As we welcome the winter months with the winter solstice, we are prepping to bid farewell to cranberry season. The little, red berry’s season begins in October, which is during the height of the ever-so-popular pumpkin spice season, so it’s quite often overshadowed by pumpkin bread and pumpkin spice lattes. We get it. When you can walk into a grocery store and buy pre-made pumpkin everything, a bag of fresh cranberries are the last thing you want to throw in your cart. But, we are determined to make cranberry season equally as exciting as pumpkin season, especially since cranberries one of the holiday season’s number one superfoods!
Besides being packed with loads of antioxidants, cranberries are magical for many reasons. For one, cranberries only grow in five states and in Canada, as they need 3 to 4 months of cold weather in order to enter a dormant phase. They are grown in bogs and need very special soil conditions! While cranberries are mostly enjoyed in the form of juice, sauce, smoothies, or in baked goods, they are extremely tasty when eaten raw. If you enjoy tart candy, try replacing your holiday sour candy with cranberries. And if you don’t enjoy the cranberry crunch, soak them in water and they will have the texture of a grape.
How we’re enjoying cranberries for the Winter Solstice.
This year, we decided to try our hand at making a cranberry margarita with organic cranberries from Ruesch Century Farm to celebrate the winter solstice. The winter solstice marks the longest night of the year, which means we begin our journey back to long days and short nights. The organic cranberries honor winter and the tequila pays homage to warm summer days.
What You Need:
2 1/2 c. organic cranberries (plus, a handful for cranberry ice cubes)
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
2 thin orange slices
In a medium sauce pan over low heat, combine 2 1/2 cups of finely chopped cranberries, 2 thin orange slices, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 20-25 minutes or until the cranberries are soft. You want to keep the mixture at a simmer, so you may want to adjust the heat accordingly.
Once the cranberries are soft, use a sieve to drain the cranberries. You will want to make sure to drain the cranberries over a bowl or an empty pot in order to catch the syrup. Mash the cranberries in the sieve to really squeeze out the juice. Store your cranberry syrup in your favorite jar and store in the fridge to chill. You will have plenty of cranberry syrup for multiple cocktails or other recipes!
What You Need:
1 1/2 oz. of tequila blanco (or mezcal if you want a warm, peppery taste)
1 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. organic cranberry syrup
1/2 oz. lime juice
Fresh rosemary for garnish
A few cranberries for ice cubes
If you want your ice to be as festive as your organic cranberry margarita, we recommend prepping your ice cubes in advance to give them time to freeze (5-6 hours). Making organic cranberry ice cubes is simple. Just put 4-5 cranberries in each square of the ice tray. Fill it with water and put in the freezer.
For your cocktail, place a cube of ice in your glass. Combine the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and cranberry syrup. With a spoon, swiftly stir the ingredients around the ice in order to chill and combine the liquid. Pour sparkling water to fill the glass (or to taste), mix one more time, and add fresh rosemary. You can adjust the measurements of the cocktail ingredients, depending on how sweet and/or strong you want your cocktail to be!
Cheers and happy holidays!