Cranberries are one of those fruits you have to learn to love, I think. After years of only knowing cranberries by the jelly substance I'd eat on Thanksgiving or the super-sweet dried nuggets I'd find hidden away in salads, I decided to try the fresh form of the ruby fruit. Long story short, I'm in love.

To honor this merry berry, I'm sharing my five favorite cranberry-infused recipes. In the comments below, let me know if I've missed a great one.

1. Fresh Cranberry Muffins - Muffins are a gateway food, I think. This was the first recipe I tried with fresh cranberries. I'll put almost anything in a muffin to see if I like it. These muffins are delicately sweet and only use 1 cup of fresh cranberries. The orange rind brings bright notes to balance the tart cranberry kick.

2. Orange-Cranberry Pork Stew - Can cranberries dishes only be sweet? No, not at all. In fact, this is one of the best savory recipes I've ever made with any fruit. The flavors in this dish are like none you've probably had before--it's a southeast-Asian spin on a classic American dish--and the cranberries are a true highlight.

3. Kumquat-Cranberry Cornmeal Loaf - An upside-down cake meets quick bread in this seasonal recipe. When the loaf is finished baking, invert it to reveal the jeweled top. As with the muffins, the addition of citrus (in this case, kumquats) helps enhance the flavor of the cranberries without overpowering them. Wrap up a loaf and give it to a friend or family member who could use a lift as part of our #BakeItForward movement.

4. Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake - Tangy cranberry swirls swim through creamy cheesecake and sit atop a crunchy chocolate cracker crust. The tartness of the cranberries provides an equaling flavor force to the sweet cheesecake mixture. Plus, it's just plain beautiful.

5. Cranberry Curd - This stuff is liquid gold. Actually, it may be even more valuable than that. Creamy, dreamy curd you'll want to spread all over everything, from toast to ice cream. Really. It makes a great gift if you can dare to give it away.

If you'll be buying bags of cranberries to make all these fun recipes, be sure to read buying and storing tips to help you get the freshest options.

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