This year, I’m definitely into the holiday thing. With our first child expected a mere 5 days before Christmas, I simply can’t help it!! And yes, I’m one of those people–already planning where the tree will go, what other decorations I need to find, what lights to hang and all with a constant playlist of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in my head. And what does this have to do with cranberries? Well, part of it is to explain that I’ve been craving this amazing concoction for quite some time and also to help everyone else get ready for Thanksgiving (so that Thanksgiving can be over and I can blare Christmas music 24/7 without a word of complaint).
Two years ago when Hubby wasn’t Hubby yet and we were renting a crappy little house with no carpeting, we hosted our first holiday together–Thanksgiving of 2012. And of course I wanted to make a great impression on my future in-laws so I looked up all kinds of traditional recipes to throw together. My favorite holiday recipe was one of those and I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving without it! Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead had a recipe I liked but that I’ve adapted a bit since that first time.
Most recipes call for a 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries, but I splurged on my craving and bought the monster 3 pound bag along with a jug of my all-time favorite orange juice (high pulp variety of Simply Orange, its like crack to Hubby and I in case anyone wants brownie points). So, following my adapted recipe at the bottom, you’ll find it comes out rather tart but unbelievably delicious!
Add orange juice and cranberries to a tall pot and bring to a boil. Stir in sugar and spices. Bring to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes until all of the berries have popped and the mixture starts to thicken. If you’re like me and you love this smell, its going to take every ounce of your strength to not start drinking the pot (although I admit to burning my tongue on a taste-test—SOOOO worth it!).
Now, if you’re happy with the flavor, you can serve it warm, pop it in the fridge (keeps for a week or so), freeze it (not sure on this one, but probably a few months I’d guess), or do what I do and can it. While the mix was thickening, I was getting my jars clean and hot so as soon as it was ready, into the jars it went and then straight into the hot water bath for 20 minutes (please refer to NCHFP guidelines).
If you wanted to be really smart about things, you could put your spices in a spice bag so you don’t have to go through the trouble to fishing them out one-by-one and then labeling your jars with a warning about cloves, but I was too excited to be bothered with thinking ahead…
Like I said, this recipe made 7 pints (don’t ask me how many are left).
Happy Holiday Cooking and Feasting!!