Autumn has firmly entrenched itself up here in the Pacific Northwest. Snow caps the mountains, and the trees that line the highways release glinting flurries of orange and gold leaves every time the wind shakes its way through. It's cold enough now to warrant a fire in the evenings, and sometimes the morning too.
So, What's Cranberry Mors?
Lately, I've pulled Cranberry Mors into our routine. A traditional Russian drink made by simmering tart berries with honey-sweetened water until they burst, mors tastes mildly tart and sweet.
Though often served cold, I prefer to serve ours infused with sweet spices and warm almost like a hot, mulled cranberry cider.
Tradition and folklore hold that mors, and particularly cranberry mors, helps to buffet the immune system against illnesses like colds and flu, and to help digestion when enjoyed before eating. There could be some truth to that as all tart berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.
Why Use Whole Cranberries (and not just juice)
You might wonder at using whole cranberries rather than using only their juice. Here's the trick: when cooked, cranberries release pectin, a plant fiber that gives mors a delightful, almost silky texture; moreover, pectin is positively loaded with benefits of its own.
Researchers have found that pectin helps you to feel full longer (source), and that diets rich in pectin (and other sources of dietary fiber) support heart health and more optimal cholesterol levels (source). You can extract more of the berries' goodness when use the traditional method for making mors by simmering the berries in water, straining them, and sweetening the resulting liquid.
Where to Find Sustainably Harvested Cranberries
I'm excited to partner with Cape Cod Select, a vertically integrated family farm focused on growing and harvesting cranberries with sustainable methods like integrated pest management, water recycling and bee-friendly farming. You can order fresh cranberries in season and frozen berries online here.
Why I use Frozen Berries
Fruit's antioxidant capacity and its vitamin load is at its peak when it's harvested, and after harvest that antioxidant capacity and vitamin density begins to dissipate with time, and with transport. When they're quickly frozen after harvest, not only can you use them year-round, but their nutrients are often better preserved.
(You can buy frozen cranberries directly from the farmer here, or find them in your grocery store.)
Spiced Cranberry Mors
- Toss the cranberries and spices into a stockpot, pour in the water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, simmering until the cranberry skins burst. Transfer the contents of the pot to a fine-mesh strainer, and press them through the strainer into a bowl.
- Wipe out the pot, discard the solids left in the strainer, and return the juice to the pot. Stir in the honey and warm over medium-low heat until fully dissolved. Transfer to a pitcher and serve warm or chilled.