Monday, November 26, 2012

Kitchen Magic: Cranberry Juice into Spiced Cranberry Syrup

Now that Turkey Day is over, I'm guessing that there is more than one household stuck with a jug of cranberry juice. We always get some of the all-juice, no sugar added variety at our local Wegman's since we nearly always have at least one guest over the weekend that prefers a natural non-alcohol beverage. Not being juice drinkers, (too many calories, too easy to swill down), usually most of the jug gets poured down the drain after opening and sitting in the fridge for a week with just one glass missing.

This year is different.  I really hate to waste food, but there is no way we were going to drink all that cranberry juice. That big container takes up a lot of room, and I actually thought about pouring it into smaller containers and freezing it. But that would take-up valuable real estate in my freezer. Since I always reduce chicken and beef stock to save can always add water back in... I figured I'd try it with the cranberry juice. Eureka! I just turned that giant into a little tyke. It's delicious, not terribly sweet, and could either be used as a glaze for poultry or roast squash, or sweetened up with a touch of your favorite sweetener, it'll make a great dessert sauce. I'm thinking of drizzling it over an apple cobbler...

I started to cook it down as is, but then decided it could use a little help from our good friends, those wonderful spices and seasonings we use to mull cider, wine, and poach pears--ginger, cloves, cinnamon and allspice. And a slice of lemon.

This smells great as it cooks, no better scent in your home
 than simmering spices!

There is no real recipe:

Pretty to look at and pretty to eat: Spiced Cranberry Syrup
Just put your half gallon or so of cranberry juice in a big, non-reactive pan and start boiling. Add a slice of lemon, a cinnamon stick, 2-3 whole cloves, and 3-4 allspice berries. Slice off 3-4 chunks of fresh ginger the size of quarters and toss those in too. Boil it until it's just syrupy. You'll be able to tell when it just lightly coats a spoon.  You'll have about 1-1/2 to 2 cups of spiced cranberry syrup when its done. Strain out the spices, lemon and ginger. Store in a covered jar, in the fridge.

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