Here in the U.S. cranberries and cranberry sauce have always been closely associated with Thanksgiving. What would the holiday be without turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie and cranberry sauce? In recent years dried cranberry products have also become popular and can be bought year round, but not so fresh cranberries. Harvest time usually begins mid-September and continues until mid-November. Only a small amount of the cranberries grown are sold fresh and usually they disappear from store shelves before the end of the year. The rest are harvested for making juice, canned cranberry sauces, dried cranberries and other products. I stock up (cranberries freeze well) so I can have my favorite sorbet for at least half the year. 99% of the recipes found on the internet for cranberry sorbet include orange juice. Not a big fan of the combination and never one to have orange juice readily available, I came up with this Mexican inspired recipe.
1 12 oz bag of cranberries
1/2 jalapeno pepper
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups of water
2 TB cilantro
1-2 tsp cranberry vodka (optional)
Rinse the bag of cranberries and place them in a 2 1/2 quart pot along with the jalapeno pepper, zest of 1 lime, the sugar and the cilantro. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the berries begin to pop. When the berries begin to pop remove them from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
After the cranberries have cooled you need to separate the juice from the rest of the ingredients. I use a food mill with the finest strainer insert, but you can also press the mixture into a mesh strainer. This will separate the juice from the skins of the berries, the cilantro, lime zest and jalapeno pepper.
Into the extracted juice mix the juice of 1/2 a lime and cranberry vodka if using. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. If using pop molds use only 1 tsp of cranberry vodka as 2 tsp will result in softer pops.