Who doesn’t love a good tart cranberry sauce?
I do I do! I do love me some cranberry goodness, as I make it all fall & winter long. On meaty sandwiches, on toast, in coconut milk yogurt, baked into my granola, on oatmeal, in my cereal or a dollup on an argula salad. I love the ‘tart volumn’ turned up to high, mixed with a little spice, a little sugar and some citrus to go with it.
I. love. it. Its Cranberry Season!
What’s interesting, now that I look back on my cranberry preserve making, is that I’ve been dabbling in it far longer than I have canning & preserving. I’ve only been making jams, pickles, sauces, mustards and the like for a little over 18 months now. Cranberry preserves for Thanksgiving & beyond- for something like 8 years now. Its my November staple: whip up a small batch, using 8 or 12 ounces of cranberries, and keep in your refrigerator for a handful of weeks (if it lasts that long) and enjoy! Truly easy!
This is my newest formulation with an exciting new twist, maple syrup. I am LOVING the slight hint of maple in the finished product. I will warn you: I like my cranberry on the tart side. So if you like yours sweeter, you can add another 1/4 cup of maple syrup BUT taste it first at 3/4 cup then add a tablespoon at a time. I should also note that I did not create this recipe to be preserved. Just make it for your friends or family around that Thanksgiving table and enjoy it. Or during December, make a batch of savory scones, winter squash muffins or some English Muffin Bread, put some in a pint jar and you have an excellent edible gift. As for the possible time-management issue: This recipe takes about 20-30 minutes to create this little taste treat from start to finish and you can make this days in advance of Thanksgiving.
Maple, Citrus & Ginger Cranberry Preserve
makes about 2 pints
12 ounces whole cranberries (I used 1 & a half bags of organic Maine cranberries purchased at Honest Weight Food Coop- I put the remaining 4 ounces in mustard and in my morning kale & frozen fruit smoothie.)
3 clementines or 1 very large orange, sliced in small chunks
1/2 lemon, juice & zest (organic if you can since you’re zesting the skin)
1/2 tart apple, I used Crispin from Saratoga Apple
3/4 cup maple syrup, I used Dianna’s 2011 Power to the Boil Syrup
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger root (The farm I work for, Kilpatrick Family Farm, grows it. I keep my frozen-double bagged- and when I need it, I just simple take out a hunk and start grating. works like a charm!)
a pinch of sea salt
a crank of freshly ground pepper if you’re feeling sassy.
– 1/2 cup walnuts (In the past, I’d put walnuts in EVERY batch of cranberry preserve I would make. I LOVE the cranberry/walnut combo and again, I love my cranberry preserve kinda crunchy/chunky. Now, that we can’t have tree nuts in our home, I don’t. I have used sunflower & pumpkin seeds but they don’t hold the form- they get kinda soggy -and just aren’t as awesome tasting as walnuts.
– 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese 5 Spice which is a combination of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and ground fennel seeds. We are big fans of this stuff in our home. It was really an interesting twist, slightly “warming” as it has the pepper & fennel. Personally, I wouldn’t add this spice for a traditional Thanksgiving meal but rather if you are making it, as I do, over & over during the fall & winter months. A change of pace, if you will.
1. In a dutch over or your trusty stainless steel pot bring cranberries & maple syrup to a low boil. You want to keep an eye on this mixture and stir when needed. Don’t let the sugar burn! You aren’t making a jelly or a jam here, you just want the fruit to break down. You can use a potato masher after about 5-8 minutes to speed up the process, I do!
2. Once on a rolling boil, and the cranberries are on their way to breaking down, add the apples, lemon juice & zest and clementines. Stir. You want the apples to cook down to soft, NOT mushy. I like my cranberry preserve to have a bite.
3. Once apples are soft, not mushy add your sea salt and ginger. Cook a little bit more to make everything incorporated (everything will turn cranberry red). Take your potato masher through one more time to make sure all the cranberries have been mushed (nice technical recipe talk huh?) and then you’re done.
4. Fill clean mason jars or just immediately spread on some bread like I did. Or eat straight out of the jar. Enjoy!