Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Holiday Cranberry Juice

We love cranberries! As soon as they go on sale around Thanksgiving, I buy what seems like a cart full. And this juice is one of the first things I make. I usually make a big batch, to get all the mess out of the way at once.

Holiday Cranberry Juice 

  • 1 bag cranberries*, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3-5 whole cloves

Bring everything to a boil in a large pot. 

Simmer berries 10-20 minutes. Carefully strain through sieve and/or cheesecloth. This part is messy. Sometimes I do a preliminary step, letting the fruit drain in a colander before pressing the remaining pulp through a fine sieve. (It is perfectly acceptable to use a sieve large enough to let the cranberry seeds through. They will sink to the bottom of the cups, anyway.)

Bottle up the finished juice in tightly sealed jars and keep refrigerated until use.

*For each bag of cranberries, you'll end up with about 3 cups of concentrated juice.

Holiday Cranberry Juice can be served multiple ways. My son looks forward to sipping it in front of the fireplace on a winter evening, and it's a fun alternative to cocoa for holiday gatherings. Here are three serving suggestions:

  • Heat to a simmer with a bottle of apple juice. Simple, delicious, and you can adjust the ratio to suit your tastes. You can do an equally balanced cran-apple, or mix it up: increasing the cranberry tastes more decadent, while using more apple is economical and child-friendly.
  • Pour into a large pot and mix in apple juice to taste. Thinly slice one orange and one lemon and float the slices in the juice. Throw in more cloves and another stick of cinnamon if you feel like splurging. Heat to a simmer and ladle the citrus-laced juice into mugs. 
  • The citrus variation above, plus a generous splash of red wine. A delightful way to warm up your adult guests!

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