Marinated Fresh Cranberries
My dear friend Margie Schroeder of Lake Oswego, Oregon, introduced me to this very unique and fresh cranberry recipe. I thought I had seen everything cranberry until she sent me this curious gem. It is a no-cook recipe from Margie’s father- and mother-in-law, Ted and Maureen Schroeder, who live in Medford, Oregon. Every year they drive to Bandon, Oregon, to buy fresh cranberries. The Bandon area is a special place that is known for over 1600 acres of cranberry bogs. Many of these bogs are also family owned.
I was immediately intrigued by the Schroeder recipe. Zero cooking? All pulverized in a food processor along with a whole orange, peels and all? A splash of Wild Turkey? As luck would have it, Margie texted me one evening asking if I was home because she has a bag of fresh Bandon cranberries from her in-laws. What did I do to deserve this delicious fate?
There is something wonderful about local, fresh cranberries. Ted and Maureen buy these jewels for $6 a gallon and they are dark burgundy, glossy, tart, and squeaky firm. Unlike other parts of the country where cranberries are at their peak mid-October, Oregon cranberries are harvested November until mid-December. The timing of Oregon cranberries couldn’t be better as it falls directly over Thanksgiving through New Years Eve. Plenty of time for festive cranberries dishes!
The final product has a pleasant texture, pronounced fresh fruit flavor (since it’s never cooked), and an abundance of tart brightness. Marinated cranberries can be served just like cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving or during other special holidays. I also like to serve them on the side of everyday rich pork roasts, braised chicken thighs or as a luxurious spread for turkey sandwiches.
Marinated Fresh Cranberries
1 whole orange, scrubbed clean
1 quart fresh cranberries, washed
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
Few splashes Wild Turkey bourbon
Place cranberries into food processor. Process until fairly fine and there are no large chunks.
Cut the ends off of the orange. Cut orange into large chunks.
Place the orange chunks in the food processor, peels, seeds and all! Process until fairly fine and no large chunks remain.
Add 1/4 sugar and a few splashes of Wild Turkey. Process again to incorporate.
Taste and readjust sugar and bourbon if needed. Pack into a clean container (I prefer a glass Mason jar) and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour or preferably several days.
For canners, water bath can the final product in boiling water for 10 minutes. Half-pint jars would be a great gift idea. Finished product may be frozen in freezer-safe, plastic bags for up to six months.
Thank you, Margie, Ted, and Maureen Schroeder, for sharing this delicious and fresh recipe. Thank you too for the sending me Bandon cranberries to experiment with. You are so thoughtful and kind. Love, LaRae