Cranberry Applesauce

It’s the perfect time of year to make cranberry applesauce! Just think of all the fresh cranberries and apples you can find at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. This recipe is one of our favorites. It’s perfect for your Hanukkah latkes in December. Get more preserving in The Joys of Jewish Preserving.

Cranberry applesauce on latkes.

Applesauce is one o f the best-known and best-loved Jewish preserves because it is one o f the two traditional toppings for potato pancakes or latkes. (The other being s our cream. The arguments over which topping is better can get rather heated.) Latkes are a Jewish deli st aple, but are perhaps best known as the tr aditional dish for the festival of Hanukkah, at least among Ashkenazi Jews.

In Europe, Ashkenazi Jews often made a version of applesauce that included foraged berries, such as raspberries or blackberries. I have updated that tradition by adding cranberries, that quintessential North American berry, to my applesauce. The cranberries add tartness and a beautiful rosy color. Make this crimson-hued applesauce in October when whole cranberries and heirloom varieties of apples are readily available at farmers’ markets and put up several jars to accompany your Hanukkah latkes in December. You may even convert some sour cream partisans to your side.

Ingredients

4 pounds (1.8 kg) apples, preferably a mixture of sweet and tart varieties

2 cups (200 g) whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1 cup (120 ml) water

¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice

1¼ cups (250 g) sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Peel, core, and roughly chop the apples. Combine the apples, cranberries, water, and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil, turn down the heat to low, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare a boiling water bath and heat 4 pints (475 ml) jars. When the apples are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the varieties you use, remove from the heat. Mash the apples with a potato masher. For a smoother texture, purée with an immersion blender but leave some chunkiness. Add the sugar and spices and return the mixture to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and distribute the spices.

Ladle the sauce into the clean, warm jars, leaving ¾ inch (2 cm) of headspace. Bubble the jars well because the sauce is so thick and wipe the rims with a damp cloth. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings just until you feel resistance. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Allow to cool in the water for 5 minutes before removing. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Makes 3-4 pints

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The Joys of Jewish Preserving.Jewish cooks, even casual ones, are proud of the history of preserved foods in Jewish life, from the time of living in a desert two millennia ago to the era in which Jews lived in European ghettoes with no refrigeration during the last century. In a significant sense, the Jewish tradition of preserved foods is a symbol of the Jewish will to survive.About 35 of the 75 recipes in this book are for fruit jams and preserves, from Queen Esther’s Apricot-Poppyseed Jam or Slow Cooker Peach Levkar to Quince Paste, Pear Butter, and Dried Fig, Apple, and Raisin Jam. About 30 are for pickles and other savory preserves, including Shakshuka, Pickled Carrots Two Ways, and Lacto-Fermented Kosher Dills. The remaining 10 recipes bear the tag “Use Your Preserves,” and these cover some of the ways that preserves are used in holiday preparations, like Sephardic Date Charoset, Rugelach, or Hamantaschen. The book often highlights holiday cooking, because there are many Jewish readers who cook “Jewish food” only on holidays.

Many recipes are the author’s own creations and have never appeared before in print or online. With terrific color photos by the Seattle photographer Leigh Olson, rich and detailed background info about Jewish food traditions, and, above all, with terrific and tasty recipes both sweet and savory, this book is a celebration of some of the best foods Jewish cooks have ever created.