Preserving cranberries a look into the past

November 17, 2016

For a little while now we have been taking our baking inspiration from the 1970's Good House Keeping cook book, as foodies our interest in baking and cooking is not limited to the present. So we were really happy when we recently found a small book of 'Receipts' published in 1842, as recipes were called then. Its fascinating to see how cooking and baking has changed over the years, the basic methods are familiar but the quantities sometimes used are quite large. Cakes were much richer then with some using 1 pint of treacle or 12 eggs. The blancmange recipe requires four calf's feet, which is not very appealing or practical!

But the recipes that have not changed are the basic methods of preserving, so we thought we would try 'Preserving Cranberries' from the 1842 'Receipt' book. After translating 'gill' and 'pound' measurements, the proportions are equal weights of cranberries to sugar, with 142ml of water per 450gr of sugar used. We used 300gr of cranberries and sugar with 100ml of water. Its a very simple and quick recipe, firstly wash your cranberries, then gently dissolve the sugar and water in a pan on a low heat. Then add your cranberries to the pan and boil them slowly, stirring regularly for about 15 mins or as the book says 'until they are quite soft and of a fine colour'. Pour warm into your hot sterilised jars and leave to cool. The result is a beautiful rich red preserve which is perfect for your Christmas dinner or just with some nice bread and butter!

Our natural Kitchen candle jars are traditional preserving jars and are easy to clean after use. Our 300gr measurements filled our large and medium jar sizes. The perfect winter preserving recipe!

If you would like to learn more about preserving techniques and for recipe inspiration, take a look at the wonderful Newton & Pott and become a modern preserver.