Friday, November 15, 2019

Cranberry Syrup Recipe - Fermented

Cranberry syrup is a beautiful and delicious seasonal addition to hard or soft mixed drinks (as well as salad dressings and pan juices.)

A Japanese friend taught me this simple technique for unripe ume (Prunus mume) - it yields ume juice or syrup, a delicacy in Japan. In my book Forage, Harvest, Feast you will see the method used for serviceberries (Amelanchier species) and black chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa). It takes time, but the flavor is refined and becomes complex with time, as it begins to ferment.

Cranberries ferment more slowly than many fruits as they have antimicrobial properties (and it is microbes that digest sugar and cause fermentation).

You can use any amount of fruit as long as the sugar is the same weight. Increase the quantities for larger festivities! Cranberries are quite dry compared with most fruits, so expect a modest but concentrated yield. After about a week you will have enough for your cocktails, but leave longer for full extraction.

Cold Extraction Cranberry Syrup
Yield: 1/3 cup syrup

Start one week before you need to mix some drinks:

6 ounces cranberries, crushed or chopped
6 ounces sugar

Place the crushed (or chopped) fruit in a clean jar. Add the sugar. Close the jar and shake well. Loosen the jar's lid. Leave at room temperature until the syrup is extracted.* This will begin after a few days.

Strain off the syrup as you need it, leaving the rest with the fruit in the jar. The syrup with fruit remains good for many months.

* Do not seal the jar tightly as some fermentation will create carbon dioxide, which needs to escape.

The leftover, sweet fruit can be your own, homemade craisins. Simply strain them from any remaining syrup, spread them out onto parchment and leave to dry. In low humidity they will dry over 4 - 7 days. You can also use the lowest setting on your oven: keep it on for 30 minutes, turn it off for an hour. On for 30 minutes, off for an hour. Repeat until they are chewy and craisin-ish.

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