If you grew up in a family like mine, you may have thought (perhaps for an embarrassingly long time) that cranberry sauce naturally came in the perfect shape of a can, metal ring impressions and all. It was one of those weird, gelatinous things that made its annual appearance at the Thanksgiving table, and you never gave it much thought after that. Kind of like Grandma’s ambrosia salad. That red jiggly mass never really did much for me so I happily passed it along when it was handed over. And then one year at a friend’s house, I tried the real deal. And everything changed.
Cranberry sauce, the way it’s meant to be prepared and enjoyed, is a sweet and tangy wonder. It has just the right amount of pucker and adds hugely delicious interest to otherwise tame and mild flavors like turkey. The biggest sin of the canned version’s immense popularity is that real, homemade cranberry sauce is ridiculously easy to make. Like, stupid easy. Certainly easier than trying to get that gooey mass out of a can in one piece! So this year, resist the call of the can and make the real stuff. You won’t regret it.
(From Feasting at Home)
This recipe is the perfect mixture of tart and sweet. With the addition of crisp apple and citrusy orange, the cranberries take on a fruit flavor that pairs perfectly with their signature tang.
- 4 cups cranberries, washed
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 orange, zested, then peeled and cut into very small pieces
- 1 small apple, diced
- Pinch of salt
In a small saucepan, cook cranberries, syrup and salt over medium heat, until lightly simmering and cranberries begin to pop, about 8 minutes.
- Remove cranberry mixture from heat. Add apples, orange zest and chopped orange, stirring to combine. It will thicken as it cools.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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