Cranberry season in Minnesota is almost as exciting to me as apple season is for most home cooks. Why? Because they are so incredibly versatile. Most people initially think “cranberry sauce” or, if you were really lucky growing up (like me!), you’ll think of that canned cranberry sauce that falls out of the can, molded into the shape of the can — mmmm, appetizing 😉 . But, cranberries can be used for so much more than just the traditional cranberry sauce. They are delicious dehydrated, juiced, used in holiday cocktails (or mocktails), made into chutney, jams, jellies and salsas, or even a relish. Cranberries are also healthy! They are high in antioxidants, low in calories, good for the urinary system and they are high in vitamins C, A and K.
Plus, when you live right next to the state that produces the largest crop of cranberries in the country, and supplies nearly half the world with them — thank you, Wisconsin –, you may as well embrace the beautiful, vibrant, red gems.
Beginning in October, us Minnesotans start to see fresh cranberries trickle in at the markets. Yay! Lakewinds Food Co-op in Richfield offers them seasonally as well as the Downtown St. Paul – Lowertown Farmers’ Market. They are inexpensive and incredibly delicious.
I already purchased my first box of 10 pounds and have made a double batch of cranberry sauce for the holiday season, as well as a new recipe I’m working on for Cranberry Coulis.
Here is a recipe that I developed for FERMENTED CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH, published in Can It & Ferment It (2017), Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. I hope you give it a try!
This sweet and citrusy cranberry ferment is full of flavor. The deep red color of the finished fermented relish will surely brighten up any plate!
Yield: 1 pint jar
3 cups whole fresh cranberries
½ tsp. organic orange zest
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp. raw honey
Pick through the cranberries and discard any damaged, soft or unripe berries (pink or green colored). Rinse thoroughly and strain. Use a food processor to chop the cranberries; it will only take 2-3 seconds. Transfer the berries into a pint jar and add in the orange zest, juice and honey. Mix together well. Use a canning jar lid and ring to tightly shut the jar.
Keep the relish on the counter at room temperature, preferably between 68-75°F to ferment. Once a day, open the jar, stir the ingredients, pat them back down and tightly shut the jar. This is a 3-day ferment. Once complete, refrigerate relish for up to two weeks. Enjoy!