A fresh cranberry should bounce. (Julia Ewan/The Washington Post)

In a kitchen minute, fresh cranberries will arrive in grocery produce departments, where they will enjoy a good run through the end of the year. A drought is expected to lessen the yield in some Northeastern cranberry-producing states like Massachusetts, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But nationwide, the 2016 crop will exceed last year’s total of 8.59 million barrels — a barrel weighing about 100 pounds.

In short, no pumpkin-type shortage scares here.

You can find the berries now on the frozen fruit aisle, and because you can use them just like fresh, now’s the time to start deploying cranberries in all sorts of sweet and savory ways. Why wait till November? You could get a head start on finding the perfect cranberry relish for Thanksgiving (it will freeze well), and serve it with a Sunday roast chicken. Or make a chutney for roasted butternut squash. Cranberries are a lovely match for apples in a pie or brown betty.

(Fun facts: Dry-harvested cranberries — who knew? — are the ones sold as fresh fruit, and generally represent a small portion of the fall harvest. To gauge the freshness of a dry-harvested berry, give it a bounce test; you want to see some liveliness. Wet-harvested ones are used for juices, canned/processed sauces and such.)

Of course you should peruse our Recipe Finder for cranberry ideas, but we listed a few of our favorite options below. First . . . .

Top recipes of the week

A taste for soup — prompted by Kathy Gunst’s fun soup swap party ideas — figures in three of our readers’ most-viewed recipes online:


(Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

1. Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder With Saffron Cream, pictured above. Perhaps the sunniest bowl in Gunst’s new “Soup Swap” cookbook, and just right for the seasons’ transition.

2. Lamb and Lentil Soup With Lamb Meatballs. Another from Gunst’s collection; rich and satisfying.

3. Lemon-Rosemary Chicken and Orzo Skillet. Ellie Krieger’s easy one-pan meal.

4. Meatloaf Muffins. A Local Living section, family-friendly recipe from Casey Seidenberg of Nourish Schools.

5. Parsnip and Cauliflower ‘Vichyssoise’ With Gremolata. Made with surprisingly little dairy.


(Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Cranberries Cooked in Honey, pictured above

Cranberry-Glazed Butternut Squash

Gooey Chicken, Brie and Cranberry Pies

Fresh Fall Rolls With Cranberry Dipping Sauce