After the holidays come to a close, I always find myself with a surplus of cranberries. I’ve made sauces with them, used them for decorations, added them to brussels sprouts, baked them into cakes, and done whatever else I can think of. Still, I find bags of them tucked into the back of my fridge’s veggie drawers or buried in the freezer. So when I got on a juicing kick last year, in the cranberries went.
Sometimes I’d follow a recipe; others I’d just wing it. It was during one of my one of freelance juicing sessions that I stumbled upon something great. I tossed pineapple, apples, and oranges into the juicer – a sure bet – then I added a few handfuls of cranberries.
This happy accident yielded a smooth, sweet drink that immediately reminded me of eating rainbow sherbet in summertime. You know the kind – clear plastic tub, white top with a ridged outer ring. Luckily, this version has no added sugar or fake stuff, but offers the same wonderful combination of flavors. It’s sweet, but with welcome hints of tartness.
I told myself to remember how I’d made it – then promptly neglected to write it down. Making matters worse, I couldn’t find cranberries in the grocery store for a few months. So when I found myself overflowing with them again recently, I starting experimenting. After a few failed attempts (too many cranberries and too much pineapple made it way too sour), I finally got the proportions right, and recalled a forgotten ingredient: ginger.
Ginger has both an astringent and a warming quality, and here it works to balance the competing sweetness and tartness of its companions. Pineapple, by the way, can impart both flavors, depending on how ripe it is. Look for fruit that is turning golden, not all-over green. I find that using a serrated bread knife to remove the skin of the pineapple makes for light work. (It’s probably terrible for the knife, though.) And to minimize waste and expense, use the core of the pineapple along with the flesh for juicing.
If you’re trying to increase your uptake of healthy foods this month, like so many of us are, this is a great way to curb your sweet cravings without giving in to junk. Fresh fruit is also a great way to stave off cravings for alcohol if you’re cutting back after a long haul through December. Instead of focusing on elimination, set yourself up for success by replacing processed sugars with naturally occurring ones. Fresh juice isn’t fructose-free, of course, but it will help restock your supply of vitamins.
Pineapple Orange Cranberry Sherbet Juice
makes 12 ounces
2 medium apples
2 medium oranges (or 3 clementines)
1 cup cranberries
1 cup pineapple
1 “thumb” ginger
special equipment: juicer (alternatively, you can use a blender then strain the mixture through cheesecloth)
Blend all ingredients together in a juicer. Stir and serve.
Cook’s note: I happen to like the foam created by the juicer, but if you don’t, simply use a spoon to hold it back as you pour. The juice may be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.