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Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Tart and sweet, this fruity treat is a welcome staple on every holiday table.

By Familytime

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The time-honored cranberry sauce everyone expects to see with the turkey and mashed potatoes is a snap to make from scratch. It's even easier than you thought!

Simple Cranberry Sauce
A basic cranberry sauce consists merely of fresh cranberries, sugar, and water. These are combined and cooked gently in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until thick, which takes roughly 20 minutes.

Doesn't get any easier than that!

You can take this basic sauce one step further by replacing the water with orange juice. Add some orange or lemon zest, too, for extra flavor. Suddenly the ordinary sauce has zing!

If you prefer another flavor accent, toss a cinnamon stick into the saucepan with the basic sauce ingredients. Fish it out and discard once the sauce cools.

Savory Sauces
The cranberry's natural tartness lends itself to both savory and sweet sauces. While both are appropriate with turkey and all the trimmings, some folks prefer a more mellow sauce.

For a savory sauce, substitute chicken stock for the water, cut the sugar by half, and add some fresh sage leaves, rosemary, or thyme. Finish the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Juniper berries also add a nice subtle flavor when mixed with cranberries. Their peppery taste and spicy aroma pick up the tartness of the other berry and mingle to make a seductive sauce. For every 12 ounce-bag of cranberries (about two cups), add a quarter cup of lightly crushed juniper berries and reduce the sugar slightly.

Sassy Cranberry Sauces
For fun, take ordinary cranberry sauce to new heights with these sassy flavor ideas. The amounts are based on our recipe for Classic Cooked Cranberry Sauce.

  • Go south of the border and add a squeeze of lime juice, ½ teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon dried coriander. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy a Tex-Mex version of the New England favorite.
  • Think tropical and substitute a cup of mango nectar for the water.
  • Make a mixed-berry sauce by combining equal parts of cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries. Mix and match these berries however suits your pleasure. The berries can be fresh, frozen, or dried.
  • Triple your pleasure by combining equal measures of frozen, fresh, and dried cranberries.


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