Cider Spiced Cranberries

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So, I know this isn’t a simple dinner recipe like I normally post on Fridays, but the recipe I tested out flat out failed, so I figured I’d share this holiday-inspired side dish instead. It could easily be part of a simple supper Friday meal — just pair it with veggies of choice and protein (I recommend poultry or pork with the cranberries). How about baked skin-on chicken breasts or thighs, broccoli with grass-fed butter (or maybe roasted Brussel sprouts) and these cranberries? Delicious and easy.

Anyway, I always enjoy having cranberries with my holiday meal and usually make a variation of my mom’s recipe, which you can view here. This year, I decided to try out a new recipe using whole cider spices, apple and dried currants. It made the house smell warm and cozy, and made me want to cuddle up on the sofa with a blanket and Christmas movie. Of course, that’s not what happened, but it’s a nice idea, right? Anyway, the cranberries turned out perfectly and just how I envisioned — tart, a little sweet, warm-spiced and chunky. Eat ’em hot, cold, on turkey, mixed into yogurt or even on their own, these cranberries are delightful and become even more flavorful after chilling. I hope this recipe makes an appearance on your holiday table.

Cheers and happy Friday!

Ingredients:

  • 13.5 oz pure orange juice (I used a small 13.5 oz bottle of Simply Orange)
  • 1/4 cup bulk cider spice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey (use up to 2 Tbsp more if you want it sweeter)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 quart fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried currants
  • 1 medium pippin apple or granny smith, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Directions:

  1. Combine orange juice and cider spices in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then, strain mixture and return the juice reduction back to the pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the water, raw honey and ground cinnamon, and stir until dissolved. Then, add the cranberries, dried currants and chopped apple. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cook fruit mixture for about 7 minutes or until most of the cranberries have popped. Once done, remove from heat to cool and stir in the butter and chopped pecans, if using.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, before serving.
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Spiced Cranberry Relish

spiced cranberry relish 2This has forever been my favorite cranberry recipe and it’s all thanks to my mom. I don’t know how many years ago she first made this recipe, but prior to it, I never really cared for cranberries. I wanted to like them and always scooped some on my plate because they looked pretty and fruity, but would soon be disappointed. I’d probably like a more standard cranberry recipe now, but back then, it was too tart for my taste buds. This one is by no means overly sweet, but the orange juice and spices add a nice variety to the sauce. I love the dried cherries too, especially because they plump up during the cooking process. I can’t wait to eat these cranberries on top of the local, pasture-raised turkey I’ll be cooking … my first time cooking a whole turkey!

This has been modified slightly from my mom’s original recipe, but only in terms of the sugar. It actually calls for much more sugar than I put in (2/3 cup) and also in the form of white sugar. I used raw honey to sweeten it and cut the amount down by quite a bit because I don’t like things as sweet. Plus, I always opt for as little sweetener as possible (granted, you’d use less when opting for liquid sweetener over dry anyway since it’s more concentrated). There’s added sweetness from the orange juice and cherries (if using) too, so it really doesn’t need anymore sweet.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup 100% pure orange juice
  • 2-3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cherries, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine juice, honey and spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until honey is dissolved.
  2. Add cranberries and dried cherries, if using, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat and stir in nuts. Chill for several hours before serving.