The power of fresh fruit and raw honey takes on a magical form in these fermented cranberries in honey. This delicious ferment is a mixture of fruit, bacteria cultures, a clean glass jar, and time!
A project that's great for folks interested in getting into preserving food. It is two or three ingredients. These fermented honey cranberries will blow your traditional cranberry sauce right out of the water.
Cranberry sauce is not only a holiday stay stable but cranberries, in general, are a fruit I grew up eating in New England. While I've come to find out that much of the country's cranberry production is actually based in Wisconsin, my New Englander heard will always think the berries are grown in the cranberry bogs that Ocean Spray showed us as kids.
I came to enjoy fermented foods from my time traveling the country promoting and selling vinegar. While I'll leave any sort of health benefits to the experts understanding learning to ferment in order to preserve food has always interested me.
Why this Fermenting Cranberries Works
Fermenting cranberries is an easy way to learn how to ferment fruit and it comes together in just a few minutes.
There was not a lot of preparation beforehand, and you can customize it with other complementary flavors. Are you interested in making cranberry-kissed honey for your favorite holiday dishes? Well then, let's go!
How does Honey Fermentation work?
When raw honey and ingredients are combined, the liquid from the cranberries gets released into the honey, causing fermentation. This is due to living cultures in raw honey. It changes the texture and impacts the flavor of both elements. Gotta love science!
Once you've made those honey fermented cranberries, why not check out some other ferment recipes? Two savory and spice ferments to try to include fermented garlic honey and spicy jalapeno honey. Other infused honey recipes, lavender, rosemary, and thyme-infused honey.
- Glass fermentation weight: Feel free to use a glass weight. But be mindful that there may be the right size for your vessel.
- Ph strips: Ph strips are a good way to learn to track the changes in the acidity of your ferment changes over time.
- Glass jar: a glass mason jar with a plastic lid is my go-to for honey ferments.
Frozen will work but that's fine make sure to bring them to room temperature beforehand. While canned and frozen cranberries are available all year the best time to find fresh cranberries in the US is in November or December.
if I plan on making a spiced cranberry orange relish or some seasonal dishes I will pick up a couple of bags and keep them in the freezer. Cranberries freeze well and be sure to remove them from the freezer and let them get to room temperature before using them in this recipe.
First and foremost, raw honey is essential because the live cultures are how this recipe works. If you're looking to whip up a large batch of this honey ferment I suggest checking out the bulk section of your local food co-op.
Reach out to your local beekeeper to see if they would sell raw honey directly to you. If those aren't options in your area there are online vendors who can ship raw honey directly to you.
Add a whole knob of ginger but I find slicing it helps the flavor come through
Orange Juice & Zest
Note: apple cider vinegar, (optional) can aid help lower the PH of your ferment. Since cranberries are naturally highly acidic fruit, a splash of ACV can help lower the PH level.
How to Make Fermented Cranberries
Before you start making fermented cranberries (and any ferment), make sure your materials and cleaning surface area is clean with soap and hot water. If you have a dishwasher, run your jars and lids through to sanitize them.
Pick through your cranberries discarding any that are significantly bruised or moldy.
With a fork or skewer, poke a hole through all the cranberries (through the skin) so the honey can get in. Add berries to a glass container.
Cover the berries with raw, unfiltered honey, Leaving at least a quarter inch of headspace from the top of the jar.
There will be a buildup of gases that need to be released. Headspace in your jar allows for gasses to build up, but you'll still need to burp your ferment.
Add the screw top lid, and put it in a cool dark place at room temperature, away from sunlight for two to three days.
Check on your ferments every day or every couple of days. For any excess gases, as well as if the honey adds a texture and taste that you like. The honey will change over time.
In addition to burping the jar to release any gases, it's a good idea to turn the jar over at least once a day so that the honey at the bottom is circulated and that all fruit and honey
This could take two to a few days or up to a month depending on temperature, humidity or the type of honey and fruit used. You can use it long before that though.
How do you know your honey ferment working?
There are a few ways to tell that your ferment is happy and doing its thing. The first is looking for tiny bubbles along the edge and the top. That means the yeast and bacteria are doing their dance, and it's a good sign when you see bubbles.
It will take on a red hue similar to the cranberries, of course, and instead of the slow maple syrup slash molasses consistency, you will get more of a looser simple syrup thickness.
How to use your Cranberries
There are lots of ways to use these fermented cranberries in holiday dishes and cocktails. I like to add fermented honey to drinks and drizzle it on baked goods. The cranberries still have a nice tartness to them that would be great in sweet and savory dishes.
Here are a few suggestions, but if you come up with any great ideas, please let me know!
- Add this honey syrup to seltzer water and top it with a slice of orange for a quick spirit-free drink
- Enjoy honey fermented cranberry old-fashioned cocktail with candied cranberries for additional flavor
Fermented Cranberry Sauce
- Using cranberries in a fermented cranberry chutney for your Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday dinners will take it to a new level.
- Combine the fermented cranberries with orange juice for a fermented cranberry orange relish.
Honey Fermented Drinks
The cranberry honey would be lovely on baked brie or topped onto some goat cheese or really just on top of some ice cream sweet, tart flavors complement well with any sort of citrus or rosemary flavor is a huge find and the possibilities are endless.
Storing Fermented Food
One of the benefits of a honey ferment is that unlike other fermented foods (kimchi, kraut, etc) they don't need to be refrigerated once the process is complete. Honey is one of nature's preservatives, there is an extensive history of all cultures using it to preserve food. Once I've got my cranberries fermented in honey, I'll place them in a cool dark spot away from light.
It's important that I stress that you can store them at room temperature once fermentation is complete. If you still have a lively active ferment, you're still going to need to keep an eye on it and open the jar to release any excess gases.
Keep an eye out for any signs of mold or anything that looks or smells off.
Honey Fermented Cranberries
The cranberries take on some of the texture and flavors of the honey the Pickles quality to the cranberries really step up your side dishes
- 1 cup of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup of raw honey
- juice and zest of one orange
- 5 thin slices of fresh ginger
- Pick through your cranberries, discarding any that are significantly bruised or moldy.
- With a fork or skewer, poke through all the cranberries (through the skin), so the honey can get in. Then, add berries to a glass container.
- Cover the berries with raw, unfiltered honey. Make sure the cranberries are completely covered in honey. Leave at least a quarter inch of headspace from the top of the jar.
- As it goes through the fermentation process, there will be a buildup of gases that need to be released. Headspace allows for gasses to build up during the fermentation process.
- Add the screw top lid, and put it in a cool dark place at room temperature, away from sunlight for two to three days.
- Turn the jar over at least once a day so that the honey at the bottom is circulated and that all fruit and honey. This could take two to three days or up to a week.
Make sure to check on it every day or every couple of days. For any excess gases, as well as if the honey adds a texture and taste that you like.
Step your nightly tea honey regimen or charcuterie board.
- fermented cranberry sauce recipe
- Top your goat cheese on a grazing board with some cranberry relish
- add some to your vanilla or candy cane ice cream
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 74Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 0g
Karen L. Hilliard says
I just tried your fermented cranberries and garlic in honey. I have to say those are both keepers. I happen to have fresh rosemary in a raised bed that came with a house I bought last spring. So I'm going to try infusing that in the honey as well and using it for tea.
Thank you so much for the recipes and I'll keep checking in.
I wanted to ask, do you happen to have a roasted chicken recipe that uses the honey garlic?
Stephanie Gravalese says
Hi Karen, Oh I love the idea of using fresh rosemary! I don't have a roasted chicken recipe that uses the honey garlic, but I think it's time to add one to the recipe queue. Thanks for stopping by!