Homemade cranberry sauce comes in a wide variety of different recipes, some ranging from ultra simple to make, and some more complicated.
Whatever you do, do not try to duplicate Great-great-Auntie’s cranberry sauce, for if you come close, but don’t make it exactly as she did, people will say, “It’s alright…but, it’s not as good as Great-great-Auntie’s recipe was!”
Instead choose a recipe that turns out as you would like your homemade cranberry sauce to turn out, and you’ll be assured of being asked to make it time and time again whenever homemade cranberry sauce is requested for a family dinner.
Simple Cranberry Sauce
Yield: About two cups.
- 1 cup of water
- 1 – 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
- 1/2 pound of fresh cranberries
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. of grated orange peel (depending on taste)
- Using a two quart or larger saucepan, boil the water and the sugar for approximately 5 minutes, and stir until all of the sugar is totally dissolved.
- Wash the cranberries, and remove any extraneous matter.
- Add the cranberries to the mixture, stirring them in just once, and then reduce the heat until the mixture simmers on the lowered heat for 5 minutes. Remember not to stir.
- Before removing from the heat, add the orange rind stirring only enough to mix it in.
- Cool until it sets, then store it in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.
Another Homemade Cranberry Sauce
This one has made the rounds of many recipe sites from different people:
Yield: about 2 cups
- One orange, large enough to use both for zest and juice
- One lemon, small size as it will be used for zest only
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice from the orange
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces of fresh cranberries
- 1/8 teaspoon of orange zest
- 1/8 teaspoon of lemon zest
- Take the lemon and, using a zester or even a grater, remove 1/8 teaspoon of lemon zest. Set aside.
- Take the orange and, using a zester or even a grater, remove 1/8 teaspoon of orange zest. Set aside.
- Rinse the cranberries, making sure that the stems and leaves are removed. It’s also a good idea to look for bad ones that have softened. Set aside.
- Cut the same orange you used for its zest in half, and proceed to squeeze 1/2 cup of orange juice from the orange. Typically, even an average orange will give you the 1/2-cup. Measure it carefully, but if you are a tiny bit short, you may make up the difference with water or juice from another orange to get to the 1/2 cup marking.
- Pour the orange juice into a two-quart saucepan. Add 1/2-cup water, then the sugar and the salt. While stirring, on medium heat allow the mixture to come to a boil to make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Use any kind of spoon to stir the mixture except a wooden one as a wooden spoon will become stained if you stir the mixture later with it.
- Once sugar is totally dissolved, add the berries to the saucepan.
- Give the mixture a few stirs to mix the berries into it, and then turn the heat to medium. Cover the saucepan with a lid, allowing a very small gap for steam to be able to escape.
- Cook for approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overcook as you wish for a few of the cranberries to still look like cranberries. Most, however, will have cooked down. The longer the mixture is cooked, the more unvarying the texture will be. Most people like the less uniform texture so that you can actually see some cranberries within the texture.
- Once the pan is removed from the heat, you may then stir in the zest. Rarely done but you could serve it immediately, but again most people like it better refrigerated until ready to serve.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce Variations
There are many variations to homemade cranberry sauce, for instance many people like walnuts in their recipes, and of course you may use more or less zest as alternatives to make it taste as you wish it to taste.
Also, some people use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar, and a bit of red wine vinegar. Others have been known to add tiny bits of shallots to the recipe, and yet another uses dried cherries as her secret ingredient.
There are yet others who add cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and cloves. Nutmeg and apple juice will also possibly make it different enough to garner your name in front of it, such as “Oh, here comes M. with her wonderful cranberry sauce. I always look forward to M’s cranberry sauce each year!”