The incredible cranberry is a favorite, year-round food ingredient

Bright red and tangy, cranberries--Wisconsin's signature fruit crop--are a versatile food ingredient, from side dishes to dessert.

The cranberry has moved beyond the Thanksgiving table to become a favorite food year-round. Sweetened-dried cranberries are finding their way into everything from summer salads to trail mix and cookies, and cranberry juices and sauces come in more varieties now than ever before!

During this holiday season, be sure to include recipes that showcase the state's signature fruit. 

Cranberry Party Punch

3 qts Cranberry juice

1 (12 oz) can Frozen orange juice

1 (6 oz) can Frozen lemon juice

2-1/2 cups pineapple juice

1-1/2 qts water

Mix all together and pour into punch bowl. Makes 5-1/2 quarts.

Apple Cranberry Salad

Apple Cranberry Salad

3 Apples, red and green Cored and chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 cup Celery Sliced on bias

3/4 cup Sweetened-dried cranberries

1/2 cup Hazelnuts Toasted and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup Yogurt Plain, low-fat

3 Tbsp Orange juice concentrate Thawed

1/4 tsp Salt

Mix apples, celery, cranberries and hazelnuts in large bowl; set aside. Blend yogurt, orange juice concentrate and salt until well-mixed. Pour over apple mixture and stir until blended. Makes 6-8 servings.

Cranberry Applesauce

4 large Cooking apples Peeled, cored and cut into chunks

1 cup Fresh or frozen cranberries

3/4 cup Sugar

1 cup Water

1/4 teaspoon Ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon Ground cinnamon

Put all ingredients into a 4 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over low heat, covered, until the cranberries pop and the apples are soft (15-20 minutes). Place in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve warm or chilled.

Cranberry Delight Spread

Cranberry Delight Spread

1 pkg (8 oz) Cream cheese Softened

2 Tablespoons Frozen orange juice concentrate Thawed

1 tablespoon Sugar

2 teaspoons Grated orange peel

1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 cup Finely chopped dried cranberries

1/4 cup Finely chopped pecans

In a small mixing bowl beat cream cheese, orange juice concentrate, sugar, orange peel and cinnamon on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers.

Cranberry Marinated BBQ Ribs

Cranberry Marinated BBQ Spare Ribs with Cranberry Dip

For the Ribs:

4 1/2 lbs. spare ribs

4 oz. BBQ sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

4 Tbsp. cranberry juice

For the Dip:

1 green onion

1/2 mango

4.5 oz. tomato ketchup

2-3 tsp. chili paste

1.5 oz. dried cranberries

salt to taste

Rinse ribs and pat dry. Mix BBQ sauce with honey and cranberry juice. Rub the sauce onto the spareribs, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 3/4 hours.

For the dip, rinse and clean spring onion and cut very finely. Peel mango and cut the flesh from the core. Puree the pulp, mix with ketchup and chili paste. Stir in green onions and dried cranberries. Season with salt. Refrigerate until ribs are ready to serve.

Pre-heat gas grill to 325 to 350 degrees or start charcoal grill. Place ribs on indirect heat if possible for 2 to 3 hours. You'll know they're done when the meat has shrunk back from the bone about a 1/4 of an inch and the meat is tender enough to tear apart with your fingers (Don't forget to let the test piece cool a bit so you don't burn your fingertips.)

Ann’s Sweetened Dried Cranberry Muffins

Ann's Sweetened-Dried Cranberry Muffins

4 Eggs

2 cups Sugar

2 cups Milk

2-3 cups Sweetened-dried cranberries

1 cup Vegetable oil

4 cups Stirred flour

4-1/2 tsp Baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whip eggs, oil and milk until liquids are frothy. Stir together flour, baking powder and sugar; stir gently into liquid mixture. Add all sweetened-dried cranberries at once. Stir gently but do not over mix.

Spray two 12-cup muffin tins with vegetable coating, covering very well. Heap batter to top of cups. Bake 30 minutes or until muffins are light brown and a toothpick comes out just moist. Makes 18-24 muffins.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2/3 cup Butter or margarine Softened

2/3 cup Brown sugar

2 Eggs

1-1/2 cup Old-fashioned oats

1-1/2 cup Flour

1 tsp Baking soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1 (6 oz) package Sweetened-dried cranberries

2/3 cup White chocolate chuncks or chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs; mix well.

Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in sweetened-dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 2 -1/2 dozen cookies.

Walnut Cheesecake Pie

Cranberry Walnut Cheesecake Pie

1-1/4 cups Cold milk

2 (4 oz) packages Cheesecake flavor instant pudding

1/2 teaspoon Grated lemon peel

1 (8 oz) container Whipped topping Thawed (divided)

1 (6 oz) Ready graham cracker pie crust

1 (6 oz) can Whole berry cranberry sauce Divided

1/2 cup Toasted, chopped walnuts Divided

Pour milk into a large bowl. Add pudding mixes and lemon peel. Beat with wire whisk one minute. Gently stir in 1/2 of the whipped topping.

Spread 1/2 of the pudding mixture on bottom of crust. Spread 1/2 of the cranberry sauce over pudding mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the walnuts. Top with remaining pudding mixture.

Refrigerate four (4) hours until set. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and walnuts. Serve with remaining cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Almonds Bars

Cranberry Almond Bars

3 cups Granola

1 cup Wheat germ

1-1/2 cups Almond butter

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1/3 cup Whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup Honey

1 cup Dried cranberries

1 cup Slivered almonds

Lightly grease a 9x13 rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving excess paper on edges.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and press firmly into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven. Pull on parchment paper to remove from pan and cut into 24 bars while still warm-six on one side and four on the other.

Recipes and photos courtesy of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association