Monday, December 3, 2012

Bourbon Pickled Cranberries

cranberry picklemania.
Spiced Bourbon Pickled Cranberries
Fresh cranberries and pickling spices: cinnamon, whole cloves, and black peppercorns.
It has been said before but bears repeating; I am a firm believer that almost any fruit or vegetable can be improved by pickling. I am also a firm believer than almost any dish can be improved by adding a wee bit of Bourbon. These pickled cranberries certainly prove both statements true. Fresh spiced cranberry sauce is a regular on my Thanksgiving table and I  always add a dash of  bourbon to top it off. Using the same flavor profiles, with the addition of cider vinegar, I whipped up this brining recipe. Boozy pickled cranberries! The first jar has only just been cracked open, but already my mind is spinning with the possibilities. While drinking a tonic spiked with pickled cranberries for breakfast this morning images of beautiful cranberry-topped cocktails were dancing through my head. I can also envision these as a great addition to a winter salad, an accompaniment to a holiday appetizer spread, even tossed into a batch of hot mulled cider.  I'll be stocking up on fresh cranberries before they disappear for the season and canning up a bunch of these for holiday gifts. 
Prepared canning jars and brined pickled cranberries, ready to pack. 
Spiced Bourbon Pickled Cranberries Recipe
(Yields 4 pints or 2 quart jars)

2 12oz bags of fresh cranberries
2 1/2c apple cider vinegar
2c organic vegan sugar
1/4c Bourbon/ Whiskey 
1/2tsp whole cloves
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
2-4 whole cinnamon sticks (1 per jar)

*One note for this recipe: save your leftover pickling liquid! It can be used to poach other fruits,
like pears or apples, or used to make a batch of refrigerator pickles.

Sterilize your canning jars and in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 
Prepare your lids and bands in a small saucepan of simmering water.  

If you are new to canning, here is a helpful page on preparing your jars:

In a medium saucepan combine vinegar, sugar and bourbon. 
Bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat.
Stir until all sugar is dissolved.
Add cloves and peppercorns to brine.
Add cranberries, stirring to combine and cook for 5 minutes, 
returning to a boil and stirring frequently. 
When cranberries begin to pop, remove from heat.

Pickled cranberries; packed, brined, and ready for their lids.

Once the sterilized jars are removed from the water bath, add 1 cinnamon stick to each.
Ladle pickled cranberries into prepared jars with a slotted spoon.
Pour remaining brine over the top of packed cranberries, 
leaving 1/2 inch of headspace in each jar.
Wipe the rims of your jars with a clean, damp cloth; then apply your lids and bands.
Place in boiling water bath, making sure jars are covered with at least 1 inch of water. 
Process for 10 minutes.

Remove jars from water bath once the processing time is up.
Place on a cooling rack or other heat surface.
Allow to cool for 24 hours.
Remove bands and check seals. Place any unsealed jars in the fridge.

Now you can eat 'em up!
Spiced bourbon pickled cranberries in tonic. Pretty close to perfect.


  1. This looks heavenly! I have never canned anything because it intimidates me! I really want to try this though (and also pickle some apples afterwards, per the inspiration on your Instagram feed!) and if/when I do, I'll share my results. Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe :D

    1. Thank you so much, Laura! You are the very first commenter on my (relatively) new blog, welcome! I know canning can seem a bit intimidating, I was terrified when I first started doing it, but once you figure out the technicals, banging out a few jars of small batch preserves here and there will be a breeze! You could also skip the canning process all together and make these as refrigerator pickled cranberries. Just follow the instructions and instead of canning in a water bath, cap your jars and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours or so to let the flavors settle. They should keep for at least a month in the fridge. Please do let me know if you try the recipe, I'd love to hear/see how they turn out!

  2. Thank you so much for your quick and friendly response! Yes, I might start off with the refrigerator version, per your suggestion, but I definitely see myself making these within the week :) Your blog is beautiful and thoughtfully composed. I wish you the best of luck with it! You already have one follower ;))