How many of you have leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving taking up room in your freezer? I know we did! We 1-1/2 cups of frozen organic cranberries (I know that doesn't seem like a lot but, every square inch in our freezer counts, and it IS FULL haha) leftover from making cranberry sauce and a cranberry-apple pie from Thanksgiving to be exact, and I was determined to incorporate them into December recipes because:
(A) December and cranberries just make sense to me,
(B) I needed to make room in our freezer...and I just wanted to make something fun with cranberries,
(C) I love the color of cranberries and they make any dish/drink look gorgeous (see below), and
(D) I really wanted to make festive eco-sips for a potential Christmas Cocktail hour!
So for those of you also looking for a way to use your leftover cranberries, I think you'll like what this post has in store, especially because I made sure not to waste any of the cranberries. You'll see what I mean below.
Part 1 ~ Making Cranberry Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is a common ingredient in a lot of cocktails, but make a cranberry simple syrup and you have a glorified simple syrup that adds a little bit of sweetness and tart and a lot a bit of color! As I mentioned above, I have 1-1/2 cups of frozen organic cranberries, perfect for making a decent amount of simple syrup for holiday cocktails. Here is what I did:
- 1-1/2 cup organic cranberries
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer until the cranberries start to fall apart (about 15 minutes).
- Strain cranberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Once you've strained the cranberry mixture, let the strainer sit over the bowl and cool for about an hour to make sure you get all the delicious juice!
- After the cranberry syrup has cooled, store it in a mason jar.
What about the leftover cranberry skins and solids? Keep them! I put mine in a glass food storage container and used them in a granola tart recipe at the end of this post.
Part 2 ~ Holiday Eco-Sips with Cranberry Simple Syrup
No, I didn't make a spelling mistake! This is a cranberry twist to the classic Screw Driver, and because it's the holidays, I thought the name Scrooge-Driver fit :). The recipe below makes one beverage.
- 1 ounce organic vodka
- 1 ounce cranberry simple syrup (or more to taste)
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
- Fresh cranberries for garnish.
- Fill a glass with ice. Add vodka and cranberry simple syrup.
- Top with orange juice. (About 6 ounces or more depending on your tastes)
- Garnish with fresh cranberries.
Of course, another set of play-on-words I couldn't help but use! When I think of winter, Mojitos are not the first thing that comes to mind, but when you add cranberries, I think it changes everything. From a cool summer cocktail to a refreshing winter drink! The recipe below makes one Mojito.
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice (from an organic lime)
- 2 ounces white rum
- 2 ounces cranberry simple syrup
- soda water
- fresh cranberries for garnish
- Put mint leaves and lime juice into a glass. Mash the mint leaves with a wooden spoon.
- Fill each glass with ice and add rum and syrup.
- Top glass with soda water and add fresh cranberries for garnish.
Part 3 ~ Granola Tarts with Cranberry Centers
Not sure what to call the cranberry leftover filling, so if you have a good name, let me know! The recipe below is amazing (just the right amount of sweet and tart) and perfect for breakfast or dessert!
- leftover cranberry solids from simple syrup
- 2 cups old-fashioned organic rolled oats
- 6 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons Kelapo organic coconut oil (or whatever brand you like to use)
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Combine everything but the cranberry solids in a large bowl. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking dish (or tart pan, whatever you like to use to make granola).
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
- Allow granola to cool. Here I tried lifting the granola in even squares but it broke...which is fine! Because I was able to mold the granola and make my cranberry tarts.
- Place one layer (or spoonful as shown in the picture) of granola in a glass storage container. Spread a cranberry solids over granola. Top with a second layer of granola and store in the fridge.
- Top with organic greek yogurt and enjoy!