MakeSauerkraut

3 Delectable Fermented Cranberry Recipes [Year Round Enjoyment]

– Posted in: Fermented Foods
Fermented Cranberries Recipes for Year Round Enjoyment. | makesauerkraut.com

Here on Vancouver Island, we’re lucky to have local cranberries. Yellow Point Cranberries, a family owned and operated cranberry farm marks the seasons for me by their appearance each fall at my local farmer’s market.

Their stand displays a cornucopia of fresh cranberries for just a few short weeks. I grab a few bags and stash them in my freezer to put to good use in the ensuing months.

For the last few years, I’ve not been enjoying sweetened and dried cranberries but also fermented cranberries. My favorite?

Cranberry-Orange Relish

And since one can never have just one way to ferment cranberries, this year I’ve experimented a bit and came up with a few more ways to use my cranberries:

Raw Cranberry-Apple Chutney

Pickled Cranberries

By introducing you to fermented cranberries, perhaps I can help shift the consumption of cranberries centered around one day and one dish to a year-round pleasure beyond cranberry relish, cranberry juice and dried and sweetened cranberries.

All About Cranberries

Cranberries are often a part of a Thanksgiving celebration in the form of cranberry sauce served alongside turkey. But, there is much more to know about cranberries than that they are usually made into a jellied mixture sold in a can.

Fun Facts About Cranberries

  • Just a few fruits farmed in the United States are native. Cranberries are one of those fruits.
  • Native Americans used a cranberry poultice on their arrow wounds because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • One-fifth of America’s total harvest of cranberries is consumed around one day: Thanksgiving.
  • Only five percent of cranberry crops are sold as fresh cranberries.
  • New Jersey is one of the top three states in the United States that grows cranberries.
  • The Lee Brothers, a 7th generation cranberry farm, has been growing cranberries since the mid 1800’s.

How Do Cranberries Grow?

Under water? No.

But why do we always see them floating on water as in this picture that I just can’t pull my eyes away from.

Cranberries grow on low trailing vines in sunken beds called bogs. The plants are perennial meaning they survive year after year, some being 65 years old. They love a sandy soil and take a long time to grow. 16 months!!!


Water is an important and precious commodity for cranberry growers. Though the cranberries grow in dry land, water is used to flood them twice a year.

In December, farmers plug the bogs and flood them for the duration of winter. This is when the plants go dormant and this blanket of water insulates the vines from harsh winter frost.

In the spring, the bogs are drained and the cranberries bloom with fruit beginning to grow by mid-June shifting their colors from green until fall, when they turn red. Now, cranberry bogs are flooded a second time for the October harvest.

Ever notice those air pockets inside a cranberry? That’s what makes them float once they are gently knocked off the vines to ready them for harvest.


More in the following How Does It Grow? Cranberries video.

Health Benefits

A quick look here at the benefits of cranberries. And guess what? Fermenting them will increase benefits and add nutrients making them just a tad more healthy. Though to reap the noted health benefits, you’ll need to eat quite a few cranberries, or consume them in their more concentrated form as juice.

Cranberries are packed with Vitamin C, potassium and disease-fighting antioxidants. Cranberries have been shown to:

  • Prevent the development of kidney stones.
    Quinic acid, abundant in cranberries, may help prevent the development of kidney stones.
  • Protect against urinary tract infections.
    Proanthocyanidins – antioxidants – found in cranberries appear to block the adhesive strands of the E. coli bacteria from sticking to a surface thus inhibiting their ability to stick to the walls of the uterus and bladder.
  • Reduce dental plaque.
    It is believed that cranberry juice can control the overgrowth of bacteria that causes dental plaque.

Recipes for Fermented Cranberries

Fermented Cranberries Recipes for Year Round Enjoyment. | makesauerkraut.com

Cranberry-Orange Relish? Raw Cranberry-Apple Chutney? Pickled Cranberries?

Read through the recipes and choose one.

We’re all familiar with cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, and dried and sweetened cranberries but those sour red morsels can also be fermented.

When fermenting cranberries, if is fine to use them frozen. If fact, since I buy mine seasonally, it is the only way I use them. Watch for them to go on sale around Thanksgiving and Christmas and buy a few extra bags to have available when you want to try fermenting them.

In some of the recipes, I have you smash up the cranberries a bit to burst their skins. This can be done with a few quick pulses in a food processor or simply by mashing them with a potato masher. The skins don’t break easily, but as long as you get some of them cracked or popped, the fermentation process will proceed.

Cranberry-Orange Relish

My favorite recipe. Cranberry-Orange Relish is fermented in its own juices, much like sauerkraut. The ingredients are chopped with salt, sugar and seasonings and then mixed well. Using orange juice keeps the brine acidic to prevent spoilage before the lactic-acid bacteria establish a safe fermentation environment. Fermentation enhances the flavors and reduces the sugars.

I love to eat Cranberry-Orange Relish with a creamy cheese – goat cheese is a nice one – and crackers for a tantalizing and eye-catching appetizer. And of course, it’s always colorful and delicious alongside turkey. What follows is a simplified version of a recipe from my ebook: The SureFire Sauerkraut Recipe Collection.

Cranberry Orange Relish. | makesauerkraut.com

I first chop the candied ginger because it can take a bit or work to get it cut into small bits. All the rest of the ingredients – cranberries, pecans, dried cranberries, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, sugar, salt and orange – are then added.

Cranberry Orange Relish. | makesauerkraut.com

Don’t forget the orange zest! Pulse to desired consistency. Here I’ve coarsely chopped the ingredients. You can chop a bit more if you’re wanting a smoother consistency.

Cranberry Orange Relish. | makesauerkraut.com

The relish then gets packed into a pint jar. I often have some leftover that just gets put into whatever jar I can find. I don’t find it necessary to use a device to hold everything below the brine though I show here the use of the ViscoDisc which I am reviewing for a future post. I’ve noticed with many of my relishes and pastes that have higher levels of acidity and ferment for such a short period of time, that no mold grows on the surface. So if you don’t have a “weight” of some sort to hold everything below the brine, don’t worry.

Cranberry Orange Relish. | makesauerkraut.com

On the left is my jar of freshly prepared Cranberry-Orange Relish and on the right, what the jar looks like after 5 days of fermentation.

Learn to make Cranberry-Orange Relish. Delicious with cream cheese and crackers, and of course... turkey. Click To Tweet

Cranberry-Orange Relish Recipe

Cranberry-Orange Relish
 
I love to eat Cranberry-Orange Relish with a creamy cheese - goat cheese is a nice one - and crackers for a tantalizing and eye-catching appetizer. And of course, it's always colorful and delicious alongside turkey.
Created By:
Recipe Type: Fermented
You Will Need
  • Wide-mouth pint (500 ml) jar & lid
  • Optional weight and airlock device
  • ¼ cup candied ginger
  • 2 cups (7 ounces, 200 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup pecans, lightly toasted
  • 1 orange, zest of; then juiced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. CHOP. Use a food processor to first coarsely chop the candied ginger.
  2. ADD remaining ingredients and pulse until medium consistency.
  3. PACK the cranberry mixture into a wide-mouth pint (500 ml) jar, pressing relish mixture down tightly with a large spoon or tapping the jar on the counter to jostle mixture down.
  4. Leave 1 inch of head space between the top of the cranberry relish and the top of the jar.
  5. SUBMERGE. If using an optional weight, add it now. I have fermented this relish successfully both with and without weight and airlock. It's a thick paste without much brine to sit below.
  6. Firmly screw on lid with or without airlock. Write the date and recipe name on the lid.
  7. FERMENT. Place in a shallow bowl on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight to ferment for 5-7 days.
  8. As it ferments the color deepens to a dark red. You may see air pockets develop as CO2 gasses are created. No need to worry. Just leave it be.
  9. STORE. When taste is to your liking, add the fermentation length to your label and place in your refrigerator where it can last for up to 6 months.
  10. ENJOY. Cranberry-Orange Relish may eaten alongside poultry. I especially love it with a creamy cheese - goat cheese - and crackers.

Raw Cranberry-Apple Chutney

This Raw Cranberry-Apple Chutney recipe does not call for a lot cranberries, but it still makes a festive, probiotic-rich apple salad.

This recipe comes from KrautSource, the company that makes a pretty cool water-sealed fermentation lid for wide-mouth mason jars. In a future post, I will review their product, but for now you’ll see it in action in this recipe.

Since the ingredients in this recipe don’t create their own brine, a brine is instead mixed and then poured over the mixture and left to ferment much like is done when fermenting carrots or cucumbers for pickles.

Cranberry Apple Chutney. | makesauerkraut.com

I first gather and chop ingredients – apple, red onion, cranberries, ginger, cinnamon, star anise – and then place them in a small bowl for mixing.

Cranberry Apple Chutney. | makesauerkraut.com

Ingredients are well mixed and packed into a pint (500 ml) jar. A brine is mixed and poured in to cover the mixture.

Cranberry Apple Chutney. | makesauerkraut.com

Then everything is held below the brine with your choice of weight and lid. Here I use my KrautSource fermentation lid.

Cranberry Apple Chutney. | makesauerkraut.com

On the left is my jar of freshly prepared Raw Cranberry-Apple Chutney and on the right, what the jar looks like after 5 days of fermentation.

Try this quick and easy fermentation recipe: Raw Cranberry-Apple Chutney. Makes a festive salad. Click To Tweet

Raw Cranberry-Apple Chutney Recipe

Raw Cranberry-Apple Chutney
 
The goodness of raw cranberries, apples, onions and spices enhanced with live cultures that are created during fermentation.
Created By:
Recipe Type: Fermented
You Will Need
  • Wide-mouth pint (500 ml) jar & lid
  • Optional weight and airlock device
  • ⅓ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 small green apples, cut into small cubes
  • ⅓ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 star anise pod (or ¼ teaspoon anise seeds)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • BRINE: 1 tablespoon salt dissolved in 2 cups water
Directions
  1. CHOP apples and dice onion.
  2. MIX. Place all ingredients (except brine) in a bowl and mix well.
  3. PACK the mixed ingredients into a wide-mouth pint (500 ml) jar, to about ½ inch below the threads.
  4. Gently press the mixture down to compress it.
  5. BRINE. Pour the brine over the mixture covering the mixture by one inch.
  6. SUBMERGE. Insert your weight and screw airlock lid on. Using painter's tape, write the date and recipe name on the lid.
  7. FERMENT. Place in a shallow bowl on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight to ferment for 5-7 days.
  8. As it ferments the color dulls. You'll see bubbles rising to the surface during the first few days.
  9. STORE. When taste is to your liking, add the fermentation length to your label and place in your refrigerator where it can last for up to 6 months.
  10. ENJOY. Cranberry-Apple Chutney makes for a great winter salad. It may also be served alongside poultry.

Pickled Cranberries

OMG! I made the pickled cranberries for our thanksgiving bash and they were a raging success! I had only put out a small dish with the cheese plate appetizers thinking it would be too adventurous for most people but I had to keep refilling it over and over as people kept finding me and asking for more. Then I had to put out a large dish with the main meal, too! Delicious!
Bruce
Bruce

Pickled Cranberries. | makesauerkraut.com

You’ll want to first pop open some of your cranberries to help along the fermentation process. Place them in a large bowl and gently smash with a potato masher or kraut pounder. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pickled Cranberries. | makesauerkraut.com

Pack the cranberries into a quart jar pouring in any leftover juice. Gently press the cranberries down to compact them.

Pickled Cranberries. | makesauerkraut.com

Cranberries are especially floaty – remember those air pockets – so you’ll want some way to hold them below the brine. A cabbage leaf or piece of folded parchment paper can be used to first trap the cranberries and then a small jar, shot glass or clean rock put on top of that. More ideas here.

Pickled Cranberries. | makesauerkraut.com

The cranberries were rather quiet for the first two days, then when I came downstairs on the morning of day 3, I was greeted by this. Thank goodness I had my jar sitting in a shallow bowl. Everything went into the sink where I popped off the airlock and cleaned things up a bit before repacking the jar so I could continue to let it ferment.

Pickled Cranberries. | makesauerkraut.com

On the left is my jar of freshly prepared Pickled Cranberries and on the right, what the jar looks like after 5 days of fermentation. As you can see the fermented cranberries are a darker color. You can also see the airlock full of the beautiful rose-colored brine.

Pickled Cranberries Recipe

Pickled Cranberies
 
A novel way to use cranberries. Plus they're fun to eat. Pop them in your mouth like candy for a burst of sour fizziness.
Created By:
Recipe Type: Fermented
You Will Need
  • Wide-mouth quart (liter) jar & lid
  • Weight and airlock device
  • 16 ounces (500 grams) of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 orange zest of; then juiced
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3-5 slices of candied ginger, slivered
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • BRINE: 1 tablespoon salt dissolved in 2 cups water
Directions
  1. POP BERRIES. Place cranberries in mixing bowl and use a potato masher or kraut pounder to smash the cranberries a bit to burst their skins.
  2. MIX. Add remaining ingredients (except brine) to your bowl and mix well.
  3. PACK the mixed ingredients into a wide-mouth quart (liter) jar, to about ½ inch below the threads.
  4. Gently press the mixture down to compress them.
  5. BRINE. Pour the brine over the mixture covering the mixture by one inch.
  6. SUBMERGE. Place your weight and airlock lid on.
  7. FERMENT. Place in a shallow bowl on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight to ferment for 7-21 days.
  8. As it ferments the color dulls. You see bubbles rising to the surface during the first few days.
  9. STORE. When taste is to your liking, add the fermentation length to your label and place in your refrigerator where it can last for up to 6 months. The tart flavor will have mellowed and they are pleasantly fizzy.
  10. ENJOY. Serving these at a get together are a fun way to Wow! your guests. For a gorgeous presentation, place in a decorative bowl, then drizzle with a bit of maple syrup or honey. Include some toothpicks for guests to piece one with and then pop into their mouth.

Which recipe for fermented cranberries will you try?

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  • Did the cranberries all have overflow or only with the Pickle*Pusher???

    • I had packed the jar too full with the Pickled Cranberries. When they expanded and got humming along fermentation wise, the only place for the brine action to go was out the airlock. The Pickle Pusher worked fine to hold all the cranberries below the brine. Next time, I would pack less into the jar.

      • Yes maam, softer bodied veggies and fruits are very hard to control the overflow unlike kraut in a tightly packed jar. CO2 bullys the brine and refuses to migrate to the top. This makes the level rise in a ferment like this and in kraut, the tuffer cabbage will not “give” and the CO2 gives up trying to displace the cabbage and goes to the top instead of staying in the jar and causing volume increase. I sure love your posts! The pics are first quality and sooooo…… sexy 😉

        • Good points. Always so much to learn. Thank YOU!

  • Jeannette

    I would like to make the crandberry-orange relish for gifts and thought of canning for the ease of gift giving, versus having to keep jars refrigerated (I realize canning will kill some of the beneficial bacteria, please don’t slap my hand!). My thoughts are to can after fermentation. How long would you recommend for a water bath?

    • Hello Jeannette, I wish I could advise you on how long to do a water bath but I have no experience to base a recommendation on. You would have to look at times for similar products. Best of luck and so good to hear you are sharing the goodness.

  • Bruce Peters

    OMG! I made the pickled cranberries for our thanksgiving bash and they were a raging success! I had only put out a small dish with the cheese plate appetizers thinking it would be too adventurous for most people but I had to keep refilling it over and over as people kept finding me and asking for more. Then I had to put out a large dish with the main meal, too! Delicious!

    The relish went over ok, too. Many found the pecan to be a bit strong and it’s just a little less fun to eat as compared to popping, fizzy berries. 🙂

    • Your comment has Made My Day! You motivated me to pull my jar out and enjoy the pop and fizz as I was making dinner. Are you OK with me putting your comment at the beginning of the Pickled Cranberries recipe?

      • Bruce Peters

        Of course! Glad I could help! BTW, I just made another jar of these…this is going to be a long 3 weeks! 😉

        • Thank you. Patience! But, no one would know if your snitched some out early. 🙂