Straight From the Cranberry Bog

Cranberries are a once a year treat that my family enjoys throughout the fall and winter. We love homemade cranberry sauce, cranberry breads and muffins or roasted with Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and pecans. Here's a riff on that recipe that includes bacon. (https://juliasalbum.com/brussels-sprouts-and-bacon/)

I first began making cranberry sauce many many years ago. The first one I made as a raw sauce with grated oranges, spices and cranberries which didn't go over well with anyone. The second one was a recipe right off the Ocean Spray cranberry bag and it sufficed for a number of years. About six years ago, I started experimenting with combining cranberries and other berries--strawberries, blueberries and cherries, to be exact. And pineapple. I recalled a simply delicious cranberry sauce I'd enjoyed from a small store called June and Ho, a gourmet delicatessen and fresh produce store in Rye Brook, New York. It had cranberries, walnuts and pineapple. Oh so good! This was what I was going to recreate.

I tend to change up recipes depending upon what's available and my mood. Heres a yummy sauce that has loads of possibilities and is just in time for Thanksgiving. Add other berries, if you like. This particular recipe comes from a local store called Spice for Life in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Here's a photo of my sister Susan when we visited the store last year.

 

 We loved the shop and stocked up on spices we use frequently.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Zinfandel

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (12 oz.) Fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 ¾ c. Zinfandel (red)
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. packed Golden brown sugar
  • 6 whole Cloves
  • 6 whole Allspice berries
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg, ground
  • 2 Cassia cinnamon sticks
  • 1 3x1-inch. strip Orange peel OR
  • grated rind from one medium orange
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (optional)

Directions:

  • 1. Combine all ingredients other than cranberries, blueberries, nuts and pineapple in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • 2. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 ¾ cups, about 10 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth or fine sieve into large saucepan.
  • 3. Add cranberries, blueberries, nuts and pineapple to syrup and cook over medium heat until berries burst, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold.
  • 4. Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.

You could also stir 1/4 to 1/2 cup of this sauce into a homemade cranberry batter for bread or muffins. I’ve even made a cranberry ice cream soda with vanilla ice cream and seltzer—now that was good!

Check out the Spice for Life website for additional condiment recipes, and visit their store in the Van Aken District in Cleveland.

Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food company. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at several Northeast Ohio retail locations including:

Troubadour Coffee Roasters www.troubadourcoffeeroasters.com

Sports and Spine Physical Therapy www.sportspine.com

Local Flavors Shoppe www.localflavors.net

Rittman Orchards and Farm Market www.rittmanorchards.com

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport www.clevelandairport.com

Locle Box www.loclebox.com

Good Foods Brands www.goodfoodbrands.org

Market Wagon Northeast Ohio www.marketwagon.com

 

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