How to select for best flavor:
Ripe cranberries bounce. That’s why they have been known as “bounceberries” for centuries. Today they are run through a machine that checks their bounciness and culls out any berries that don’t bounce. Usually they are sold in bags. Look through the bag to make sure they aren’t soft, crushed or shriveled. They should be bright and plump. Color is not a good indicator of ripeness. It varies with variety.
Peak of the season:
The cranberry season runs from September through December, with the most and best available in November (convenient for Thanksgiving). About two-thirds of the crop comes from New England. The rest come from New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.
In large quantities, cranberries provide a lot of vitamin C. In the smaller amounts usually eaten as preserves or sauces, the benefit is pretty much outweighed by the calories added by sugar, about 420 to the cup . Cranberry juice is a very good source of vitamin C, with many fewer calories (145 per cup_ and a fairly high amount of sodium. Cranberries contain an unknown substance that stimulates the flow of gastric uses, making digestion of heavy meat dishes easier.
Cranberries are tough. They will keep between four and eight weeks in the refrigerator. They can also be stored in the freezer indefinitely. Make sure they don’t get wet, though. Dampness causes mold. Wash them right before you use them. Cranberries explode violently when heated, so if you cook them, put a cover over them. Add sugar after cooking or the skins will get tough.