Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recipe: Homemade Cranberry Sauce

It just isn't Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce. The sweet-tangy taste and gorgeous red color are the perfect compliment to all of the other dishes on the table. It's the cranberry sauce that says, "This is autumn and this is a special day."

Let's face it, though. Most of us reach for the can when it comes to this important part of our holiday table. Whether you like the chunky whole cranberry style or that strange yet tempting jellied mass still holding the shape of the can when it's served, it always seems to come down to the can. The fact of the matter is, it's incredibly easy to make your own and it tastes oh-so-much better!

Here are two very simple recipes from Ocean Spray. Both will take no more than 15 minutes or so of your time:
Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce
Jellied Cranberry Sauce

If you're into trying something new, here's a recipe that was verbally passed-down through my family over the years. I'm quite sure it originally came from the back of a bag of cranberries, but it still feels like a family heirloom to me.

Cranberry Relish

1 package fresh whole cranberries
1 apple
1 navel orange
sugar to taste

1) Wash fruit thoroughly. Core and chop apple into 1-inch chunks but do not peel. Cut orange into 1-inch pieces and remove seeds but do not peel.
2) Using a meat grinder or food processor, grind all fruit until the consistency of pickle relish. If using a food processor, use short pulses and be careful not to puree the mixture.
3) Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, mixing and then tasting until it's the sweetness you prefer.
4) Put in a decorative bowl and serve at the thanksgiving table. Will keep for a week or more in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Note: Modern navel oranges have thick white piths that make them easy to peel but also make the skin much more bitter. If you find the relish too bitter, try peeling half the orange before grinding or removing the zest with a vegetable peeler for use and discarding the white pith. You may also add apple juice or apple cider to sweeten the dish instead of sugar but be careful not to make it too soupy.

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