Ahhhh, Thanksgiving is almost here! Every year I wonder if I love Thanksgiving more than Christmas…doesn’t that seem like a crime? I’m not sure, still. I’m drawn to Thanksgiving for the family time, the reflection over the many things I have to be grateful for, and the lack of wrapping paper and greed.
As much as I love to give gifts, there’s so much that can get in the way of pure, selfless giving. Budgets combined with finding (aka scouring the earth) for prudently-priced gifts can take the fun out of it. The OCD-efficiency-perfectionist-obsessed side of me cringes as think of searching for the perfect gift.
Thanksgiving has none of that. And it’s all about the memories we make with the ones we love. The experiences we share. If we could only transfer that a bit into Christmastime. Seems like it’d be easier to focus on the real reasons for celebrating.
Ok, getting off the soapbox now. And focusing on what we’re all really here for: the food! I love berries. And spices. And citrus. I could eat all three combined all year round. But I thought I would share this recipe for those needing a new take on cranberry for their Turkey Day.
Adding other berries does wonders for balancing the tartness of the cranberries. It’s my first year trying it. In the past, I used cranberries only and found myself adding tons of honey to try and achieve some balance. Add in some other berries (recommended as many that aren’t tart as possible: strawberry, blueberry, etc) and the balance falls right into place.
What’s your opinion: Thanksgiving or Christmas?
Spiced Berry Jam
3 c. berries of choice (fresh or frozen is ok, I used 2 c. fresh cranberries & 1 c. frozen mixed berries)
1 lemon, juice & zest
1 orange, juice & zest
3 tbsp. raw honey (can omit if not using cranberries)
pinch sea salt
1 cinnamon stick, broken into smaller pieces
3 star anise
1 tbsp. allspice berries
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine berries, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, honey, and sea salt in a medium saucepan. Stir well. Place the cinnamon, star anise, and allspice berries in a piece of cheesecloth closed tightly with kitchen twine or a small spice bag cinched tightly. Tuck the bag beneath the berries. Heat the mixture over medium heat and cook covered for 10-15 minutes, or until the berries begin to burst.
Uncover and cook another 20-30 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until the jam has reduced and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Can be served warm, room temp, or chilled. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Note: The jam will be fairly runny. For a thicker jam (like shown above), continue to cook until desired consistency is reached. 1-2 tbsp. of chia seeds can also be used to quickly thicken any jam.