This year I wanted to the Christmas Cranberry Sauce with a probiotic boost. I have come across several posts on fermented cranberry sauce in fermentation groups on Facebook, most being based on honey.
The process is fairly simple – puncture fresh cranberries with a fork to allow honey to permeate. Place the cranberries in a mason jar, along with your favourite holiday spices (cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, star anise, orange peel, lemon peel, etc.), raw honey, and optionally, dried fruit, fruit juice, and a starter such as whey. In my ferment I did not use whey, only raw honey.
If you intend to have a relish end product, you could run the cranberries through a food processor right from the start, and save yourself the hassle of the laborious task of individually puncturing the berries. I prefer to keep them intact, so I can have flexibility on their use at the end of fermentation.
This ferment was crazily active, and the bubbles went on for a week?! You can see a video on my instagram post. As of this post, it has been sitting at room temperature for slightly longer than 2 weeks (18 days to be exact). The bubbles have subsided, and the alcohol is pronounced. It’s gone into the mead zone; you feel the warmth spread throughout your body, fired along by the warming spices. It is so good! The cranberries are also a joy to eat, not unlike the Fizz Wizz popping candy but of course it’s all natural with the benefits of live probiotics. I intended to prepare a cranberry sauce, but at the rate of drinking the mead and berries straight, I’ll probably have to do a second batch!
At this point of writing, I have inoculated a small amount of durian puree (D24) with 20% of cranberry mead as an experiment. The most well known durian ferment is Tempoyak, which is durian and salt. Durian mead paste will be salt free yet low in sugar. Day 3 and it’s giving off lots of carbon dioxide.
Cranberry Honey Ferment (Mead, Sauce)
Cranberries fermented in honey. Enjoy its probiotic pizzaz as a fizzy mead or blend it down to a cranberry sauce your for Holiday feasts!
- 227 g (8 oz) fresh cranberries, preferably organic
- 80 g (1/4 cup) raw honey
- 60 g (1/4 cup) freshly pressed fruit juice (e.g. apple, grape, pomegranate) (I used grape juice)
- 1/2 no orange, juice and zest
- 1/2 no lemon, juice and zest
- 40 g (1/4 cup) dried fruit (e.g. raisins, sultanas, tart cherries) (I used 20 g raisins and 20 g goji berries)
- 1 tsp mix spice (e.g. cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves) (you can use whole spices if preferred)
Wash and drain the cranberries. Use a fork to puncture each berry 4-5 times. This is to allow the honey to penetrate the tough skin, enabling fermentation to happen more swiftly.
Alternatively, if you intend to have a relish end product, you could run the berries through a food processor. I prefer to keep them intact, so I can have flexibility on their use at the end of fermentation.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the prepared cranberries and remaining ingredients. Stir well until evenly distributed and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the honey to liquify.
Transfer the mixture tightly into a sterilised quart-size mason jar, leaving at least 5 cm (2 inch) headspace. Use a glass weight to keep the cranberries submerged below the liquid. You can secure an airlock on this ferment, or be prepared to “burp” the jar every day for the first few days to release the CO2 that builds up as a result of fermentation.
Leave the jar to ferment in a cool, dark place for at least 7 days, up to several months if desired. The honey grows redder, more runny, and acidic, as time and bacteria do their work. When you are satisfied with your cranberry ferment, store the jar in the refrigerator.
You can drink the cranberry mead straight or prepare a sauce.
To prepare a cranberry sauce, strain out the solids from the honey and place in a blender. Gradually add the honey and pulse until the sauce reaches your desired consistency and texture.