Sunday, September 26th
On Sunday, a friend invited me to pick wild cranberries in one of Halifax’s amazing wild spaces. I had never seen cranberries in action (aka growing) and was expecting medium size bushes surrounding a bog. I was – of course – mistaken.
Picking cranberries is nothing like the death-defying adventure of blackberry picking – something I had been doing quite a bit lately in the name of jam. Picking cranberries is like lying on a soft bed of moss surrounded by nature’s colourful bounty. I came home with a lot of cranberries.
So, I proposed a challenge to the Food Action Committee of the EAC – a wild cranberry sauce cook off. Here are the results…
Here is my contribution to the cran challenge!
The apartment is filled with the smell of sweet honey, cloves and fruit. I usually stick to my mother’s recipe, which is just white sugar, water and a bag of cranberries. But reading cranberry sauce recipes which use black pepper, cinnamon and orange has made me brave.
I make it up as I go: Use a generous dollop of honey and decide to add more if it’s not sweet enough after cooking. Add lemon zest and larger pieces of peel because I don’t have an orange. I think pepper won’t go over well at the Thanksgiving table, but go with cinnamon and add a few black cloves. In the end, it tastes swell—absolutely as good as it smells.
2 cups cranberries, or approx. 12 ounces
1 cup water
¼ cup honey approx.
1 t. cloves
Mix all ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Refrigerate after cooling.
Here is my cranberry recipe:
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 4 cups (1 12-oz) fresh cranberries
- Optional : Pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.
Here are the ingredients, there aren’t many!
(The cinnamon sticks illustrate the cinnamon added later.)
Step one, add the sugar and water in a sauce pan.
Step two, stir the sugar to dissolve as the water is brought to a boil.
Step three, add cranberries!
Step four, bring the water (now with cranberries) to a second boil until the berries burst. They make a surprising popping noise as they do so!
Step five, turn the heat down to ‘3’ or ‘4’ on the stove and let simmer for about ten minutes. After ten minutes, or when the sauce becomes a ‘saucy’ consistency (ha!) you can add any of the spices or extras you’d like!
Step six, here is the finished sauce in the pan! Remove from heat, put the sauce in a bowl and put it in the fridge to cool further, it will thicken as it cools. You can eat it in the next few days or store it for another time!
The recipe is from www.simplyrecipes.com –nice and simple. It is easily divided or multiplied because it is difficult to have an exact amount of berries! I halfed the recipe, but had a little more than two cups of berries, so I added about 1/8th of a cup to compensate. This made the finished sauce sweeter than store-bought kinds. If you prefer the sauce to be bitter than use the recipe amount of sugar and don’t worry about adding any. If you’d like to make a sweeter or spicey sauce (using cinnamon ginger allspice or nuts) than a bit more sugar would support that well!