Cranberry Sauce is one of the easiest things to make. It is also fun and it makes the house smell nice!
In the UK, cranberry sauce is readily available in small jars all year-long. That wasn’t always the case, so when I would find fresh cranberries in the supermarket, I would always make my own. The best thing about making your own – you can make it just the way you like it, and there are so many different ways to make it.
I recently bought a couple of punnets to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, with enough left over for Christmas and a few other meals. This is how I make it:
2 punnets of fresh cranberries
1 cup of sugar
Zest of one orange
The juice of your zested orange
1 small cinnamon stick
Wash the cranberries and get rid of any mushy ones. Pop them in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1 cup of sugar to the cranberries (you can use less or more according to taste, but you need the sugar to help set the cranberries and make it last in the fridge, like jam). Zest your orange and then cut the orange in half and squeeze all the juice in. Make sure to remove any pips. Add 1 small stick of cinnamon. Top up with enough mulled wine so the cranberries can float a bit.
Put the heat on medium high. When it starts to boil, turn down the heat so that it is on a gentle simmer! It should look like this!
Don’t worry about any foam around your cranberries. That will be from the zest and will disappear. Look how pretty they are, like little rubies! Now for the fun part, the kids will like this! Stir your cranberries now and then and listen to them pop. You should see little splits in the berries with the white insides popping out. It is sort of like watching popcorn. All the berries need to cook and pop. If after about 5-10 minutes there are still some that haven’t popped, just get a wooden spoon and pop them on the side of the pan. The berries need to pop so that they can sweeten up and help make the jelly. I like to get the wooden spoon and give them all just a little extra squeeze. You will start to see that the juice will go translucent. This means that the sauce is ready to put into containers. By the way, I like cranberry bits. If you want more of a jelly, then strain the fruit mixture through a sieve and dispose of the skin. Don’t forget to remove the cinnamon stick!
I try to re-use jam or condiment jars just for making cranberry sauce. Make sure they are very clean. When you are ready, fill up the jar with the cranberry sauce and put the lid on while still hot. The lid should seal itself once the sauce starts to cool down. If you don’t have any glass jars, plastic containers will work too. I haven’t had a problem with the sauce going off before Christmas, but you might want to check it before you eat it. If there is too much air in the container, it might not last as long. I only had one jar which I am taking up to my daughter and the rest were put into small plastic containers with rubber seals.
Cranberry sauce is a great accompaniment for red meat, any fowl, and even vegetarian meals. I particularly like it with leftover turkey and stuffing sandwiches!
Have fun! I wouldn’t mind hearing other ways of making cranberry sauce. What is your favourite?