Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Cranberries


Remember that band? Weird.
Living in New England is great about 75% of the time.  December to March gets a little dicey but overall, I can't complain.  I grew up next to a cranberry bog, and it was beautiful during the fall.

So I always knew about cranberries and liked cranberry juice and cranberry sauce, but I never really appreciated them until last week.   I actually bought some locally raised (like in my town) cranberries.  Not only did I feel high-and-mighty for being so environmentally aware, I was really proud of this item that is shipped from my little town, all over the world.

I let all that get in the way of the fact that I had never cooked a cranberry, and really had no idea what you could do with them.

Luckily, Google helped me out & I found a lot of recipes for cranberries that I could use. 

First I made regular old cranberry jam.  It was almost an epic failure when I let them boil over.  But luckily, I somehow managed to save it.  FYI, don't ever let jam boil over on a glass stove top.  It's bad.  Really bad.  

Here's where I found my first recipe: 

I skipped the pectin with no issues.  It's a little watery without, but honestly, it doesn't really need the pectin. I canned it into 6 1/2 pint jars.  

It was sweet & tart, just like the cranberry sauce I always have at holidays!  First jam-a success!  Plus Miss Autumn Mae and family approved.  

So then I decided to get crazy.  I couldn't find anything that was unique enough to feel like I made it my own.  So I consulted the hubs, and we decided on cranberry balsamic jam.  I had seen a recipe for strawberry balsamic jam & figured it would be much the same.  And it worked!  We plan on serving it with pork or turkey, possible as a glaze.  Or maybe with a really strong cheese.  Yum. 

Cranberry  & Balsamic Vinegar Jam

Makes 4 pints

4 cups cranberries, washed & bad stuff picked out
1c orange juice or water
2 cups white sugar
1/2 box low sugar pectin
6 tbs balsamic vinegar

Bring cranberries, sugar, and orange juice to a boil in a large saucepan (watch out! It boils fast!)
Cook for 10 minutes on medium
Use an immersion blender to break up any chunks. (I left it a bit chunky)
OK now add the pectin. 
Stir it in, and bring to a full boil for 1 minute. 
Now add the vinegar.  Stir in and taste.  Doesn't it taste awesome??
I canned it in 1 pint jars and it made 4 pints with a little bit left over.  Process in a boiling water bath for15 minutes, and you're done! 
I may skip the pectin next time, but other than that, it was a success! 

And just to showcase my awful photography skills, here are the jars processing: 

That's all I've got for now kids!  

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