Hands down, The BEST Thing. Ever. My love for cranberries started when I was a kid. I never liked soda. I hated the way the carbonation tickled my tongue. Even now I’m not big on carbonated beverages. I like beer and a nice glass of sparkling wine or champagne, but I take teeny, tiny sips, until the beverage is almost warm. We’ve figured out when my husband and I are at a bar, it’s usually a 2:1 ratio. For every two beers he has, I might be finishing my first. Today, parents are smart and limit their child’s intake of soda. Families and restaurants often have plenty of non-soda options available like iced tea (sweetened or non), lemonade and fruit juices. But when I was growing up, not liking soda was WEIRD. This is pre Snapple, pre Honest Tea, even before the rise of bottled water. So if I went places, it was often soda, tap water or nothing. Or cranberry juice.
We didn’t go to fancy restaurants when I was a child. I’d like to claim I was an angel, but I might have acted up a bit, especially when my younger brother provoked me. So we went to places like Fridays, Charlie Browns, Steak & Ale. Bar/pub type restaurants where loud kids were often muffled by the sound of [insert sports game of choice here] on the TV. But as I learned, bars always had cranberry juice because they needed it as a mixer. Yes, there was orange juice too but it was usually from concentrate–even then 5 year old palate was refined beyond my years. So I drank cranberry juice, a lot.
This probably also led to my addiction to the cranberry log. I prefer my free range heritage turkey and local root vegetables to be served with a side of Ocean Spray Cranberry log. Maybe not that refined of a palate. I know, I’m ashamed, but the real cranberry sauce just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not Thanksgiving without cranberry log.
I love other real cranberry foods too. Dried cranberries tossed with goat cheese over mixed greens, cranberry orange muffins, cranberry maple pancakes, cranberry scones–really I could go on and on. But nothing compares to when I discovered boozy cranberries. Honestly, I would sacrifice all the cranberry logs in the world for a life supply of this stuff (well, maybe not every one). But this stuff is amazing. Enjoy it spread on a bagel with cream cheese, or with a block of aged cheese, or stuffed in a cupcake or even by the spoonful. The combination of cranberries, orange, spices and (a lot) of Grand Marnieris just perfect. PLUS, it is the easiest recipe ever. If you’ve never canned before, this is a perfect starting point.
I suggest doubling or tripling the recipe. Six jars is barely enough for my me and my husband.
Boozy Cranberries (Adapted from Canning for a New Generation) Makes 6 half pint jars
- 6 c fresh cranberries
- 3 c sugar
- 1 c freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 c Grand Marnier (you can also use Cointreau or triple sec)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
Put all ingredients in a wide 6-8 quart pot and bring to a boil over low heat. Reduce heat and simmer. As the berries start to soften, use a potato masher to break down some of them. Continue simmering for about 15 minutes until berries have thickened and reached jelly stage. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Skim any foam.
Ladle hot cranberries into hot, clean jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace on top. Whip jars clean, center lids and screw on rings. Process jars for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.