‘Tis the season to buy cranberries! While I’m not too fond of winter, I do enjoy when cranberries make their first appearance, and I knew the season had arrived when I went by Trader Joe’s this week and bags of these crimson goodies lined the produce shelf.
I bought a bag not knowing exactly what I planned to do with it, but then it dawned on me that I should make something that combined jamaica (hibiscus) and cranberries! After all, I am currently exploring ways to use jamaica, and cranberries are strikingly similar in flavor.
Around this time of year, my mom always makes something called Cranberry Nut Bread. It is a sweet bread that includes cranberries, walnuts, and orange juice/zest as its star ingredients. When I got to thinking about some flavor possibilities for this jam, I thought that it might taste even better with some orange zest added to it!
And…I’m pleased to announce that the punch of orange was a super addition to the jamaica-cranberry pairing. The flowery jamaica flavor is not easily detectable in the final product, but rather the it acts to highlight the bolder cranberry taste. The addition of a vanilla bean adds a sweet undertone.
The jam is on the thicker side and would be great used as a filling in cookies (stay tuned for a fun recipe tomorrow!), and I was thinking that it would also be a great addition to cream cheese. You could whip up a lovely cranberry-swirled cream cheese to be used on cranberry bagels or even raisin bread.
Hmmm…that sounds like a nice Thanksgiving breakfast!
Mermelada de arándano, jamaica, y naranja
Click here for printable recipe.
Jam (Makes about 2 cups)
½ cup of dried hibiscus (jamaica)
Cheesecloth (5” x 5”)
Baker’s twine (8 inches)
12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water
Half of a medium orange, zested and juiced
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 1 TBSP pure vanilla extract OR 1 TBSP vanilla bean paste
→Place the dried hibiscus in a 5” x 5” piece of cheesecloth. Gather the four corners to create a pouch and tie closed at the top with a piece of baker’s twine. Set aside.
→In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, water, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla. Nestle the pouch of hibiscus in the cranberry mixture.
→Turn the stove on to medium-low heat and bring the mixture to a slow simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened and all of the cranberries have split open.
→Remove from heat. Carefully remove the pouch of hibiscus and set on a plate to cool. Remove the vanilla bean and place on the plate as well.
→Using a bean masher, mash the cranberries to break up the skins and create a jam-like texture.
→Using a small knife, scrape the “caviar” out of the inside of the vanilla bean and mix it with the cranberry jam. Discard the vanilla pod.
→Once the hibiscus pouch has cooled, squeeze the remaining juice out into the jam. Mix to combine.
- This creates a thick jam that would be great in any cookie or cake.
- Because cranberries and hibiscus have similar flavors, the flavor of the hibiscus is not easily detected. Rather, it amps up the overall cranberry flavor.