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Highbush Cranberry Sweet and Sour Sauce

Highbush cranberry sweet and sour sauce is not a delicate condiment; not one with gentle nuances that hint at flavors. This is a no-nonsense sauce that stands up and looks venison right in the eye. It doesn't turn it's back on moose. HBC sweet and sour sauce makes vegetables dance. It gives that extra zing to ham and beans without any kick or burn.

Highbush cranberry (viburnum edule)

I started out making highbush cranberry sweet and sour sauce from the highbush cranberry ketchup recipe that my sweetie developed. With several batches of HBC ketchup stowed in drawers on the boat, it is easy to grab a jar and do this:

  • One pint jar highbush cranberry ketchup
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup vinegar (to taste)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup brown sugar (to taste)
  • 8-10 slices ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce
  • Maybe two tablespoons of corn starch and 1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients into a medium pot and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have blended and the consistency is to your liking (usually about 15 minutes). If the sauce does not thicken up enough then shake two tablespoons of tapioca starch or corn starch and a quarter cup of water in a jar, stir into the sauce, and simmer gently, stirring constantly until thickened.

The ginger slices will give the sauce more flavor for a few days, and then, if there is any sauce left, remove the ginger slices. Store in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.

This 'smells the boat up really nice' while it is cooking.

Highbush Cranberries are not actually cranberries, but that is what we call them anyway.

Highbush Cranberries are not actually cranberries, but that is what we call them anyway.

I did make a full batch of HBC sweet and sour sauce and jar it up. It was a seat-of-the-pants affair; adding a little more of each ingredient until it tasted about right. I can't give you an exact recipe right now. It worked just fine, and here are a few notes... I used the highbush cranberry ketchup recipe, adding the ingredient list above in greater amounts. I increased the pectin and calcium water (from the ketchup recipe) by 1/2 teaspoon each, and did not add any tapioca or cornstarch thickener. Starch thickeners tend to separate and get yucky (technical term) in storage. I grated the ginger instead of slicing it. Into pint and half pint jars it went, and was processed in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. With the berries and the vinegar this is a high acid recipe, and does not have to be pressure canned.

If you are not familiar with canning please do some reading on the UAF Cooperative Extension Service site or take a class. Or both! When Roxie of UAF Cooperative Extension Service came through Wrangell I took her canning class and it was great fun and very informative.

May you savor each day,

Alaska Beachcomber

More on highbush cranberry uses: Highbush Cranberry Ketchup, Highbush Cranberry Punch

Lots more good stuff about foraging food here: Food and Medicine From Nature