For this week of blogging marathon, my theme is cooking with fruit and I chose to cook with berries; to be more precise, cranberries. When I saw the themes for this BM and was deciding on the themes, my first choice of fruit was mangoes. In fact that was what I had in mind when I signed up for this theme. I wanted to cook with raw mangoes, although we could cook with any form of mango; raw, ripe, puree & slices. But raw mangoes this time of the year are a bit sweet and I was not very sure if I wanted to cook with them. As I was thinking about other options, cranberries came to mind and berries were on the list of fruits to cook with. Cranberries it is, I decided, although I bought couple of raw mangoes as a backup, if the cranberry recipes were not up to the par, in terms of our taste.
Cranberries are red berries and taste sour. I never tasted raw cranberries until I started cooking for this theme. I have used dry cranberries in bakes but never fresh ones. I expected these berries to taste like ber (in Hindi) or renugaya (in Telugu), also known as Ziziphus mauritiana in English. But to my surprise, cranberries taste more like gooseberries, also known as amla in Hindi and usirikaya in Telugu. Fresh cranberries are usually available in Fall. Cranberries have many health benefits and cranberry juice is widely recommended for UTI.
My first recipe with this fruit is homemade cranberry juice. Store bought cranberry juices are loaded with sugars and this is a nice way to adjust the sugar and make it fresh. I do not know if the homemade juice has same nutritional value as the store bought ones, but it does tastes a lot better than the store bought juice. And I am sure it does retain some of the nutrients, despite cooking them. The recipe says the juice stays good in the fridge for 3-4 days. Preparation of the juice is very easy. All we need to do is bring the cranberries and water to boil and let it simmer for 25 minutes. We can as well forget about it as the berries mixture simmers. Addition of little lime juice and orange juice gives this juice a nice flavor and little sugar to reduce the tartness. I followed this recipe as give, except substituting agave nectar with sugar. Next time I would try agave nectar. Also, the recipe called for putting the simmer berries in food mill but I put it in a strainer and mashed it with a back of a spoon.
Source: Farm Girl Gourmet
Total Time: 40 minutes
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 3 cups
- 3 cups Fresh Cranberries
- 3 cups Water
- 3 tbsp. Lime Juice or juice of ½ lime (The recipe called for lemon but I used lime instead)
- 3 tbsp. Fresh Orange Juice
- 4 - 6 tbsp. Sugar
- Wash the berries and keep aside.
- In a pan take equal parts of water and cranberries and bring to a boil. This will take about 6 – 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat, cover and let it simmer for 25 minutes.
- Take lime juice and orange in a bowl, in which the mashed juice is going to be collected. Pass the mixture thru a food mill using a smallest plate or pass it thru a strainer, as I did. I do not have a food mill and passed it thru a strainer and mashed it a little using a back of a spoon. Do not mash it too much as the juice will become very thick. Discard the pulp or can use it in baking.
- Add sugar to the collected juice and mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
- Strain the juice again using a fine sieve.
- Let the juice cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- The juice was a little thick. Next time i would try 1 : 1 ¼ cranberries to water ration. it could be that my juice was thick because I might have mashed the cranberries a bit too much when I passed it thru the strainer the first. The thick juice did not bother us that much though.
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