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Cranberry Pineapple Mango Preserves

Posted Nov 29 2012 3:01am

I love jelly, jam, sauces, chutney, compote, dips, dressing, spreads, frosting, and preserves. Anything that can be slathered onto something else, I want it. And I’ll take extra.

I enjoy dips and condiments so much that I need to remind myself to have a little food with my sauce.

It’s a bit of a gray area where cranberry sauce stops and preserves begin. Probably near the intersection of chutney and compote, which is equally blurred nomenclature. Titles aside, I think of traditional cranberry sauce as very one-dimensional. Soft berries with no other flavors present, and unfortunately this type of sauce tends to either be ridiculously under-sweetned and I can’t wipe the pucker off my fast enough or it’s very sweet. However, I don’t deem the sweet side of the spectrum to be a true problem.

The texture issue is also an interesting one, usually ranging from a soupy mess to a gelatinous blob. Because of those pitfalls, I never buy pre-made cranberry sauce. And it’s so easy to make anyway: water, sugar, berries, boil.

For this twist on cranberry sauce, along with cranberries, I added pineapple and mango . Citrus tends to complement the tartness of the berries and mango anything is a welcome addition. From a texture perspective, although the cranberries cook down and soften, the addition of the more resilient pineapple and mango help the preserves to stay chunky.

I used frozen chunks of both pineapple and mango and added them without first thawing the, a strategy that helped them retain texture while simmering. Although you could use fresh fruit, in a recipe as this where the fruit is cooked fairly extensively, I save my fresh delicacies for eating out of hand and cook with frozen. Canned pineapple instead of frozen can be used, or swap canned peaches or apricots for the frozen mango, noting that canned fruit is softer to begin with so the finished preserves may have a bit less texture. Mix and match based on what you have and enjoy and I always have plenty of Trader Joe’s frozen pineapple and mango chunks around.

To make the preserves, combine the sugars with water, heating the mixture to dissolve the sugars. I used a bit of brown sugar in addition to granulated sugar because it provides a richer flavor. It caramelizes while simmering and the resulting preserves have greater flavor depth.

Add the cranberries, pineapple, mango, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Because cranberries are so bold, the spices used should be added in ample quantity to stand up to to little red sour bombs. I used decent amounts of both cinnamon and ginger, but quantities are highly dependent on personal taste. In the past I’ve made batches of cranberry preserves and chutneys and have added so much cinnamon and ginger that it’s literally spicy, but that’s not the case here. Feel free to add anything from pumpkin pie spice to cardamom to a splash of vanilla extract, rum, or bourbon.

Allow the mixture to boil at a fairly rapidly for about five minutes. The cranberries will sputter and pop and juices from the fruits will release. The overall volume of the mixture will increase and it may foam a bit. Because of this, use a kettle or sauce pan that’s a bit larger than what you’d think you’d need, taking into account the releasing juices and bubbling cauldron.

After about five minutes, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, and allow the preserves to thicken and reduce by about half, which will take about 30 minutes. During that time, stirring a few times is all that’s necessary, and you can kind of just forget about it. After the mixture has thickened to your liking, pour it into heat-safe vessels, such as canning jars, a glass measuring cup, or ceramic bowl. The preserves will thicken up considerably as it cools as well as in subsequent days in the refrigerator, so don’t over-reduce it; I wouldn’t go past about 45 minutes.

At this point, you could actually can the preserves using standard canning protocol; sterile jars, a water bath, and process for about ten minutes, but I don’t bother. The batch size is hardly worth canning, yielding just a couple small jars, and I’m too busy to be bothered. I simply put lids on the jars and refrigerate them and consume the preserves within a month.

Scott likes the preserves spread on Honey Dinner Rolls , toast, and crackers. He proclaimed them to be ‘the best cranberries he’s ever had’ and he’s not a cranberry guy.

Sweet and firm mango and pineapple, combined with the tart cranberries, and the warmly spiced punch from the cinnamon and ginger, have me eating this by the spoonful straight from the jar. I stand in front of the refrigerator with a spoon and can go to town. I need to remind myself to have a little food with my sauces and preserves.

Cranberry Pineapple Mango Preserves with Cinnamon and Ginger (vegan, gluten-free)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: About 12 ounces, two medium-sized jars

Much more flavorful than traditional cranberry sauce from the addition of pineapple, mango, cinnamon, and ginger, which sweetly spice and enhance fresh cranberries. The preserves are full of chunky texture from the variety of fruits used, and can be made in just over a half hour. The preserves make a nice gift that will keep refrigerated for about one month.

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark), packed

12 ounce bag fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)

1 cup pineapple, diced (I use frozen)

1 cup mango, diced large (I use frozen)

1 teaspoon+ cinnamon

3/4+ teaspoon+ ground ginger

optional spices and flavorings, to taste (allspice, ground cloves, cardamom, pumpkin pie spice; splash of vanilla extract, rum, bourbon, etc.)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine water and sugars, and heat over medium-high heat to dissolve sugar, stirring until it's dissolved. Add the cranberries, pineapple, mango (if using frozen fruit, no need to unthaw it first, just add in the frozen pieces as is), cinnamon, ginger, optional spices and flavorings, and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and allow it to boil steadily for about five minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure fruit is not sticking to the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow mixture to thicken and reduce by almost half; this will likely take about 30 minutes, depending on strength of the boil, juiciness level of the fruit, and preferred thickness for preserves. Preserves will thicken up dramatically as they cool, as well as over time in the refrigerator, so don't over reduce and I wouldn't go past about 45 minutes.

Pour preserves into a heat-safe vessel such as glass jars, glass measuring cup, or a ceramic bowl. Covered preserves will keep in the refrigerator for about one month; however, because it was not canned, use common sense with regard to shelf life. Canning the preserves using standard canning protocols, with sterile jars, a water bath, and processing for about ten minutes could be done, but I don’t bother because the small batch size is hardly worth canning.

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Related Recipes:

Cranberry & Orange Ginger Mango Chutney (vegan, GF) – Similar to today’s recipe but an orange is used instead of pineapple and it’s not simmered quite as long. It reminds me of a cross between Trader Joe’s mango chutney and traditional cranberry sauce

Hot Pepper Jelly (vegan, GF) – I love Trader Joe’s hot pepper jelly so much, but it’s a seasonal item. Last year when they stopped carrying it after the holidays, I went into such withdrawals that I came up with my own version and taught myself how to can in the process

Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly (vegan, GF) – Another version of hot pepper jelly, but rather than actually canning the jelly after it’s reduced, it’s just poured into jars and capped, eliminating the canning step, making this fast and easy. The hot pepper jelly parallel to cranberry preserves

Dark Rum Caramel Sauce – An easy sauce to make with step-by-step photos, rum optional but it sure makes things more fun. Caramel sauce keeps for months in the refrigerator and makes nice gifts

Balsamic Reduction with Roasted Grapes – I adore this versatile sauce and use it over salads, grapes, greens, tofu, or just about anything. It can be made for mere nickles in about ten minutes

Cranberry Bliss Bars {Starbucks Copycat recipe} – One of the best desserts I’ve made in ages, with a white chocolate and cranberry blondie base, topped with white chocolate-infused cream cheese frosting, more cranberries and a white chocolate drizzle. It’s a good thing the batch size only yields eight wedges because they’re dangerously good and a dead ringer for the Starbucks version

Do you like cranberries? Sauce, dips, or condiments fan?

Have you ever made your own jam, jelly, preserves or similar?

If you have any favorite recipes, feel free to share.

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