This is very festive recipe, fitting for the season; it’s also the best time for it, as fresh cranberries from this fall’s crop are still in the stores. As it’s often the case with fermentation, the final product is not at all what you would expect from cranberries. They lose their usual tartness and become mellow, slightly spicy and slightly alcoholic. I’ll cite the quantities for one pound, but the photos illustrate twice the amount – I know now better than making the amount that will disappear too quickly, making me wait a week or two for the next portion.
What you need: a pound of whole cranberries, zest from one large orange, a 2-inch long piece of ginger root, 3 Tbsp of raw unpasteurized honey, 3-5 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, ½ tsp of cinnamon powder and 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Prepare some unchlorinated water by boiling it in an open pot and letting it cool down to room temperature.
First, you need to burst your cranberries. The simplest way is to put them in a zipper or any other bag and smash with whatever is heavy and handy enough. Don’t go all caveman on them and mash them completely; what you want is to achieve is mostly whole berries with their skin popped. Some will remain unpierced but most should be burst.
Pour them in a 1-liter glass jar. Drop the cloves in the honey and let them float there while you prepare the rest of ingredients.
Remove as much pith from orange zest as you can. Alternatively, zest orange leaving pith behind – that white spongy stuff has a bitter taste that we don’t need. Grate the ginger.
Mix zest, ginger, cinnamon powder, and salt and pour the honey with cloves in the mix. Use the cinnamon stick to mix the ingredients.
Break the cinnamon stick in two-three parts and put them in the cranberries. Pour the mix in the jar. Fill the jar with water up to an inch under the rim. Cover with a lid and shake the whole thing vigorously to mix ingredients well. Unscrew the lid and press the mix down with a wooden spoon to submerge the berries.
Cover with a towel and secure with rubber band. Alternatively, turn a lid over and put it on the jar – that’s my preferred way.
During fermentation the level of the liquid will rise, and you may not always be able to catch it in time to prevent spilling. Put the jar in a dish to collect the spillover. Place the jar away from direct sunlight.
In a few days you will see bubbles in the liquid. In about a week you may start tasting the berries.
They will be much more mellow than cranberries usually are and slightly fizzy. Keep them from kids, since they are slightly alcoholic, thanks to honey fermentation. I usually eat some while leaving the rest to ferment further and mature in taste – as with most ferments, the taste develops and changes with time. You can stop the taste change at any time by putting the jar in the fridge.
Time: prep 20 min. Wait: from 1 week Download PDF
- Cranberries – 1 pound
- Zest from 1 large orange
- Ginger root – 2 inch
- Honey raw – 3 Tbsp
- Sea salt – ½ tsp
- Cloves, whole – 5
- Cinnamon, stick – 1
- Cinnamon, powder – ½ tsp
- Unchlorinated water
- Burst the cranberries so most of them remain whole with their skins popped, and pour them in the glass jar.
- Grate the ginger
- Mix zest, ginger, cinnamon powder, salt and cloves and pour the honey in the mix.
- Break the cinnamon stick in two-three parts and put them in the cranberries.
- Pour the mix in the jar and fill the jar with water up to an inch under the rim.
- Cover with a lid and shake the jar vigorously to mix the ingredients.
- Unscrew the lid and press the mix down with a wooden spoon to submerge the berries. Cover with lid turned over.
- Place the jar away from direct sunlight in a dish to catch spillover.
- Observe for appearance of the air bubbles signifying fermentation. Start tasting in about a week.