Cranberry sauce is another traditional holiday staple for many folks. If you’re a cranberry sauce person, this stuff just might change your life.
Often, you see the stuff that comes out of a can that, incidentally, stays the same shape as the can and can be sliced with a knife into … rounds of cranberry “sauce” for your plate? I don’t know. I always thought it was a strange, very un-food like food. I haven’t looked at the ingredient list on a can of cranberry sauce in a long time but I know many are full of preservatives, GMO-derived pectin and cranberry flavoring (and maybe some actual cranberries).
Speaking of pectin, it’s actually a naturally occurring water-soluble fiber in many fruits and vegetables…but often the pectin you see on the ingredient list of your jar of jelly or container of yogurt is derived from GMO corn, instead. Pectin is what will make that canned cranberry sauce hold its cylindrical shape. When you see pectin on a list of ingredients make sure it says it’s fruit-derived or that the product is labeled “non-GMO project verified.”
I realize there is the quick and easy aspect of just sliding a cylinder of cranberry “sauce” out onto a plate to consider, especially when so much effort is going into the day over all, but if you love cranberry sauce this recipe is so delicious (certainly more so than the canned stuff). Plus, it only takes less than 25 minutes, 1 pot and a wooden spoon to prepare it. OK, and maybe a little strainer or something to keep orange seeds from getting into the sauce. The point is that it’s quick and simple, too, for something that’s homemade and uses whole ingredients. Now that I think about it, the effort you’re putting into this meal deserves a homemade cranberry sauce, if you ask me.
Give the recipe a little look-see and take your cranberry sauce up about 10 notches this year!
P.S. Use a sauce pan with deep sides if you have one. The cranberries will burst (causing a fun little popping sound) as they cook and you don’t want to be splashed with hot, sugary juice.
P.P.S. There’s a lot of sugar in this recipe. It’s necessary to offset the very tart flavor of the unsweetened cranberries. If you like your cranberry sauce more tart than most feel free to cut the sugar. Remember, though, cranberry sauce is generally eaten more as a condiment so most people won’t take much of it onto their plate.
- -12 oz. bag fresh cranberries look for a bag with no mushy berries in it
- -2 C organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
- -1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- -1 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
- -1/4 tsp ground ginger
- -1/4 tsp ground cloves or ground allspice
- -1 large or 2 small oranges
- With a zester shave about ½ tsp of the orange peel into the sauce, too. This orange zest will add even more orangey essence to the dish!
- Put your cranberries in a colander in the sink and give them a rinse. Sift through them and check for any mushy or icky looking berries to discard.
- Place your cranberries, spices and sugar into a deep sided pot on the stove.
- Juice your orange(s) and add the juice to the pot as well. Don’t let any seeds sneak in! You will also add your orange zest at this point if you’re using it. Give the ingredients a nice, preliminary stir to mix in the liquid and spices.
- Turn the burner on to medium heat.
- Now, give the berries a few minutes to start getting hot. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.
- As the pot heats up and the mixture begins to boil the cranberries will become soft and eventually their skins will burst. As a kid I always liked to stand by my mom, listening for the little popping sound.
- Keep stirring, mashing the soft berries with the back of the spoon.
- Once it looks like all the berries have burst the sauce will be ready. It should be pretty thick. The longer you stir the cranberries over the heat the more they will break down giving the sauce more and more of a smoother consistency. It’s up to you how chunky or smooth you want your sauce.
- Give it a little taste and add more orange juice or sugar to taste, if needed.