When I was growing up, our kitchen smelled of cranberries boiling away on the stove – mostly around this time of year, but also at other times. The process was to cook up a quart of cranberries with a quart of water. Once the berries broke up, my parents would work together to strain it through a piece of cheesecloth. One would pour and the other would squeeze. It was messy and the juice was boiling hot.
After that, they would boil another quart of water with 3 cups of sugar, ½ cup red hot candies and 12 cloves until the sugar and red hots disappeared.
This was added to the cranberry juice, along with another two quarts of water, the juice of three oranges and three lemons.
We usually drank it hot, but it could be served cold, as well.
I’m not sure I’d go to the trouble of cooking the cranberries today, because now you can buy pure cranberry juice from the health food store and save yourself the trouble. If you do that, I’m not quite sure how much you’d need. The cranberry juice concentrate shown above above states that eight ounces makes the equivalent of one quart, so maybe that’s what you should do.
Also, if you used the regular cranberry cocktail sold in big bottles, you probably wouldn’t want to put in as much sugar. Three cups sounds like a lot of sugar to me.
I haven’t had any of this in years, but I remember how delicious it was! Like the hot Wassail they made, it always meant Christmas to me. If you decide to try it, let me know what you used for the cranberry juice. If I try it, I’ll let you know!
A hui hou!