Cranberry spread is a type of sauce that can be used on sandwiches, toast, meat, crackers, or pastries. The ingredients generally include foods like cranberry sauce, chopped cranberries, chopped nuts, cream cheese, and orange zest. This type of spread is frequently eaten during winter holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas in the U.S., but can be consumed all throughout the year. There are several variations of the spread, but all contain cranberry as the main component.
When making cranberry spread, ingredients such as jellied cranberry sauce, chopped cranberries, and cranberry jelly are combined with other foods to create a sweet sauce that can be eaten with a variety of foods and dishes. Other ingredients that are commonly used include cream cheese, milk, brown sugar, almonds, dijon mustard, and chopped pecans. For a more tart version of the spread, less sugar will be used. In terms of texture, some may prefer to blend all of the ingredients into a smooth consistency, while others prefer a chunkier version of the sauce.
Typically, cranberry spread and sauces are eaten with meats such as turkey and chicken. During Thanksgiving, the spread is commonly eaten with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other holiday foods. It can also be eaten on sandwiches made with turkey and other ingredients such as lettuce, cream cheese, and tomato slices. Crackers, bread, toast, and wafers can also be dipped into cranberry spread. The sweeter versions of the sauce can be added to pastries and desserts, as well.
Unlike ordinary cranberry sauce, cranberry spread will usually contain other ingredients in addition to cranberries to make it more flavorful and versatile. They are still very similar, however, and can often be substituted for one another. Nonetheless, if the spread contains ingredients like cream cheese or dijon mustard, it may not taste much like ordinary cranberry dressing and shouldn't be used in dishes that call for plain cranberry sauce.
Many cranberry spreads are created at home using store-bought sauce or jelly. Varieties of the spread can also be found in most supermarkets or grocery stores. This type of spread can be seen packaged inside of a jar, tub, or plastic container. Prices will vary depending on size and the ingredients used in the spread.
The health benefits of eating cranberries are many. Cranberries are rich in vitamin C and fiber, and can aid in digestion and strengthening immunity. They are also known to combat urinary tract infections in women. In addition, cranberries can help provide flexibility in the blood vessels, preventing strokes. When eaten regularly, the berries can even prevent diseases such as cancer and ulcerative colitis.