Cranberries are pretty darn adorable. Let me fill you in. They make a cute little popping sound when you cook them, kind of like a lobster scream but less traumatic. They grow in bogs (!). If you’re lucky enough to buy them from a greenmarket, they’ll probably be in a big box or barrel that you can stick your hand in like Amelie and wiggle around your fingers. And they’re sort of like snowflakes; the heirloom cranberries that I got last weekend at the New Amsterdam Market were all blushed red a little differently.
Why did I take such a nice little thing and make it into something weird like cranberry ketchup, you ask? As my official taster so succinctly put it, It tastes like ketchup. All the ketchup-y elements are there: the onions, the spice, the sugar and vinegar. The cranberries give it a little tang (Ball suggests using it like steak sauce) and I couldn’t help but think that this would make a perfect edible holiday gift.
Adapted from the The Ball Complete Book of Home Canning and Preserving. Here’s the original recipe. Make your own adjustments from it to ensure safety. Below is what I did. Consider yourself warned: with the full amount of cayenne, this is quite a bit spicier than your friendly neighborhood ketchup.
4 cups (about 1 lb) fresh cranberries
1/2 cup white onions, chopped
1 1/2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup water
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup + 1 t vinegar
1/4 t dry ground ginger
1/2 t salt
1/4 t allspice
1/8-1/4 t cayenne pepper
1. Combine the cranberries, water, onion, and garlic in a stainless pot over high heat.
2. When the mixture is boiling and the cranberries begin to pop, reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and carefully puree the mixture until smooth.
4. Return to med-high heat and add the remaining ingredients. When mixture boils, reduce the heat and simmer until it reaches the consistency of commercial ketchup (20-30 minutes).
5. Prepare jars and lids and process in a water-bath canner according to the directions here.
Makes four 4 oz jelly jars plus a little extra for the fridge.