As I’ve gotten older, I’ve spent many holiday celebrations away from my family. I always love seeing what other people’s food traditions are and I try to share dishes from my family traditions in return. One of the dishes that I bring is my Grandmother’s cranberry sauce. People are always surprised and impressed that I make it from scratch. It seems that many people don’t even think of cranberry sauce as something that they would make themselves.
I always think its a shame that more people don’t make their own because the color, tarter flavor, and smooth texture of real, homemade cranberry sauce is a wonderful balance to the heaver flavors that it typically accompanies. Plus it looks really pretty!
Truthfully, it is extremely easy to make, all you really need to have is some time and a couple of strong stirring arms! This dish can also be as sweet as you’d like it to be; most of the time I don’t add any sugar at all but you can adjust it if it’s too tart.
Cranberries, 1 package
Apples, 4 (my Grandmother prefers Roma Beauty, but any good cooking apple will do)
Sugar, to taste (optional)
Serves: makes 2-3 cups
Time – prep and cooking: up to 1 hr (depending on how strong your arm is)
1. Sort the cranberries – toss the soft berries and keep the firm ones. Rinse the sorted berries.
2. Peel and core the apples. Chop them into small, bite size pieces.
3. Put the apples in a 3 quart sauce pan and add the rinsed cranberries on top. Add ½ cup water and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Cook until the apples are soft. Add a little water if needed but the apples will make their own juice.
4. When the apples are soft, put them in a large strainer placed over a large bowl and use a wooden or plastic spoon to stir (a word of warning, if you use a wooden spoon it will probably be stained red – a very pretty red, but red nonetheless.) Press the mixture against the wire mesh to pop the berries. Stir until all you have left in the strainer is the cranberry skins. Toss the skins (preferably onto a compost heap!)
5. Optional: add sugar to taste. Just be careful not to over sweeten it, you don’t want to overpower the flavor of the sauce. If I do this step I add ¼ cup at a time, tasting as I go.
6. Place it in a closed container and refrigerate until needed. It keeps very well and is always impressive!
Do you make your own cranberry sauce? Do you make other recipes that feature cranberries?
Other cool recipes that use Cranberries:
Cranberries: Candied, fruity and drunk (three different recipes)