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Candied Cranberries Tested Recipe

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Candied Cranberries Recipe

The cranberry, along with the Concord grape and blueberry, are native to America. This small, hard, smooth-skinned, shiny red, round to oval-shaped wild berry also goes by the names craneberry, bounceberry, bearberry, cowberry, or lingonberry. Cranberries are harvested in the fall from Labor Day (early September) through late October. They can be found in the produce section of grocery stores from October through December. Look for berries that are firm, plump, shiny, and evenly colored (light to dark red). Avoid soft, discolored (white or green ones are under ripe) or shriveled cranberries. Remove stems and wash just before using.

The tartness of the cranberry make it one of the few berries that is never eaten raw. Sugar is needed to temper its tangy, or should I say sour, flavor. One excellent way to use cranberries is to candy them. Actually, candying cranberries is very similar to the way you candy the rind of an orange or lemon; where you first simmer the berries in a sugar syrup and then leave them to macerate for a few days. This process of soaking them in a sugar syrup produces a cranberry which is tender and sweet yet, at the same time, retains a hint of tartness. Now, you can use these candied cranberries, along with their syrup, as a dessert topping over cakes and ice cream. Or, if the syrup is drained from the berries, you can add them to fillings of cakes (Cranberry Christmas Cake) and pies. And make sure you do not throw away any leftover syrup from the drained berries, for you can add liqueur to it, and it can be brushed on sponge cakes or added to frostings for both flavor and color.

Candied Cranberries: Pick over the cranberries and remove any berries that are soft or rotten and then place 2 cups of cranberries into a 6-8 cup stainless steel (or other heatproof) bowl. The cranberries are going to be 'steamed' so you will need a steamer or pot that is large enough to hold the bowl of cranberries. Fill the large pot or steamer with a few inches (5 cm) of water and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling syrup over the cranberries and cover the bowl with a plate. (You need to 'weigh' the bowl down so it will not move around once it is in the pot with the water.)

Set the covered bowl of cranberries into the pot or steamer.  Cover the pot and steam the berries over low to medium heat for about 45 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the berries sit in the syrup for 3 to 4 days at room temperature. The syrup will become a little jellied. If using right away, drain the berries before using, keeping the syrup for some other use. If storing, place the covered berries, still in their syrup, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of candied cranberries.

Adapted from Cocolat by Alice Medrich

Candied Cranberries:

2 cups fresh cranberries, washed

1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar

3/4 cup (180 ml) water


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