After I wrote my post last week espousing the virtues of cranberry I realized that I had a slight problem on my hands because all the berries I had taken out and photographed were now thawed, leaving me approximately ten million cranberries that needed to be used, give or take a million. I looked up a number of recipes but for each one I was missing a few critical ingredients, which is why I decided to try and make cranberry tea, something that I love and more importantly had the ingredients to make.
A quick search yielded several results for cranberry tea and I decided to go with this one by the Wishful Chef because I liked how simple and unfussy it was. I followed the directions the best I could but needed to adapt it since I didn’t have orange or appropriate citrus (I had limes but I wasn’t feeling that combination) and instead of honey, I used agave. Also, I had way more than a pint of cranberries and while I scaled the recipe up in terms of water and cloves, I didn’t adjust the agave which made the finished product extremely tart. Since I like the flavour of cranberry the tartness wasn’t a problem for me but if you’re not in the same boat, I would recommend that you follow the proportions to keep the flavour balance. It was really very easy and a straightforward recipe that required nothing more than throwing things into a pot and letting it boil, careful not to let things overflow. In addition to being extremely easy, in the end this recipe leaves your place smelling wonderful and Christmas-y, much like gluwein only without the alcoholic component.
I had a cup of the cranberry tea immediately after it was finished and it was lovely. However, since I had scaled up the recipe I had far more tea than I could manage in one sitting, so I kept the remainder in the fridge and have been enjoying a glass of cranberry tea, or as I call it cranberry drink (inspired by Dave Chapelle) each day for four days. Even though there isn’t a ton of added sugar and agave is comparatively low on the glycemic index there is still a substantial amount of fructose in agave and cranberries also possess natural sugars, so please be wary of your sugar consumption when making this or any type of fruit based drink.
While the tea isn’t perfect, I do intend on making it again since I’ve developed a deep love for this flavour through many years of consumption. I used to drink cranberry tea daily and my favourite kind was made by Traditional Medicinals, which to my chagrin has now since been discontinued (this particular tea not the whole brand). The reason I loved this caffeine-free tea so much was that it was made purely from cranberries, rather than some type of berry medley, and I felt that I was able to reap many of the health benefits associated with this fruit. As someone that grew up surrounded by traditional Chinese medicine, ingesting a number of strange concoctions (I use the word “ingest” purposefully, no fun was had), I am a firm believer in the healing capabilities of plants. Although I don’t believe that they’re necessarily stand alone solutions for your ailments, when taken in combination with Western remedies, I think they assist in holistic healing but I might be biased since this is also my family business. Anyway, before we move on I want to make it clear that my beloved cranberry tea was and is not part of the detox/diet teas that you so often hear about. If you’re looking for that unfortunately you won’t find it here. I know this might be talking out of both sides of my mouth given what I just told you about my relationship with traditional Chinese medicine, but I would be cautious before embarking on any of these tea-based diets. If you do, please do a bit of research (this post by Fuelled by Oats is a great starting point) and consult a doctor or physician.
The first week of my cranberry experimenting went well and I’ll be trying out a few more recipes as the month goes on, sharing my findings at the end. If there’s anything you’d like to add in the meantime, I’d love to hear it!