DIY cranberry sauce

 

If store-bought cranberry sauce has always been your go-to, maybe now is the time to go homemade.

If store-bought cranberry sauce has always been your go-to, maybe now is the time to go homemade. Photo by: iStockphoto.com

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

In a year when time has so often seemed to crawl, it's startling how fast Christmas is hurtling toward us. In just over two weeks we'll be serving Christmas dinner to (hopefully) a smaller, nuclear family circle. Tradition at our home always called for turkey and ham, neither one of which could be served without cranberry sauce on the side -- usually both homemade and store-bought, for the finicky kids.

 

However much some folks may hanker for round jellied cranberry slices, complete with indented ridges from the can, we have to acknowledge that the store-bought version usually packs some unnecessary ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service points out. There is significant difference in nutrition between grocery cranberry and homemade cranberry sauce, which delivers fewer calories, carbs and sugars. It generally has more fiber and potassium, too.

 

A recipe for Simple Cranberry Sauce is included today. The kids can even pitch in with it. Younger children can help rinse fruit. Older ones can measure out wet ingredients. The recipe only takes 20 minutes from prep to finish.

 

 

The second recipe, for a Cranberry Chutney, comes from Wisconsin Cranberries. Try it with chicken, turkey and pork. It also makes a great hors d'oeuvre with cream cheese on crackers.

 

 

Thick and thin

 

While thickness of your sauce is a matter of preference, if your sauce is too thick, it's most likely overcooked, says eatingwell.com. When cranberries are cooked, they burst, releasing pectin, a natural thickener. For best consistency allow some of the berries to split open, but not all of them. (And remember, sauce thickens as it cools, so if it's already too thick on the stove, it will be moreso cooled.) A solution to too-thick is to add a splash of water or orange juice to your sauce before you take it off the stove.

 

If your sauce is too runny, try giving it more time on the stove. If all else fails, add a little thickener, like gelatin, says blog-williams-sonoma.com.

 

Even if time or circumstance prevents you from going the homemade route, the blog suggests canned cranberry sauce can be punched up by adding in slices of pineapple, orange, grapes or apple. Or try chopped walnuts or pecans for an earthy touch. Dried apricots, figs, dates and cherries can also deepen the flavor. Enjoy.

 

 

SIMPLE CRANBERRY SAUCE

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

 

Cook time: 15 minutes

 

Makes 16 servings

 

 

12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries

 

2 pears, peeled, cubed small

 

1/4 cup honey

 

1/2 cup water

 

1/4 cup 100 percent orange juice

 

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

1/2 teaspoon orange zest (use 1 medium orange)

 

 

  • Rinse cranberries (discard any bad ones).

     

  • Rinse pears, peel and cut into small cubes.

     

  • In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, pears, water and honey. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and the mixture has thickened to your liking, about 5 to 10 minutes.

     

  • Remove the pot from heat and stir in orange juice, cinnamon and orange zest. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Store in refrigerator.

     

    (Source: efnep.tamu.edu)

     

     

    CRANBERRY CHUTNEY

     

     

    2 cups chopped Braebrun apples

     

    2 cups whole cranberries

     

    1/4 cup chopped onions

     

    1 medium red pepper, chopped (about 2/3 cup)

     

    3/4 cup brown sugar

     

    1/2 cup Goden raisins

     

    1/2 cup white vinegar

     

    1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic

     

    1 tablespoon grated ginger root (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)

     

     

  • Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum kettle. Simmer until all fruits and vegetables are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching.

     

    (Source: Wisconsin Cranberries, wiscran.org)

     

     

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

     

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