Make your own healthier cranberry sauce with fresh or frozen berries at home within minutes.
This recipe includes some spices, which round up all the beautiful fruity flavors in this condiment.
What is cranberry sauce?
Cranberry sauce is a condiment served during the holiday season, for Thanksgiving and Christmas, in North America and the UK.
It's prepared with whole fresh or frozen cranberries, which are in season in November and December.
Cranberry sauce resembles the European Lingonberry jam. Both fruits are related and cranberries are sometimes also called the American Lingonberry.
The bright red and tart cranberry sauce is traditionally served with turkey and other meats. See detailed serving ideas further below.
Ingredients that you will need
- whole cranberries - fresh or frozen
- sugar - you can use honey to make it healthier but then it's not vegan
- orange juice - packed or fresh juice. Packet juice contains sugar.
- spices of your choice - you can use cinnamon, green cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, allspice (aka pimento), clove and/or ginger. You can use them all or only one at a time.
I like to use a combination of 1 cinnamon stick, 1 green cardamom, pinch mutmeg, 1 corner of a star anise and ½ inch freshly grated ginger.
How to make cranberry sauce with fresh or frozen berries?
Keep all your ingredients ready. Here is an overview on how you can make your own batch of cranberry sauce from scratch.
The complete recipe with adjustable US and metric measurements is located at the bottom of the post.
Add orange juice with the sugar in a sauce pan and heat up.
Add cranberries and spices of your choice.
Cook until ingredients combine, reduce and the cranberries pop open.
Take out whole spices and allow the sauce to cool.
Serve cold or room temperature as a side dish condiment.
A few years ago I was invited to a thanksgiving gathering and of course there was turkey with cranberry sauce.
The mother of my friend, from whom I had adapted the recipe from, said that they usualy loved to serve their cranberry sauce with other meats too.
Here is a list of main course meat dishes that you can serve with this homemade sauce.
- roast turkey (obviously)
- holiday ham
- pork roast
- beef fillet mignon
- roasted venison
- roasted 5 spice duck or quail
- cordon bleu or schnitzel
Another great idea is to add a spoon or two of cranberry sauce over a Camembert cheese or brie to make a baked melted cheese appetizer.
You can prepare this sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in your fridge. It will be good for a couple of weeks that way.
The same goes for leftovers, just place sauce rests into a small airtight container and keep it in the fridge.
You can also freeze the sauce in managable batches but you don't really need to because the sauce holds well as is.
That's because cranberries are rich in vitamin C and pectin and the sugar in the sauce helps in preserving it all the more.
If you still want to freeze it, you can do that and to thaw your spiced cranberry sauce, add it in a sauce pan to thaw and heat up.
You can also can your sauce in small rubber gasket and latch sealed glasses. That would preserve the sauce for at least 24 months!
It's served cold or at room temperature.
You can reduce the sugar quantity to make it low carb or you can use honey to make it healthier. I don't recommend skipping sugar or sweeteners all together because cranberries are super tart and you need to balance that out.
No you don't but I recommend it. Spices add a dimension of flavors that make it WOW.
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe with Spices
- 1 cup Orange Juice
- ½ cup Sugar
- 12 ounces Cranberries fresh or frozen whole
- Spices *see Notes
- Pour orange juice into a sauce pan or small pot.
- Stir in sugar and spices. *see notes for spices that you can add.
- Add cranberries to the pan.
- Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat after that and simmer sauce. The cranberries will pop.
- You can reduce the sauce to the desired consistency. But keep in mind that the sauce will thicken when it cools down. Some folks like it chunkier.
- Pick out the spices and discard.
- Serve the sauce cold or room temperature with your holiday main course meals.
- For the spices, I used 1 cinnamon stick, 1 green cardamom, slightly crushed, 1 corner of star anise, pinch nutmeg, and ½ inch ginger grated. You can also use close and or pimiento, or you can choose to use only one spice of the ones that I mentioned.
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