Find out how to know if the cranberries you got are bad and need to be tossed, or kept and used up in your favorite recipe.
Did you realize that you have forgotten about the cranberries you bought in the fall. Maybe you got some extra for Thanksgiving or Christmas and didn't get around to using them.
Now you are wondering if they are any good anymore.
Let us talk about the various issues you can find with fresh cranberries and talk about whether you should keep them or toss them.
The telltale sign of a fresh cranberries is bright, red color. When they get older, the color of the berries begin turning darker to a dark red or dark purple color.
If your berries are looking a little dark it's time to consider these other things -
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Most often the first thing you will see with cranberries going bad is they start to get wrinkly. I don't think that means the berries are bad, just getting old and drying out. Since I don't know anyone that just pop them into their mouth as a snack, the texture isn't going to matter when you cook or bake with them.
I have made cranberry sauce in January from cranberries I had bought a month or more earlier and it was still good. Some of the berries were wrinkled.
Verdict - Keep! You shouldn't notice a difference when you cook or bake with them.
For me this one is a no brainer. If you see mold on your berries, it's time to toss them. No need to mess around.
Do you need to toss the whole bag? If you find a couple berries that have gone bad, you could remove them and give them a rinse before using. If you are seeing fuzzy mold growing that is connected to multiple berries I would toss them all out.
Verdict - Probably best to just toss them all out unless it's just a couple and that it isn't fuzzy mold. Use your best judgment.
🦨 Smells Bad
If the berries really shouldn't have much of a smell. So if they are smelling bad, then it's time to toss them. I have not experienced this issue myself. If they smell like wine, it's not a good sign!
Verdict - Toss them all out.
⚓ Sink or Float?
I have heard people to employ the sink or float test. When cranberries are harvested, the bog is flooded, and the berries are harvested off the top of the water. A berry that sinks is a sign that it's not fresh. Does that mean you should for sure toss them? I wouldn't say so for sure. I would look at the other things we talked about as a test whether or not you should toss or keep the berries.
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If you are worried they will go bad before you use them up, you can always freeze them. Also cranberries are only available for a small window each year, so freezing them to use in recipes throughout the year is always a good idea.
You can freeze them directly in the bag they came in. You should get 3 months at least out of them. If you want to take it a step further I would seal them in a vacuum sealed bag. You could then get 6-12 months in the freezer.
🥔 More Produce Tips
Here are some tips on whether or not to toss or keep these fruits or vegetables.
We also talk a lot about these topics on our podcast, Eat Shop Waste Not. You should check that out too.
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