What do I have against canned cranberry sauce? Well, in this case, I think a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Yep, there it is, in all its jiggly, slimy glory. Lovely ribbed can shape and all. Why are our standards so low when it comes to cranberry sauce? I mean, would you eat anything else shaped like a tin can? And considering how easy it is to make your own, there are really no excuses for substituting such a disgrace. You can even make it a day or two in advance so that it’s ready to serve on the big day without having to fuss over it. Impress your guests this year and serve a bowl of delicious, beautiful, homemade cranberry sauce.
You’ll only need a few ingredients.
3 cups fresh cranberries
¾ - 1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons orange zest
⅔ cup orange juice
⅓ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
First thing you need to do is zest an orange. If you have a microplane, it’ll make short work of that task for you.
If you don’t have one, Seeley showed how to do it with a knife here. The other advantage to using a microplane is that you can take off only the very outside layer, not getting any of the pith (white part).
Don’t forget to get the zest off of the back of your grater, though.
Cut your bald orange in half and juice it along with a second orange.
Put the juice in a measuring cup and fill the rest of the way to the 1 cup line with water.
Now, set that aside and give your cranberries a nice rinse, checking the berries over in the process.
Pour orange juice and sugar into a pan over medium heat. ¾ of a cup of sugar will make a sauce that’s slightly on the tart side. If you prefer yours to be sweeter, add a cup. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Throw in the orange zest.
Stir it in and pour in the cranberries.
Bring the mixture just to a boil. You’ll hear little hisses and pops as the berries heat up. It’s just their skins beginning to split open, like this:
When you’ve reached a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover tightly. Allow it to simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring frequently along the way. After about 10 minutes, you’ll see the berries have really started to break down and the mixture begins to thicken.
Continue to stir the mixture frequently, keeping it covered in between. Once everything has really broken down and the mixture becomes about the consistency of lumpy ketchup, (ok, that doesn't sound very appetizing, but you get the idea) turn off the heat and add the vanilla.
Stir well then place the lid on and just leave it for 20 minutes. When you return, you have fabulous orange cranberry sauce. How easy was that?
You don’t like your cranberry sauce lumpy? Simple. Just press the mixture through a sieve using a spoon or rubber spatula.
Is that cool or what? A delicious, smooth cranberry sauce that really does have the consistency of a sauce. No jiggle factor, no can shape, and no artificial anything. Ban the can this year. You’ll be glad you did.
*Don’t use your cranberry sauce just for Thanksgiving dinner. Add it to yogurt, spread it on toast, glaze chicken or pork, or even use it as a filling in a cake.