.
- Place the berries on a dry, clean kitchen towel to dry them further.
- Transfer the cranberries onto a lined, rimmed baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 3 hours.
- Break apart any berries that have clumped together.
- Transfer the cranberries into air-tight or freezer-safe containers.
- Label the containers and freeze.
How to Thaw Cranberries
You don’t need to defrost cranberries, especially when you use them for cooking. But if you feel you need to thaw them, here’s how to do it:
- Place the berries in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Transfer berries to a strainer.
- Rinse the berries in cold water.
- Drain excess water.
- Place berries on a clean towel and let dry.
How to Use Frozen Cranberries
If you’re pulling these out of the freezer close to the holidays, you can turn them into cranberry sauce.
They’re also excellent in baked goods. In fact, frozen berries are often better than fresh when baking because they heat through while cooking. And since they’re frozen, their color doesn’t bleed through the rest of your dish.
So if you’re cooking muffins, quick breads, cookies, cakes, or pies – frozen cranberries are your best bet.
You can also use your frozen berries for smoothies, scones, salad dressings, or sprinkled on top of your oatmeal. The options are endless!
And now that you know how to properly store them in the freezer, you can keep these bad boys fresh for up to a year.
Tips & Tricks
- Should you rinse berries or not? Some recommend against it because they’ll become mushy once defrosted. Others, like me, rinse them before freezing, especially since I don’t thaw them anyway. I just toss them right from the freezer and into whatever dish I’m making and they work fine.
- Bagged cranberries are already cleaned, so no need to rinse them any more.
- If you use frozen cranberries to make pastries such as bread and muffins, coat them in a tablespoon of flour before adding them to the batter. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom as you bake.
- If you don’t intend to keep cranberries for months, just store them in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Cranberries will last for up to 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Label the container with the present date so you know how much time your cranberries have left in the freezer.
- No space in the fridge or freezer? Well, juicing is always an option! That way you get a healthy and yummy drink, and you don’t waste any ounce of cranberry.