Cranberry Sauce with Rosemary & Juniper Berry

This is a beautiful sauce, a gorgeous cranberry color flecked with deep purple bits of juniper berry.  The juniper gives a hint of piney bite to the sauce while the rosemary adds a mellow, savory note.  And I got to use the oh-so-cute, short & squat Ball Elite jars that I found up in Maine (they are impossible to find near me).  

The recipe is an amalgamation of several cranberry sauce recipes I’ve tried in the last couple of years, but was mainly inspired by this post over at Small Measure. I was intrigued by the notion of savory herb and sharp juniper in a cranberry sauce; since I did not win the giveaway, I decided I would just have to make some for myself! The sauce is entirely local, with the exception of the juniper berries (which I ordered from Penzey’s), and sweetened with honey instead of sugar.  Sadly, I ran out of rosemary (from my last remaining summer plant); I think the sauce could have used a bit more, but it is still pretty darn tasty.  Try it yourself and see!

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Cranberry Sauce with Rosemary & Juniper Berry

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 cups organic cranberries (fresh or frozen), divided
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup white wine (I used sweet white dessert wine, but a dry Riesling or Pinot Grigio would work well)
  • 1- 3 tbsp dried juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 2 – 3 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup local honey
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

METHODS

  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. Add 10 cups of cranberries, apple cider, wine, juniper berries, and rosemary to a large stockpot.  Bring to a boil, covered, over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until most cranberries are popped and the sauce thickens, about 10 – 15 minutes.
  3. Add about half of the honey and the salt; stir and taste.  If the sauce needs further sweetening, add the remaining honey.  Add additonal juniper and/or rosemary if necessary.  Simmer until sauce has reached the desired consistency, remembering that it will thicken upon cooling (I simmered for about 15 minutes longer). 
  4. Add remaining 2 cups of cranberries.  Raise heat to medium and bring to a boil; simmer for 5 minutes or until cranberries are heated through.  Fill hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace, remove air bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Yields 5 to 6 pints.

OPTIONS

  1. I used about 1 and 1/2 tbsp of fresh rosemary (all I could harvest from my lone remaining rosemary plant) but the sauce could have used more; the rosemary flavor didn’t really come through over the juniper berries and cranberries.  Start with 2 tbsp chopped and add more to your taste.
  2. This was my first attempt at cooking with juniper berries; once again, I lept before looking. I guess I should have lightly crushed the dried berries before using – therefore, you should probably definitely lightly crush them; start with 1 tbsp of crushed berries and go from there.  Update: I has some of the sauce last night with turkey, and while delicious, a full-on juniper berry is a tad overwhelming on the palate. Crush with a mortar & pestle, the back of a spoon, the bottom of a wine bottle, or a meat tenderizer.
  3. Orange and cranberry are tastes that go very well together; I was trying to keep this sauce more local, so used local apple cider, but the sauce would also be great with half cider/half orange juice.  Some fresh orange zest is also a nice addition.
  4. You can omit the wine, and replace with juice, but it gives a nice zing to the flavor and most of the alcohol cooks off.

STORE

Canned, in a cool, dark spot for up to one year.  Refrigerated, use within about a week.

SEASON

Fall through winter.

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7 comments

  1. arugulove

    Wow, this looks really good. I love finding new and interesting cranberry combinations. And I’m very jealous of your ability to get local cranberries!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I’m always looking for a good cranberry recipe. Most of the time I stick with the organic chutney… but I’ll definitely be giving this one a try. Now I just need to track down some of those amazing mini mason jars you have.

  3. You know you are onto a good thing when every time you go off searching for recipes you end up back in the same place…..lol.

    I adore my Elite Ball jars. Finally bought some half-pints this year for bigger amounts but the same fancy look. Target carries both year round near me (which is some smart marketing at $4ish for four jars) and rarely runs out.

    Now to get my hands on some juniper berries.

  4. Ann

    This is absolutely brilliant stuff! I just made it today using lingonberries and fresh juniper berries that I chopped small. I also substituted orange juice for half of the apple juice, and added oranges zest. Good enough to eat straight out of the pot with a spoon. Thanks for an excellent recipe.

  5. You may want to consider a spice infuser for the juniper berries …. just remove before serving then you don’t get overwhelmed by the juniper… going to try this out though… I have tonnes of fresh rosemary and just happened to buy some juniper berries…. :)

  6. Pingback: Unconventional Cranberry Sauce Recipes

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