Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! I come from a family of foodies, and it’s so much fun when we get together and cook our hearts out. Over the years, we’ve tried a lot of different recipes. But some are favorites that have a special place on our table year after year…and one of those favorites is homemade cranberry sauce with orange.
I grew up on homemade cranberry sauce, made from whole fresh cranberries that were simmered on the stove. So imagine my surprise the first year I encountered canned cranberries! I watched our host open the can, hold it over a plate and shake it a few times until…schloop…a quivering tube of red jelly-like stuff slid out. I tried to have an open mind, but I really missed the flavor and texture of real cranberry sauce. The canned was just not the same. As it turns out, it’s also not so good for you…theingredients include: Cranberries (thank goodness for small blessings), high fructose corn syrup, water, and more corn syrup.
Before I move on, can I just ask…why do they have to put that on there twice? I mean, I understand that corn syrup is different from high fructose corn syrup. But why not just put “Cranberries, water, and a whole whopping bunch of GMO corn syrup that will hype your kids up, then give them a crash that will leave them surly and irritable right about the time you need them to be quiet and leave you alone to enjoy your coffee and dessert?” Not that I’m jaded or anything. And if canned sauce is your family tradition, that’s OK too. But if you’re holding off from making cranberry sauce from scratch because it sounds like it might be hard to do, now’s the time to try it! Really, it’s so easy and so delicious, you won’t believe it.
This recipe calls for fresh organic cranberries, organic oranges, water and honey. Just wash the oranges and zest them, then peel them and cut them into little chunks. Then, wash the berries and put them in a sauce pan. Pour a cup of water and 3/4 cup of honey into the pan, then add the orange chucks and zest.
Bring the sauce to a boil. You’ll hear the cranberries pop as they heat and expand…always a fun part of making cranberry sauce! When they’ve reached a boil, reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes. That’s it! That’s all you have to do. Just put the cranberries in a container and chill them in the fridge (for 6 hours or more, if you want them set like jelly). You don’t have to add anything to make them set, because the cranberries have natural fruit pectin and will do that all on their own. Just simmer, chill, and serve!
The berries have such a bright, beautiful color…and the tart-sweet flavor really blends well with the orange chunks and zest. I’ve been known to make extra cranberry sauce around the holidays and then freeze or can it for use later. It’s just too delicious and healthy to only eat once a year.
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Do you like canned or homemade cranberry sauce more?