The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes nature’s own festive jewel, the cranberry! While only in season a short time (October through December), the holidays are a fantastic time to show of the versatility of this scarlet red berry.
Paula’s favorite way to take advantage of fresh cranberries is to make a homemade cranberry sauce. Every holiday season, while we brainstorm article ideas in our test kitchen, she tells us that she simply cannot believe how many people buy canned cranberry sauce when fresh sauce is so easy to make! So, here’s our simple how-to on making your own cranberry sauce from scratch:
PICK YOUR FLAVORS
Cranberries are tart and sweet so we like to make a sauce that compliments those flavors. Oranges, cinnamon, ginger, pomegranates, and even something spicy and smoky like chipotles, can all work well with the tart bold flavor of cranberries. Don’t limit yourself to a plain Jane cranberry sauce. Be inspired and make something unique this year. But also, be careful of over doing it, you don’t want to upset the traditionalists.
Now, here’s the best part of making your own cranberry sauce: you simply add all your chosen flavorings to a large saucepan along with cranberries, sugar, and some water, and simmer away for about 15 minutes. It’s just that easy!
LESS STRESS AND NO MESS
Another fabulous thing about cranberry sauce is that it can be made ahead. And we’re talking in the neighborhood of three days ahead, which gives the sauce plenty of time to marry together those delicious flavors, which in turn, gives you plenty more space on the stovetop for when you’re really hustling to get those side dishes out on the table. Less stress and no mess!
ENJOY THE SUPERFOOD
Homemade cranberry sauce is simple to make, can be made in advance, tastes delicious, and is also good for you. Maybe this is why cranberries are a “super food”! Cranberries have a high concentration of vitamin C and fiber, making them a great addition to your holiday table. Try it this year with a Christmas turkey, goose, or roast, and make your whole family a happy and smiling bunch.
BASIC CRANBERRY SAUCE
Try this basic cranberry sauce at your next holiday meal. If you feel like getting creative, try adding 1 or 2 fun additions to make it your own special recipe.
1(12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Stir in the cranberries, water, sugar, and pinch of salt to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring on occasion, for 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.
Makes 3 cups
1 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
1 minced chipotle pepper (packed in adobo)
Trade in ½ cup water for ½ cup pomegranate juice, orange juice, or apple cider (choose just 1 juice)
Sprinkle in the Zest of 1 orange
Add chopped apples or pears
Season with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Fold in ½ cup chopped candied ginger
Toss in some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme (try just 1 teaspoon of each)
**Pictured above: Wayne’s Cranberry Sauce.