My favorite winter ferment!

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These are cranberries! They are nutritious and beautiful and full of flavor. They are one of the few fruits native to the United States. Most of us know them as part of a holiday meal in a sugar gelatin or sauce. Don’t get me wrong I love cranberry sauce in a can or fresh. They add a great acid to a very heavy and rich holiday meal.

There are other ways to enjoy this seasonal fruit. In fact, cranberries store very well in the freezer to be enjoyed all winter. These are fresh cranberries, 12-ounce bag or container. I wash them and then place them in a bowl. I look to make sure they are all mold free and not squishy to the touch. I then take my potato masher or a sauerkraut pounder and rough them all up. I want them all popped and broken open.

 

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Next, I take warm and delicious flavors of the season and add them to a clean quart mason jar. I took two-star anise, one cinnamon stick broken in half, half the skin of one orange, five cloves, a nub of ginger the size of your thumb, and a tablespoon of honey and placed them all in the bottom of the mason jar. In the bowl full of cranberries I took a teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt and coated the cranberries. I made sure to mix the cranberries and salt very well. Next, I poured the cranberries on top of all the spices in the mason jar. I squished everything down as well as I could and added water until the berries were submerged. I placed a weight on top and a lid on the jar.

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I will leave this mixture out on the counter for 4-5 days until the mixture becomes bubbly. To ensure no mold you can use a one-way fermentation valve but I have had good luck with this short fermentation.

You can use this fermented cranberry sauce served with meats, on sandwiches, or with cheese platters. I love to add a  bit to a holiday beverage such as carbonated water, vodka, and the cranberry mix. You can also add a tablespoon to the bottom of your champagne or old fashion. You can press and strain the mixture as well to use a syrup in beverages or a  sauce.

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