When Life Gives You Cranberries, Make Cranberry Walnut Bread

Here’s a familiar story in my house:  As the holiday cooking season nears, cranberries go on sale. When I see what a great price they are, I decide to stock up on them. I always use a couple bags to make my mom’s cranberry orange relish, but what to do with the rest? I usually wind up freezing them to use later.

But I can never figure out what to make with them, and before I get around to using any of them, they go on sale again. So I buy more. And take them home. And put them in the freezer for later. I estimate that it will be about two more years before I need another freezer.

In the meantime, I resolved to actually use some of the extra cranberries this year. And what better way to start than good, old-fashioned cranberry walnut bread?

Cranberry Walnut Bread


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • grated peel from one orange
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1 12-ounce bag cranberries, chopped (see Note below)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add orange peel, shortening, eggs, and orange juice and mix well with a dough whisk. Stir in cranberries and walnuts.
  4. Divide dough evenly between loaf pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and internal temperature reaches 185-190 degrees.
  5. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and finish cooling on rack.

Note:  It is easiest to chop cranberries in the food processor. If you try to chop them with a knife, you’ll end up with as many cranberries on the floor as on your cutting board. Be careful not to over-process, however. Four or five pulses should be sufficient.

So, there you have it. My first attempt to use up the world’s largest store of cranberries outside of Cape Cod. Oh, and in case you’re interested, my mom’s cranberry relish is really simple:  for every bag of cranberries, use one whole orange (peel and all) and a scant cup of sugar. Chop the cranberries and orange in the food processor or food grinder. Add sugar to taste and stir until the sugar dissolves. This cranberry relish will keep in the fridge for a long time, so make lots of it.

Oh, and if all else fails, I found one more use for cranberries. Bailey loves them.

When life gives you cranberries, eat 'em.