It has suddenly started to feel like winter here in Ohio. We’ve had days of rain and even a few snowflakes. This is time of year when I start digging in the freezer for last year’s cranberries so we can cuddle up on the couch with cups of Cranberry Spice Tea! I saw a recipe similar to this one in a tiny holiday flip book on the counter of a local bulk food store years ago. It sounded delicious and I wanted to make it, but I could never find that little book or recipe again. The store is closed now but I’ve been making my Cranberry Spice Tea for several years now.
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Contrary to it’s name there’s no actual tea in this recipe. I have seen some recipes like this with black tea or apples but I’ve never tried it. This tea is so fresh and bright with its tart cranberry base mellowed with orange juice and spiced with cinnamon and cloves. To me this is the taste of the Holiday and winter seasons rolled up in a drink.
Because I make this all winter long I’ve started stocking up on cranberries during the short season they are available. Cranberry Spice Tea works just as well with frozen cranberries as it does with fresh which is very convenient. I buy about two bags a week through November as soon as they appear in stores. After Thanksgiving I try to get back to the grocery store to check for markdowns. A few years ago Aldi had their cranberries marked at 25 cents a bag the weekend after Thanksgiving!!! You can bet I bought about 16 bags right then and threw them all in the freezer. I haven’t come across any sales quite that good since but I still stash them away for the cold winter months.
Not only are cranberries both lovely and tasty but they have many health benefits as well! They are high in antioxidants, good for the immune system, cardiovascular health and digestive health. I have kept the sugar low in this recipe so that you can enjoy the benefits without worrying about high sugar content. It’s there to mellow the tartness not over-rule the flavor!
If you’re serving this tea for guests (or just feeling fancy) float a slice of orange in each glass as an accent. To really take it up a notch cut the slices in half and make a few diagonal cuts, as shown above, to create a heart accent.
I’m adding a little bonus recipe here at the end because I hate to waste the cranberry pieces. The only way I know how to separate the skins out of the pulp is by putting it through a Foley Food Mill which leaves you with a nice cranberry mush to use elsewhere. I like to make orange cranberry jello with it. Open two boxes of orange jello and mix it with two cups of boiling water as directed. Replace the two cups of cold water with two cups of cranberry pulp. Stir well and put in the fridge to set. Nothing goes to waste and you have two delicious cranberry recipes to serve all season!
I hope you love this tea as much as we do. Thanks for pinning and sharing!
Cranberry Spice Tea
- 13 cups (3120 ml) water
- 2 bags (24 oz/680 g) of cranberries - fresh or frozen
- 2 cups (480 ml) orange juice
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp whole cloves
Rinse the cranberries and pour them into a large pot. Add the water and bring them to a boil over high heat.
Let them boil for 5-7 minutes until all or most of the cranberries have popped open. On my stove this process took about 25 minutes total.
Leave the pot on the stove or counter until cool. Put a colander over a second large pan and carefully pour it through to strain out the berries. Press the berries up against the edges to get all the juice out and set them aside (see jello recipe in the post).
Add the orange juice, sugar and spices, cover the pot and simmer for half an hour to an hour. Serve hot.
You can transfer the tea to a pitcher in the fridge and let it sit overnight to strengthen the flavors even more. Reheat to serve.
We do also drink this straight out of the fridge cold or with carbonated water.
This makes enough for a crowd. If you want it all to yourself you can drink it for several days if not a week. +++ The Teatime Baker - www.teatimebaker.com