Thanksgiving is upon us. This is my most favorite holiday of them all, and why shouldn’t it be? A whole, entire day that is dedicated to food- more or less. So yes! I love this holiday. Traditionally this was my mom’s holiday; and we would cook with her nonstop starting about Tuesday evening onto Thursday. We all had assignments. We would chop the veggies and brown the Italian sausage for the stuffing, organize ingredients for a soup, mix up some honey butter for biscuits, prep the veggies for our side dishes, and also execute a beautiful antipasto platter for a starter.
With all this preparation and anticipation can you believe we would just open a can of cranberry sauce? It really doesn’t make any sense. Then one year I saw someone make a fresh cranberry sauce on TV. They mixed together fresh cranberries, water, and sugar and cooked it until it the cranberries had burst and it all rendered down into a nice jam like consistency. I was so intrigued. The next day I went to the store and purchased a bag of fresh cranberries. When I got home I made it and I can remember my parents being as fascinated by it as I was. The taste was wonderfully tart, and the texture of the whole cranberries that squish as you eat it is a lifetime better than the jelly substance that calls itself a sauce. Why were we not doing this sooner?
Over the years I have made many attempts at altering this recipe to get the flavor just right. I have added orange zest and juice to mellow out the tartness of the cranberries, and now do a mixture of sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon to balance out the acidity of it all. This recipe makes a small serving, but it is easily doubled or tripled. If you add it to your Thanksgiving feast I think you too will see the difference and prefer it hands down. And I am sure you will be making it year after year as we do now.
Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce (makes about 1 ½ cups)
2 cups of fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
½ cup of sugar
2 tbsp of brown sugar
¼ tsp of ground cinnamon
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 cups of water
First; in a small pot with a lid place your cranberries, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon and toss together. Add in the orange juice, zest, and water and stir it together.
Next; place the pot over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. You will want to keep a lid over the pot during the first few minutes that your mixture begins to simmer because the cranberries will begin to burst, but be sure to check it every so often and stirring it a few times.
Finally; once your cranberries are burst you will want to keep a close eye on it. Once the liquid in the pot begins to reduce and thicken you can remove it from the heat. (I like to see that it coats a spoon, but that is just my preference.) Let it cool slightly and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for at least a week / week and a half.