Confession: I have never tasted cranberries. Well, fresh ones at least. I remember when I was a kid, on a summer trip to Germany, my aunt fed me “cranberries”, I loved them. We used to pick them out off the bushes, and enjoy them during our hikes. Since then, because I couldn’t find any fresh ones, I settled for having cranberries dried or in juice form (Ocean Spray to be more precise)
Fast forward 15 years later, while I was getting groceries one weekend, I found a box of those “cranberries” that defined that summer in Europe. Excited , I bought two boxes and headed home. It was then that I was faced with one of the most horrific truths. I found out that those weren’t cranberries. My aunt misidentified red-currants. I felt so betrayed.
In the midst of my confusion, I grew a bit curious. I REALLY wanted to find out what fresh cranberries tasted like. To my luck, I found a pack in our local supermarket. What does it taste like, you ask? Cranberries are a mix of bitter and tart berries, they have that sort of “earthy” flavor that I just love. However, if your palate is sensitive, you would want to stick to having them in their dried form, since that reduces the level of tartness. BUT, they are a great addition in your diet.
One perfect way to use cranberries that is sure to appeal to all taste buds is turning it into a delicious fresh jam. The bright red color of this fresh cranberry jam just screams Christmas morning to me!
Now before you start freaking out about it, this recipe requires 3 ingredients, no additives (Cranberries are loaded with pectin, which is the gelatinous thickening substance required in jam and jelly making), and no hassle that goes with preserving compote (they won’t be sitting in your fridge longer than a few days before you get an empty jar).
How to use the jam? So far, I’ve made a melted brie and cranberry sandwich, a peanut butter and cranberry jam post-workout snack, I’ve used it as a salad dressing, eaten it by the spoonful, and I’m preparing another recipe for how to use it for a special Christmas dessert.
This jam is extremely easy, just put all the ingredients in a pot on the stove, wait for it, and the only work you’ll have to do is the occasional stirring. Ditch your store-bought canned stuff this year and make your own!
- One 340 grams pack fresh cranberries
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- Place cranberries, water and sugar in a pot over medium heat. stir often. Allow cranberries to “pop” and thicken (about 10 minutes)
- Take off the heat and using an immersion blender blend cranberries (I kept a few bits and pieces of cranberries, but if you like a smoother jam, blend all the way). Return to heat and let thicken for another 3-5 minutes.
- Your jam is ready when it coats the back of your spoon and isn’t runny. turn off the heat, add in lemon juice and orange zest and give it a quick stir.
- Let it cool slightly and pour into preferred container.
- Allow the jam to cool completely before placing it in the fridge. Store it for up to 2 weeks.
Bon Appetit 🙂