Holiday How-To: How to Make and Store Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Homemade cranberry sauce is so easy to make. If you can boil water, you can make cranberry sauce from scratch. Best of all, you can make it a week or so in advance. Don't get me wrong, I love the smooth, jellied cranberry sauce out of the can. I'm quite confident that most people from my generation consider it a requirement at the Thanksgiving table, whether it gets eaten or not. Growing up, it was my Thanksgiving duty to plate the cranberry sauce. I'd pop the can into our electric can opener (everyone had one - fresh, organic food was not yet trendy), then I'd slide a butter knife down the side and run in around the sauce and gently guide the giggling cranberry goodness onto a plate. Then I grew up. I decided it was time to learn how to make the dreaded chunky sauce, and it turned out I love it that way too.
For the beginner, homemade cranberry sauce can seem intimidating, but it's actually quite easy, and it only takes about 15 minutes to make. You only need 3 main ingredients to make homemade cranberry sauce - cranberries, sugar, and liquid. While water is fine for the liquid, you can also use other things like orange juice, apple cider, or even wine. I love to add in holiday spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. A lot of people like to use both orange juice and orange zest for homemade cranberry sauce. I've made it so many different ways over the years - with orange zest, with chopped apples and walnuts, with pomegranate juice, and my classic brown sugar spice cranberry sauce (see recipe below).
Cranberry Sauce Basics - One 12oz bag of fresh cranberries per 1 cup liquid and 1 cup sugar
Recipe for Classic Chunky Cranberry Sauce
- 1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries (3 cups)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or citrus juice)
- 2 dashes nutmeg
- 2 dashes ginger
1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium sauce pot and bring to bowl.
2. Add the fresh cranberries and reduce to medium heat. Add in spices and simmer for 15 minutes until it thickens, stirring often. The cranberries will each make a resounding pop. It's a good thing. They'll release their natural sugars and break down to create the perfect consistency, just like making fruit jam.
3. Add in some nuts or other fruit. I love to add in chopped apples.
4. Chill in the fridge before serving and store in the fridge up to two weeks. You can freeze it for up to a year, though it may come out too watery. If you want to keep it longer than a few weeks, I suggest putting it though the canning process so you can store it in the pantry or fridge for up to a year. Better yet, place some in a lovely jar and tie it off with ribbon for a handmade holiday gift.
Check Out More Holiday Recipes & Holiday Tips
- Top 25 Cranberry Cake Recipes
- 10 Tips on Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinner
- Pumpkin Butternut Squash Crumble Recipe
- 25 Quick and Easy Pumpkin-Flavored Desserts
- Essentials for Cooking the Thanksgiving Turkey from Start to Finish
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