You don’t have to have to live on Nantucket Island to grow cranberries, but it certainly helps. While you can grow this tangy fruit in your home garden, it does have some special requirements – like sandy soil with an acid pH (below 7), lots of fresh water and a period of cold weather for the plants to go dormant.

Cranberry holiday scone

The dried sweetened cranberries used in this recipe plump when baked, making for a sweet surprise in every bite.

Photo Credit: Jodi Torpey

Scone preparation

Once the dough is spread evenly in the pan, use a sharp knife to score it into 8 wedges to make serving easier.

Photo Credit: Jodi Torpey

Cranberries

Cranberries are closely related to blueberries and exhibit a pretty flower, showy edible fruit and good red fall color.

Photo Credit: Gerald L. Klingaman

If you’ve seen pictures of a cranberry bog, it might surprise you to learn that this fruit is produced on a groundcover plant, which grows using both runners and an upright habit. Cranberry growers know it’s important to first get the runners to spread quickly to cover the ground. After the runners have taken off, the plants can then start growing in an upright manner to flower and produce the bright fruit.

The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is best known as a traditional Thanksgiving dinner staple, but these sweet and tart red gems are good enough – and good enough for you – that they deserve to be eaten year-round. While they’re only harvested in fall, they’ll keep frozen for several months. And those dried, sweetened cranberries (like little red raisins) allow you enjoy the fruit any month of the year.

Holiday breakfast scones, featuring dried cranberries, is one of my favorite special-occasion breakfast recipes. It only takes a few minutes to whip up the batter, fold in the sweetened cranberries and pop into the oven. It’s a delicious and healthy way to start the day.

Holiday Breakfast Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, margarine or transfat-free shortening
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup dried sweetened cranberries (Other dried fruit can be substituted, like raisins, currants or dates.)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in butter, margarine or transfat-free shortening with a fork or pastry blender until mixture is well-combined. Add milk, eggs and dried cranberries. Stir until dry ingredients are moist. (The dough will be sticky.)

Spoon dough into prepared pie plate and evenly spread to edges using a silicon or rubber kitchen spatula. Score the dough into wedges with the point of a sharp knife. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the scones are lightly browned. Serve warm with your favorite cup of coffee or tea – and have a happy holiday morning.