The ingredients on last week’s episode of Chopped Canada were some of the most diverse I think we’ve seen all season. Snails for an appetizer, turnips for dessert…never a dull moment on this show. As much as I wanted to opt to create a light summer salad using some escargot, I thought something a little more approachable would be a better idea.

The thing with cranberry juice is that the good stuff is not always available at your regular grocery store. If you take a peek at the ingredients on a bottle (or frozen package) of cranberry ‘cocktail’ – the most common you’ll find a lot more items listed than just berries and it’s likely that grape juice (concentrate) will also be the first ingredient. At any rate, finding true, good quality cranberry juice might mean a trip to an organic or more health-focused grocer.

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It’s no secret that cranberries are tart, but refreshingly so. Adding a splash of cranberry juice into a simple lemonade makes for a nice variation on a classic summer drink theme hence the route I’ve taken here!

Using a simple syrup like the one below to make lemonade at home will make you wonder why you ever bought the frozen concentrate variety in the first place. It is fairly subtle, but if you don’t like heat in your drink, just omit the jalapeno. If you’re looking to spike this beverage, opt for a smooth-tasting gin like Hendricks. Just saying…

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cranberry-juice-chopped-canada

Cranberry Jalapeno Simple Syrup
Yields: 1 cup simply syrup
Total cook time: 12 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup water
? cup cane sugar
1 jalapeno, halved
zest of 1 lemon

 Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a medium pan and bring to a simmer on high heat.
2. Reduce to medium heat and let simmer until mixture reduces by half, approximately 10 minutes.
3. Let cool slightly and pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove aromatics.
4. Keep cool in the refrigerator and use as desired.

 

Cranberry Basil Lemonade
Serves: 3-4
Total prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups water
1 cup cranberry jalapeno simple syrup
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, approximately 2 lemons
? cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a large jug.
2. Stir, top up jug with ice and keep cool in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

avatar_dan_Clapson

Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

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