Ginger Pear Cranberry Sauce: Delicious on Roasted Turkey or Duck

cranberry sauce ginger pear n

Top row: pear butter, smoked salmon, cloudberry jam. Second row: Arctic blueberry jam, cranberry sauce, cloudberry jam. Third row: Arctic blueberry jam, pear butter, smoked salmon.

Small batch canning has become a perfect way to preserve many foods in our Arctic home. We anticipate that this skill will transfer nicely to our galley kitchen aboard the sailing vessel Bandon.

We recently read an article about items that are supposedly “not worth the time to make in your own kitchen.” The three items that topped this rather specious list were yogurt, pasta and jam. Of course, we heartily disagree on each count. The hands-on time for our delicious homemade yogurt is about 15 minutes, and while it takes a little longer to turn out a few servings of pasta, the time invested results in noodles that trump any store-bought variety. And jam can be made between dinnertime and bedtime – including the processing time in the water bath. Knowing where your hand-picked berries and self-harvested salmon come from: priceless. As those in-the-know can attest, the rewards go beyond even that. Our meals are infused with memories of mornings in berry fields as we dip into our jam and of days on water and of the friends we shared fishing experiences with as we open jars of beautifully cured salmon.

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve added ginger pear cranberry sauce to our home-canned collection. We adapted the recipe from Full Circle Farms, which was thoughtfully tucked into a box containing our order of organic cranberries and D’Anjou pears. The spicy ginger and sweet stewed fruit was the perfect complement to roasted turkey.

Ginger Pear Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 7 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp powdered ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 3 firm D’Anjou pears, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp dried lemon zest
  • 2 tsp dried orange zest
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • ¾ lb organic cranberries

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, and salt.
  2. Bring to a boil over moderate heat.
  3. Add pears. Cover and cook until pears are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove pears with slotted spoon and set aside, leaving liquid in pan.
  5. Add granulated sugar, zests, juices and cranberries to pan.
  6. Simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until cranberries pop.
  7. Reduce heat and add pears back to mixture.
  8. Cook for at least 5 minutes to allow flavors to mix. Cook longer if a thicker sauce is desired.

Makes about 4 cups of sauce.

Provisioning for a Year in the Bush

Above, Jack is zip-tying the lid to a Rubbermaid Roughneck tub at our storage unit in Anchorage.

Planning for a year in a remote village may seem like a daunting task. After two bush moves and two annual shopping experiences, I think we’ve nailed it.

In Walden, Thoreau lists everything he took with him to his life on the shores of Walden Pond. Fascinated and inspired by Thoreau’s list, we vigilantly documented all the provisions we sent out to Shishmaref last year and monitored what we used and didn’t use in order to prepare our shopping lists for this coming year.

Here’s what the advice of others and our own experiences have taught us.

1. Rubbermaid Roughneck. They come in a variety of sizes and are easy to stack and store. We label each tub and lid so all the holes we drill for the zip ties which keep them closed match up. The manufacturer says they are “unbreakable.” So far, they have been just that. Caution: most other tubs will break.

2. Cardboard boxes. The best boxes are reliable for only one use, and even then they are more difficult to ship and stack than the plastic tubs. We have gone away from using boxes.

3. Media mail. For books, CD’s, DVDs and other media, the post office gives a discount on their already inexpensive rates. Know that these items will be shipped on the slowest boat, at times will be stacked atop each other in huge piles, and will likely be tossed around. In our first move, just about the only boxes that were wrecked were those that had been sent at the media rate. This time around, we shipped our media in rubber tubs.

4. Dry goods. We think of food items in three categories: dry, refrigerated, and frozen. Our first advice is this: if you don’t have a Costco membership, get one! Costco has excellent prices and they seldom stock anything that isn’t of good quality. Unlike some other stores which, for a fee, will pack and ship your groceries for you, Costco is a “do-it-yourself” proposition. That’s fine with us. Not only do we save money by taking care of something we can do perfectly well ourselves, but in doing so we ensure that our items are properly packaged. And in addition to getting butcher-shop-quality meats and excellent produce, in shopping at Costco we are giving our hard-earned money to a business that is known for treating its employees and its customers fairly and ethically. We won’t name any businesses, but personally we can’t justify giving our money to a corporation that is constantly in the news fending off one law suit after another because they simply do not treat their employees ethically and with respect. Once we have purchased and packed our dry goods, we mail them at the parcel post rate of about 70 cents per pound.

5. Frozen goods. Alaska airlines as well as the the smaller airlines that provide service to the bush allow three checked items (50 pounds each) and one carry on item. We were advised to bring coolers as the checked items, so last year, we brought up three 58-quart coolers stuffed with frozen meat, juice, fruit, and vegetables. All the coolers ended up exceeding the airline’s weight limit by 20 to 25 pounds each, which irritated the employees at the ticket counter end cost as overage fees. This year, we are going to use Rubbermaid tubs instead of coolers. The tubs themselves are lighter than coolers, and by going with 14 gallon (56 quart) coolers and using crumpled newspaper for insulation and to take up some room, we should be able to stay within the weight limit. With items frozen solid (we have a chest freezer at our storage place), everything should hold up fine during travel. We’ll supplement what we buy at Costco with the razor clams, salmon, halibut and rockfish we harvest this summer. By the way, the large bags of frozen vegetables Costco carries are superb.

6. Refrigerated items. Last year, we really wanted cheese, yogurt, eggs, lettuce, apples, and tomatoes, and not knowing whether or not we could readily get these items in Shishmaref, we decided that we would pay the extra cost for “overnight” shipping. We knew that we wouldn’t actually get these things the next day, but we were hoping that our delivery would arrive in two or three days. Unfortunately, it took a full week for our items to arrive. As we unboxed our items, we were mentally preparing for the stench of rotten yogurt, cheese and lettuce. But amazingly, the only items we lost were the few small bags of frozen vegetables we had thrown in as ice bags. The vegetables had thawed and had begun turning to compost.

7. Items we forgot or ran out of. Our experience here is that if you forget something or something gets lost or ruined in transit, don’t worry. If the store in your bush community doesn’t carry something you need, you can pick up your phone and call the Fred Meyer store in Fairbanks. (Don’t bother with their online bush order service; it isn’t really set up to be practical.) Fred Meyer will mail or ship any item they carry in their store. They pack things well, their, customer service is excellent, and their prices are reasonable.

We’ve finished our shopping and packing chores for this year, and now we have the rest of the summer to camp, fish, boat, hike and play!