Monthly Archives: November 2013

Earl Granberry Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) are native to North America and used as food and juice. They are high in Vitamins C and A, flavonoids, pectin, tannins, and contain minerals like potassium, calcium, iodine, iron and magnesium*. Fresh, these berries are sour and astringent, but with a bit of spices and sugar make a delicious winter dish.



Cranberry Sauce was always one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner with my family in Ohio. I’m pretty sure this is the only time we ever had it.  We prepared the plate with a nice green leaf, opened the can on one end, and slid it out of the can and onto the plate. The rings were festive adornment.


A few years ago I learned a recipe from my dear friend Puma that started with fresh cranberries and steeping Earl Gray Tea to add into the mix. It turned out delicious and I have been making it ever since. I think Puma got the original recipe from Sunset Magazine but I have tweaked it a bit over the years since I almost never have Star Anise.

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar (you can use a little less if you use cane sugar)
  • 1tsp. Cardamom tincture or 4 whole Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tbs. mixture of all spice and clove (whole) or 3 whole star anise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 8 cups whole cranberries (about 2 1/2 bags, fresh or frozen)
  1. In a 4-quart pot combine the water, sugar, and spices. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.20131102_103355 After boiling point is reached, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Tie together 5 Earl Grey tea bags, add to the pot of spices and simmer approximately 2-5 more minutes (don’t steep too long or the tea can become more bitter than you may like).
  3. Remove tea bags and spices with a spoon/strainer and add 8 cups whole cranberries. Do not add more liquid. The berries will cook down pretty quickly.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring often. Cranberries will soften and pop as they split their skins and sauce thickens. Cook about 12 minutes.20131102_105922
  5. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before serving or storing(the sauce will thicken further as it cools). Sauce may stay preserved in the refrigerator for up to a week or more.

In my herbal medicine practice, I use cranberry juice (unsweetened) to prevent or remove bacteria from forming in the urethra. Making it a great ally in treating and preventing urinary tract infections.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

*The Earthwise Herbal, Matthew Wood





Rose Hip Syrup

San Francisco weather can be a unique experience, but some things we do right. Rose hips are ripe and ready to be made into syrup. I let the roses bloom and die without harvesting or trimming the bushes. These came right outta my SF garden.


Rosehips are nutritive, astringent, carminative, and have been used traditionally as a way to boost vitamin c levels in the body. They also have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Recent studies have identified this herb as useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Its actions are protecting and tonifying to the mucous membranes of the gastro-intestinal tract.

The rose hips won’t stay fresh on the plant forever so we gotta preserve them. The most delicious way is with sugar and/or honey. So here is the recipe.20131023_213853

I collected about 6 cups of rosehips from our garden and clipped off the remnants from the buds and any ‘green’ stem parts. I put this with enough water to cover them into the blender to separate the seeds and hairs from the juicy ripe fruit. I blended this just enough to separate but not liquify and place it into a pot on the stove.


I boiled this mixture for 20 minutes, then strained the first batch and separated. I put the pulp back into the pan and covered it with water and brought it back to a boil again and reduced the water by half.* See below for Batch B.

I wanted to experiment with the potency and taste with using Batch A (only boiled 20 minutes) and using Batch B (boiled for longer).

At this point I had 2 cups of liquid from Batch A. To complete the syrup I added 1 1/2 cups honey to the warm rosehip mixture and stirred, letting it cool on the stovetop. The honey I used was raw and I did not want to damage the raw enzymes in the honey so I did not reheat this syrup and only stirred in the honey to combine thoroughly.

*With Batch B I decided to get more interesting. I added dried orange peel, all spice, clove, and cinnamon to the pulp and brought this mixture up to the second boil. After reaching boiling, I simmered this mixture for about 30 minutes, unt il the water was significantly reduced. Next, I strained the rose hips and returned the liquid to the pot. Again I had about 2 cups. To this liquid I added 2 cups sugar (1 cup brown, 1 cup white). Stir the mixture the dissolve all the sugar. Let cool before placing in glass jars and store in the refridgerator.


A traditional ratio for syrups is 1 cup honey to 1 quart liquid. You can change the ratio to thicken the syrup to your taste. My syrups are a bit runnier than commercial syrups, but they do thicken in the fridge a bit.

Share with friends and family! Yummy.