Fall is here, which means it’s cranberry season! I used to love canned cranberry sauce with Thanksgiving turkey, but since I started eating clean I never touch the stuff anymore. It contains high fructose corn syrup, which is made by means of a chemical process that turns genetically modified corn into a cheap unnatural sweetener that contains strange chemical residues.
Cranberries are super good for you, but way too tart for my taste. I’m whipping up some healthy facto fermented cranberry sauce that is naturally sweetened by mixing in some raisins and pineapple. Fermented fruit gets a bit sweeter every day, and the super sweet raisins and pineapple take the tart edge off the cranberries.
My lacto fermented cranberry pineapple relish recipe makes 4 quarts of relish. Not only is this relish a great healthy side dish, but it’s also a super yummy probiotic enhancement when used in a smoothie or on yogurt. It only keeps for 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge before turning to alcohol, but can be frozen for several months.
- 4 LB Fresh Cranberries, chopped coarse
- 1 Small Pineapple, chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup Sucanat or Rapadura Sugar
- 1/4 cup organic raisins, rinsed off (optional)
- 1 tsp Inulin powder or Acacia powder, or combination of both (optional)
- 2/3 Cup warm water
- 1 tsp Starter Culture or 1/2 c whey or combination of starter culture and whey
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Mix starter culture and/or whey in water. Add inulin and/or acacia powder if using and let sit on counter for about 15 minutes.
- Add the sugar and salt. Stir well and continue to let it sit while it dissolves.
- Mix the chopped cranberries and pineapple, as well as raisins.
- Fill the jars with the fruit mixture and pack down tightly. Use your fist or a kraut pounder to mash the fruit and help it release some of it’s juices. Fill until the jar starts narrowing at the top, a little over an inch below the top of the jar.
- Pour the probiotic brine into the jars, dividing equally. Allow a little time for the brine to make it’s way to the bottom. Loosen the friut if needed to let the brine get through.
- fter you’ve emptied the brine into the jars, the fruit should be submerged. If it isn’t, mix 1 tsp sea salt with 1 cup warm water and add this to your jar until the fruit is underwater.
- Let the jars sit out at room temperature for 2-3 days. In a warm climate, your fermentation will be done within 24 hours. If it’s cool in your house, it could take up to 72 hours.
- Taste every 12 hours. When slightly sweet, it's done. (Cranberries are tart, so the fermentation won't get super sweet). When done, put a regular lid on it and refrigerate. It will continue to sweeten in the refrigerator.
- Pour off any excess liquid any time you see it (be sure to allow about an inch of space between liquid and top of jar). If you don't pour off the liquid, it will spill over.
- Store in refrigerator up to 4 weeks. Fruit fermentations turn to alcohol after a month or so, and won't taste good. You can freeze fermented fruit if you like.
Health Benefits of this Fermentation
Naturally fermented foods contain enzymes, b vitamins, and many strains of probiotics. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria which have many health benefits. Probiotics improve your immune system, straighten out gut issues, help with digestion and can help heal some diseases. Probiotics fight off the bad bacteria which cause inflammation and disease, and ultimately help you absorb nutrients better because they ensure a good balance of bacteria in the gut.
Cranberries are a super antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer fruit. They are loaded with phytonutrients, which help build a strong immune system and aid in detoxifying the body. They are also super great at preventing and treating urinary tract infections (UTI’s).
Pineapples are full of bromelain, which helps with digestive issues and is also a great anti-inflammatory. It’s also contains the trace mineral manganese, which helps with energy and antioxidant defenses. Pineapple is also an excellent source of vitamin C, B1 and B6.
Raisins are loaded with potassium and iron. Always buy organic, as non-organic grapes are commonly sprayed with pesticides. Dried fruits such as raisins, dates and prunes are also very strong antioxidants.