Cranberry molasses! Is this a great idea, or what? I absolutely love pomegranate molasses and use it all the time. Mostly drizzled on salads. So vibrant, so tangy! When I saw this recipe in Sherri Brooks Vinton's newest canning book, Put 'em Up! Fruit, I knew I had to try it. Especially since I had some cranberries languishing in the freezer. And it's a little more local than pomegranates for us easterners.
If you are a canner, you've probably read Brooks Vinton's first book, Put 'em Up, which was structured by the fruit or vegetable to preserve. This book moves in a similar way, but focuses on fruit, and for each recipe of a preserve there is a companion recipe to "Use It Up!" There's a chunk of preserving information in the beginning of the book, and then the fruits start alphabetically, with apples, of course, and everything has a color-coded tab at the top of the page, so you can quickly thumb to a section. The book is colorful and easy to dive into, with beautiful pictures by Hudson Valley photographer, Jennifer May.
It's very obvious that Brooks Vinton has been at this for a while, and her enthusiasm for local produce and making eating well accessible to everyone is immediately evident. She's bubbly about cool things like gastriques and making cider vinegar, but still includes stalwart recipes for applesauce and classic jams. This book truly is for beginners and pros alike.
The cranberry molasses that I tried from the book is so simple! Next time I would probably try lowering the sugar because that's my thing these days, and it might help the ability to cook it longer without it jelling. The only thing I'll take Brooks Vinton to task for is not giving you an idea for the left over cranberry pulp. The book is chock full of little tips like this, so I'll let it pass! I used a cup in some muffins, and I put the rest in a smoothie. I hope to try the molasses with the companion Use It Up! recipe: duck confit salad with cranberry molasses. Could that sound ANY better? No, it can't!
adapted from Put 'em Up Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton
Yield: 2 cups
4 cups of water
1/2 pound of cranberries
2 cups dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
Bring the water and cranberries to a boil, and let them simmer for about 15 minutes, letting the berries pop and soften. Strain the juice through a fine sieve to get all that gelatinous pulp and seeds out. The juice is brilliant red!
Bring the juice (it will be about 2 cups worth) and sugar to a boil in your jam pan. Let it simmer until it coats the back of the spoon. Brooks Vinton recommends 10 to 15 minutes, but I went longer, about 30 neglecting to notice the comment: "the molasses will thicken as it cools." Mine was thick and lovely, but did jell slightly upon cooling. It is so soft though, that a few stirs with a fork turns it back into syrup. You can process this in a boiling water bath for ten minutes, or stash in the fridge for up to three weeks.
Please visit the book's webpage where you'll find a trailer, and videos to some of the recipes in the book. There are other chances to win a copy of the book! Some are over already, but some haven't even started yet. Check out this list of folks on the book blog tour:
April 8: Food In Jars
April 9: Punk Domestics
April 10: Autumn Makes & Does
April 11: Local Kitchen
April 12: Mission: Food
April 16: Tigress in a Jam
April 17: Daily Dish Recipes
April 18: Shockingly Delicious
April 19: The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
April 22: From Scratch Club
Congratulations to the winner: Deborah Rosen. Many thanks to all who entered! There's still time to win at The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking and From Scratch Club!
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of Put ‘em Up! Fruit free for the purposes of review and participation in the blog tour. One copy will be provided to the giveaway winner, courtesy of Storey Publishing. I received no monetary compensation and all opinions are my own.